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The people of Volta Region should free themselves from the yoke and tyranny of the NDC

While the NDC dominates Volta Region, there is little to show for the support the people give the party
While the NDC dominates Volta Region, there is little to show for the support the people give the party

Why is the Volta Region one of the most deprived regions in Ghana despite consistently voting massively for the NDC in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012? Why are the road networks in Ho and the surrounding districts very poor despite the huge support NDC has enjoyed from the people in the region? Why is water so scarce in several parts of the Volta Region despite the region having one of the highest parliamentarians in the country under the NDC? Why is unemployment in the region so high and pervasive among the people especially the youth? Why aren't more factories been established in the region to ease the unemployment and poverty in the region? Why have the leaders of the NDC not reciprocated the positive gesture and favours Voltarians have showered on the party for decades? Have the people of Volta Region been taken for granted for supporting the NDC?

In the last couple of weeks, the people of Volta Region and the Northern parts of Ghana have intensified their protests against the President Mahama led-government. They feel the NDC has not fulfilled its part of the social contract between the party and the people. Those in Ho want the roads in the city to be fixed. Others want water. Some have complained about lack of jobs while others are bitter due to lack of electricity for their socio-economic activities.

It is not only the ordinary people who feel neglected, the chiefs and other opinion leaders feel the same way too and have been very vocal about it. The Paramount Chief of the Avatime and Bator Traditional Areas, Osie Adza Tekpor VII said in 2014 that “Our people are suffering; our people are cursing and making negative statements…Some say they have regretted voting for the NDC.” Another chief Torgbui Koku Ahiem IV also said: “We are getting tired…anytime we meet and talk about the development of the region, the promises are repeated…always promises, repetition of promises…The promises are too much. Every now and then there is one promise or the other…We are not happy at all about the government because whenever people travel to Ho, you will become a multi-coloured human being as you will be either red or black.” He was referring to the poor nature of roads and the dirt associated with it. Togbe Adela Titriku Anaze XII, the Chief of Podoe-Dofor and the President of the Dofor Traditional area, speaking on behalf of the chiefs in his traditional area in 2015 said the government has failed to develop the region. “We, the chiefs, do not want to be seen talking too much but again we would like to remind the government that a promise to the people is an indebtedness to the people”.

It is good that the people of Volta and their counterparts in the north are making it clear how they feel about their current situation. The unquestionable support NDC has received from these regions has made the party complacent. In fact, in my opinion the people have been taken for granted by the NDC for a long time. Because the votes have been automatically there, there has been no basis for the NDC to deliver tangible socio-economic goods to the masses who always vote for the party: excellent roads, hospitals, water, schools, irrigation, railways, fast internet accessibility, good public transport, deep ports and harbours and many more.

Voltarians voted hugely for the NDC in the last six presidential elections. Without the Volta votes the NDC would not have won 4 out of the 6 presidential elections since 1992. Almost all the Voltarian MPs in the current parliament are NDC candidates yet the region has not changed much in terms of social and economic advancement. This is because the people do not appear to value their votes or have not insisted that the terms of the contract between them and the party be implemented to the letter. The Voltarian MPs some of whom were key ministers in the Rawlings and Mills presidencies and the current Mahamah administration have not devised any social or economic policies tailored to the needs and aspirations of Voltarians.

In fact despite its potentials, the Volta region is poor and without major development because the NDC which dominates the region does not have any realistic development blue print for the region. As a result Voltarians are among the leading migrants in the country. Very few Ghanaians are willing to migrate to Volta and the three northern regions because these regions are seen as not providing enough socio-economic attractions and opportunities. The NDC has not put in place policies and programmes that will change the Volta region and make it more attractive to other Ghanaians to settle and live there. According to Jay Oelbaum of the Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto-Canada “The regions of destination with the lowest percentage of the migrant population [in Ghana] are Volta and the three northern regions, while Ashanti, Western and Greater Accra are respectively the destinations with the highest share of in-migration”. [1] The leadership of the party is only interested in the votes but not the needs, aspirations and opportunities of the people. They use the people during elections and dump them afterwards. This has to change.

While some NDC apparatchiks in Volta and the three northern regions have been riding on the back of the people to become wealthy, the people whose votes continue to make the NDC the longest ruling party in the history of the Fourth Republic continue to be kayayos in Accra, and Kumasi and live their lives selling dog chains, ice water, sugar cane and sleeping in kiosks, and uncompleted structures in Accra. Is it how to reward loyal voters?

It is difficult for majority of Voltarians to vote for other parties because they feel the NDC is theirs. But in the face of increasing poverty, lack of socio-economic development, poor infrastructure, lack of economic and employment opportunities for both the youth and adult population, will the people continue to provide unflinching support for the NDC?

If Voltarians are going to vote for the NDC again in December 2016, then they must do so by assessing whether the NDC actually deserves their votes given its track record in the region.

By Lord Aikins Adusei
(20-08-2016)
Notes
[1] Oelbaum, J. (2004) "Ethnicity adjusted? economic reform, elections, and tribalism in Ghana's Fourth Republic", Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, 42:2, 242-273

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article." © Lord Aikins Adusei

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