The Okyenhene, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin, has expressed disappointment about the abortion of the referendum which was scheduled for December 17 to amend some articles and clauses of the 1992 Constitution.
The Okyenhene, who was addressing a durbar to climax the 20th anniversary of his enstoolment last Saturday, said there was nothing wrong with the intended referendum.
He said it would have given Ghanaians the benefit to decide for themselves persons to lead them at the district and the municipal levels to promote accountability, good governance and development.
The Okyenhene urged President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo not to relent on his promise to reintroduce the referendum but also intensify the educational campaign to ensure that the issues related to the referendum were well understood by Ghanaians.
“The President has promised that the referendum has not been entirely cancelled but will be considered again. When you take government to the people and allow them to shape their future and take charge of their own destiny, it is a laudable thing.
“We urge you to reintroduce the referendum at the right time so that we intensify the campaign and education for our people to understand that it is a good initiative,” he said.
Dignitaries & cultural display
The grand durbar, which was widely attended by many statesmen and women, had the Overlord of Dagbon, Ya-Na Abukari Mahama II, as the Guest of Honour.
The Ya-Na brought along a retinue of five chiefs from the Dagbon Traditional Area.
He also donated a cow and 1,000 tubers of yam to the Okyenhene and the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Area.
The colourful event was also attended by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia; former President Jerry John Rawlings and his wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings.
The General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia; a former Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Victor Smith, and other members of the NDC were also there, as were some executive members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), including its Chairman, Mr Freddy Blay; the Senior Minister, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, and the Chairman of the Council of Elders of the NPP, Mr Hackman Owusu Agyeman.
The durbar was colourful and punctuated with the display of the rich cultural heritage of Okyeman and other parts of the country.
Cultural troupes from the northern part of the country, as well the Volta and the Eastern regions, also entertained the crowd.
Institution of 1R1M Policy
Osagyefuo Ofori Panin also urged the government to consider decongesting the ministries from the country’s capital with the creation or relocation of some ministries to other regions to ease migration to and pressure on the capital.
For the development of Ghana, he stated, “let us create 16 ministries, one in each of the 16 regions, to create employment avenues, so that people can rightly live in their communities to work and pay taxes to the government for development”.
“Before that, we need to build infrastructure to connect disadvantaged people to economic opportunities. In my term, mine is not 1D1F (One -district, One-factory) but it is 1R1M (One-region, One-ministry),” he said.
He also questioned the existence of some ministries, institutions and offices in Accra and called for them to be stationed in other regions.
“I do not know why we have the Forestry Commission, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Local Government & Rural Development all in Accra. Should we send all of these to other regions, it will create employment in those regions for the youth and breed development in the country,” he said.
Ya-Na proposes Senate or Upper House
The Overlord of Dagbon, Ya-Na Abukari Mahama II, in a speech delivered on his behalf by the Chief of Nantom, Naa Mahamadu V, called on the government to amend the Constitution and consider the creation of a Senate or an Upper House to consider bills put before Parliament and appoint personalities to other key institutions.
“It is high time Ghana amended its Constitution to replace the present Council of State with a Senate or Upper House composed of prominent chiefs, distinguished Ghanaian men and women with power to consider certain bills put before Parliament. The Senate will be the appointing authority for positions such as the Auditor-General, the Inspector-General of Police and the chairpersons and members of the Electoral Commission, vice-chancellors of state universities and the Executive Head of the National Media Commission,” he recommended.
Ya-Na Mahama added that the power given to the President to appoint people to those five key offices generated great disagreement among the political divide, which was detrimental to the democracy of the country and so should be amended.
He also called on the government to terminate the “winner-takes-all” practice in our politics.