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Opinion | Feb 23, 2019

All Hail Dambai – Kudos To Nana Addo

President Akufo-Addo
President Akufo-Addo

You did not need the brain of a bishop to predict that the way Ghana was divided into regions, it is only a matter of time that there will be a regeneration of the regions: Western Region was too big, Brong Ahafo was too large, Northern Region was just unwieldy and Volta Region was simply ungovernable.

Indeed both NDC and NPP in their election manifestoes for the 2016 general election categorically promised that if elected into power, they would create more regions.

To a large extent therefore, the advent of the creation of SIX additional regions is a very welcome development to our nation. Congrats, Nana Addo for fulfilling this electoral promise.

But my beef for now is more on the issue of the CAPITALS for the new regions.

For me, all this talk of creating new regions is because of the location of the administrative capitals. Look at Western Region – capital at Sekondi. From places like Osei Kojokrom, Debiso, Asankragwa all the way down to Sekondi why? Can't a new region be created for those in the North? Sefwi Wiawso is the new Capital – no argument.

Look at Ashanti Region – arguably the most highly and densely populated region, but there is no need to create another region out of Ashanti- you know why? KUMASI, the regional capital, is surrounded by all the districts – Offinso Mampong in the North, Juaben Kumawu in the East. Konongo in the South, Bekwai in South West, Obuasi in the West, Nkawie Mankraso – Ashanti has a strategically well located capital.

Unlike Ho, the Volta Regional capital, located in the South. It takes a whole day to travel from Kete Krachie to Ho. So if a new region is created for them, to handle northern Volta, called geographically, Oti Region, very well.

But where should their capital be?

A very good friend came to see me. Captain, we need your help. We want Kete Krachie to be the new regional capital of Oti Region.

I told her “Madam, forget it. The best choice for capital is DAMBAI. It is central to all the constituent districts.

“No, Captain. Jasikan is contending very seriously for the capital….”

“Don't mind them. You know what, Madam, successive governments after Nkrumah have always wanted to create a North Volta Region, but because the stakeholders do not want HOHOE as the capital, they have always shelved that agenda. Now that it is becoming a reality, government will not make the mistake of taking the capital to either Kete Krachie in the far West or Jasikan in the far South. I have no doubt in my mind that the capital will go to DAMBAI”

According to history, in the days of yore, the Germans administered their colony through HOHOE, JASIKAN, KRACHIE and YENDI. When the British took over, they ceded Yendi under the North, and Krachie with a vast land mass broke off from the North but refused to be under Ashanti.

For a very long time, Krachie District was arguably the biggest or shall I say the LARGEST district in Ghana – until President Kufour created Krachie East District with the capital at Dambai. In fact, yours truly, by then was in the robes of Deputy Minister for Local Government. I was the Guest of Honour to inaugurate that new district officially.

I love Dambai, because if it is central to Oti Region. In the North, we have Nkwanta North and South Districts, to the West across the river by pontoon, we have Krachie West and Krachie Nchummuru, and to the South, we have Akan and Buem Districts.

The communicators' nightmare, hitherto the burden of those in the Northern Volta, has disappeared overnight with the selection of DAMBAI as the new region's capital.

But the cost is PHENOMENAL. To be honest, even my hometown JINJINI is bigger in size and more populated than DAMBAI, but so what? West Germany built BONN as a capital from the scratch; Australia built CANBERRA as a capital from the scratch, the USA built a new capital and named it after their first president, General George Washington. Even closer home, General Murtala Mohammed built ABUJA from the scratch as the capital of a united Nigeria.

Against this background, President Akufo Addo deserves praise for the bold decision to site the administrative capital of Oti Region at Dambai – for the next ten years, DAMBAI will become the fastest growing metropolis in Ghana.

It is the investor's dream: hotels, restaurants, guest houses, taxis and housing, and I can see twenty four hours non-stop pontoon service across the Volta river.

Reader, I am a hotelier, and so the first time I went to Dambai in 2001, en route to Krachie as Local Government Deputy Minister, I saw some small ridge overlooking the Volta river and the Dambai fishing village. I told myself this will be an excellent site for a five star runaway Hotel for the rich to come by private plane to enjoy life. Anytime I am in Dambai, I try as much as possible to visit my small hill and in my mind's eye see the place beautifully developed with a state of the art hotel adorning it; and now that Dambai has become a regional capital, I am sure the hill has been sold off……..

But one more thing, Nana Addo; if you are reading my article. Well done for creating six additional regions, but don't stop there. If you kill a snake, you must cut off the head!

Why should you carry the burden of looking for competent people to appoint as DCEs and Regional Ministers? Why should you delegate this function to a top party guru to do for you?

Why not allow the people to elect their own administrators? They will stop bothering you with requests for boreholes, health posts, fixing of roads, schools under trees – they will redirect all their complaints onto their own elected DCE! You will then have more time for macro economics, foreign affairs and national defence.

Well, well, well, Ghana is on course. Nana Addo has given us six additional regions, and pretty soon, we will be electing our own DCEs…..holala! Ghana is on course. To God be the Glory.

From Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey

Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey
Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey, © 2019

This author has authored 25 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: NkrabeahEffahDartey

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