ho airport
ho airport

A no flight airport for ho

I was brought up in Ho, which is now the capital of the Volta Region, because someone got his politics right at the time, but that is a different story. 


I went to school in Ho from the age of nine till I left for the university at age 19.

Ho remained my home throughout my university years and when I graduated and started work with the Daily Graphic, it was the home address I had and remained so for years until my parents went on retirement and went to live in our hometown of Abutia, which is 15 minutes away from Ho.

I have deep family roots in Ho and I could, if I wanted to, qualify to stand for elections in the Ho Central constituency on the basis of “hailing from” Ho.

I have gone to all this trouble to establish my Ho credentials to demonstrate that I qualify to state my deep apprehensions about the airport project for which His Excellency President John Dramani Mahama performed the sod cutting ceremony recently.

Even if I did not have the strong connections with Ho that I have, it is obvious that it would be a great advantage for me to be able to make a 30-minute journey from my door in my hometown of Abutia to catch a flight at an airport in Ho.

But I am afraid such prospects do not make the idea of an airport in Ho sound very attractive to me.

When I reflected on the timing of the hurried sod cutting, which was done on the afternoon before the Yam Festival the next day of the Asogli people, I told myself the President of the Republic must have been anxious about appearing before Togbe Afede X1V, the Agbogbomefia, without some goodies.

I know the NDC vote in Ho is one of the most solid and the President would want to keep such a constituency sweet but I wondered if Togbe Afede had issued an ultimatum along the lines of “Mr President, you better deliver or….”

The truth is even though Togbe Afede is the traditional chief that he is and wants prestigious projects for his people, he is very much a business man and an astute financial person.

What is more, he is in the airline business and I, therefore, wondered how much pressure he had exerted to bring an airport to our town/city of Ho.

Then I read in the newspapers a report of what Togbe said at the ceremony: “the Ho airport would become a white elephant, if it does not get the needed regular patronage it requires to remain operational”!!! He then proceeds to urge Ghanaians to patronise the airport; and here comes the clincher, “or else, all this that we are doing, will amount to nothing”.

Having read this, I was reassured that I was in good company in having reservations about the project.

Togbe Afede, after all, is in the airline business himself and he should know better than anyone, what the prospects were for an airport in his town.

Being the business and finance man that he is, Togbe owes it to us in Ho, in the Volta Region and in Ghana, to give unadorned advice on this project to the President and to the government. 

With the greatest respect, Togbe should not be commending the President and the NDC government for “taking steps to fulfil electoral promises” if he has the slightest apprehension about the validity of the project.

He would know better than most, if an airport in Ho was likely to become a white elephant.

 He is in a position to tell the President what can be done with 25 million dollars in the Volta Region instead of an airport that might become a white elephant.

And Togbe certainly has the clout to help the President avoid any political fallout from unfulfilled electoral promises.

And if this is the President’s pet project, I am afraid I have to disagree with him when he says an airport in Ho will “open up the Volta Region, attract investors and boost agriculture, trade and other socio-economic activities in the area”.


I wholeheartedly agree with the President that we need to open up the Volta Region, attract investors and boost agriculture.

But I doubt very much that we are dying in the Volta Region for the facility that will enable us to fly from Ho to Takoradi when the state of the roads in the region is such that some people will take about three hours to make the 55-kilometre journey from their villages to the airport in Ho.  

Granted that it is the Ghana Airports company that has taken the loan for this project, and it is not part of Finance Minister Seth Tekper’s exploding loan portfolio, but it obviously has the blessing of the government.

 It is not a good idea to cite an airport project simply on the basis of giving a region an airport or what our Nigerian cousins would call “federal character”.


I do not have a scientific survey to gauge the enthusiasm in the region for the project, but my nine-year-old nephew was challenged to tell us what he would do differently with $25 million, if he were President.

He did not miss a breath and he replied he would build dams to provide electricity.

 To which I might add smaller dams to help with irrigation, to boost agriculture.

I hope sincerely it doesn’t, but I fear that this project might end up as a disaster and I can see some unkind people calling it “Dramani’s Folly” even if it does get built.


There is an example of some such folly in Spain and it is called the Ghost Airport of Castellon.

Between 2007 and 2011, more that 80 million Euro was used to build this airport that never received a single flight.

In July this year, this Don Quixote airport, whose cost had by then risen to 1Billion Euro, was sold for 10,000 Euro.

It was a classic example of political enthusiasm overriding business and economic considerations. 

The Ho airport might well be an electoral promise, but it won’t hurt to take a second look, Mr President, and if you have the slightest hesitation, please use the money on the roads in the region, or to boost agriculture in the region.  

As for the airport, I am not at all sure, even if Ho to Dubai, non-stop, does have a certain ring to it.               

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