Two Youth Groups 'Fight' Over North East Regional Capital
Two youth groups from Walewale and Nalerigu are jostling and lobbying for the regional capital slot for the newly created North East Region. This is ahead of next Tuesday's inauguration of capitals for the newly created regions by the President.
Both groups believe a consideration of their towns for the North East regional capital is a step in the right direction which will turn the lives of residents around.
Advancing his argument on Eyewitness News, Public Relations Officer for the Walewale Youth Advocacy group, Issifu Mashud said the peace and stability enjoyed by the Mamprugu Kingdom is enough grounds for Walewale to be given the regional capital.
“Making Walewale the capital will benefit the whole region. Another reason will be peace and security because, for over 800 years now, the Mamprugu kingdom has lived peacefully. Even if we follow the referendum, you will see that there was a serious friction between Gambaga and Nalerigu regarding the capital. So peace is one of the essential reasons that if the capital is situated at Walewale, it will promote peace and development in the entire North East region. We don't want a situation where the capital will move to an area and bring about ethnic conflict.”
On his part, he argued that Nalerigu is well placed for easy access to many of the social amenities for use by residents.
“Per geographic location, Nalerigu is surrounded by all the villages in Mamprusi which will be of immense help in terms of accessibility. There is a market centre for all others to trade, there is also a health facility. Although there are no national banks, we have lands to give out to persons who want to set up such banks. If we are given the capital; it is going to benefit all of us. We really deserve the capital.”
Choose already developed towns as capitals for new regions – Analyst
Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG), Kwesi Jonah, has said that only towns with substantial infrastructure already in place should be considered as the capitals of the newly created regions.
He said infrastructure such as good road network, sufficient accommodation facilities for prospective government officers must be prerequisites for the selection of the capitals for the new regions.
According to him, deciding on that basis will make it easier for further development to take off in the region.
“If you create a new region and you want a relatively accelerated rate of development, you may want to go in for a city or a town in this new region which already does have some minimum infrastructure, enough good roads, enough for housing for civil servants that will be coming in and so on,” Kwesi Jonah said in a Citi News interview.
His position is countered by some who have argued that based on the fact that new regions were created to accelerate growth, local communities with little or no infrastructure must be considered as capitals.
Gov't forms c’ttee to come out with development plan for new regions
President Akufo-Addo has set up a committee to assess the needs of the soon to be created new regions.
This follows the unanimous endorsements received in the December 2018 referenda in the six areas proposed to be carved out of the existing regions.
Minister for Regional Development and Reorganization, Dan Botwe, said the government is set to give each of the six new regions ¢20m as seed money.
“That seed money, that is GH¢20 million is for each of the newly created regions to start setting up. Rent offices, get furniture and do new recruitments. The committee has been put in place to make sure that all these things happen so that there can be a smooth take-off. Mr. President has also put in place a committee to really come out with the development plans for these new regions because that was one of the major grievances they had,” he said.
Before processes are finalized for the new regions to be officially created,various towns in some of the areas earmarked for the new regions have begun jostling to be capitals.
In the Bono East area, residents are campaigning to have Techiman named the regional capital.
In the Savannah area, some groups are pushing for Damongo to be made the regional capital, while others are also pushing for Salaga to be chosen as the capital.
In the Ahafo area, four towns; Goaso, Duayaw-Nkwanta, Bechem and Kenyasi are competing to be named as the regional capital.
Reports suggest that either Bechem or Goaso will end up being named regional capital.
In the Oti area, there is an intense campaign by the chiefs and people of Buem to have Jasikan named the regional capital for the newly created Oti region.