Bomaa: Once vibrant, now neglected - Residents grapple with abandoned projects, deplorable roads
Bomaa is one of the biggest towns in the Tano North Municipality of the Ahafo Region.
Inhabitants of this ancient town are well known for their involvement in agriculture, particularly the cultivation of cocoa and plantain.
Bomaa is also famous for the composition of national inspirational patriotic songs such as "Dwene oman yi ho", "Ghana akuafoo", "Osee yee Ghana o", "Aniha mu nni biribi sԑ ohia", among others.
These songs which have continued to inspire Ghanaians for decades were composed, arranged, produced and sang by the Bomaa Paradise Choir, led by the late Yaw Owusu Badu.
According to the Patriotic Youth of Bomaa (PYB), in the 1960s, the town was a proud, functional, vibrant and enviable town in the erstwhile Brong Ahafo Region.
However, currently the development of Bomaa is in shambles with a lot of uncompleted projects, while erosion is fast eating up the once proud, functional, vibrant and enviable town.
Abandoned projects in the town include a 22-unit classroom and administration block at the Bomaa Senior High School, a 12-seater toilet facility, lorry park, durbar grounds and the Female Ward at the Bomaa Polyclinic among others.
Bomaa has about 20 communities such as Asukese, Subonpang, Dwenase, Ahyiaem, Tanokro, Nsuapemkrom, Mamponteng, Kwasuagya, Dumakwai Onwe and Akurakan.
Others are Mmirekyirekrom, Apesika, Nkwantabisa, Nkwaeso, Atonsu, Kwafokrom, Kwabinakrom and Appiahkrom.
Bomaa and its surrounding communities have a population of about 7,000, of which majority are into commercial farming.
Farmers in the area produce food crops such as plantain, yam, cocoyam, maize and cassava in large quantities.
In addition, Bomaa and its other farming communities are also major producers of cocoa and supply timber in large quantities to feed the country’s timber industry.
Thus, the contribution of Bomaa and its adjoining communities to food production and the development of the Ahafo Region and the country as a whole cannot be taken for granted.
Poor state of roads
In spite of the benefits the country enjoys from Bomaa and its adjoining communities, the area has been neglected, especially when it comes to the road network.
Five critical roads of Bomaa are in deplorable states, to the extent that they have become impassable. In the rainy season, the town is sometimes cut off from the rest of the municipality.
These roads include the 14.5-kilometre Bomaa-Duayaw Nkwanta road, the 11.3-kilometre Bomaa-Tepa road, the 19-kilometre Bomaa-Yamfo road, the 8.5-kilometre Bomaa-Dwenase road and five-kilometre Bomaa town roads.
All these deplorable roads are key economic roads because they are linked to farmlands, timber logging areas, the Bono and Ashanti regions and some communities in the Ahafo Region.
In addition, travellers, especially traders from Kumasi to Sunyani through Mankranso, prefer using the Bomaa-Tepa or Bomaa-Yamfo roads because they are the shortest routes to their destinations.
Indeed, life will be in danger when there is an emergency in the Bomaa area due to the poor nature of their roads, including the town roads.
It is in the light of these that the PYB organised a press conference to express its displeasure and frustrations to the government and other authorities in the area to help construct or rehabilitate their roads.
The Convener of the PYB, Isaac Adjei Boateng, said the only market in the area serving several farming communities was collapsing.
He said traders and farmers found it difficult to transport their foodstuffs from the farm gates to the market centres, explaining that traders were also afraid of buying foodstuffs from farmers because they might not get vehicles to transport them to the big market centres in other parts of the country.
Mr Boateng said in the dry season, the community suffered from excessive dust, which made it uncomfortable to travel on the road, especially when the person wore a white-coloured attire.
“Ironically, during the dry season also, the community is at the mercy of the weather as dust takes over the entire community,” he stated.
Mr Boateng said drivers and motorists were paying huge sums of money on maintenance and servicing of their vehicles because of frequent breakdowns as a result of the bad nature of the roads.
Bomaa needs attention
Mr Boateng said politicians and leaders of the country had taken Bomaaman for granted for far too long.
“Just before every election, they send machines on the roads, pretending to be constructing our roads just to win votes, but immediately after elections, the machines vanish into thin air and the numerous promises die naturally,” he lamented.
Mr Boateng said people in the area felt government officials and representatives of the people at the municipal, constituency and the regional levels had not given the road network of Bomaa the priority and serious attention it deserved.
He said Bomaa was a peaceful town and did not pose any security threat to the peace of the municipality, the region and the nation to be neglected.
Mr Boateng said as the home of patriotic songs, "we believe the town should have been put on the highest pedestal on the developmental agenda of the nation, but there is nothing to show for all her contribution to national development".
He said Bomaa over the years had contributed a lot to the development of the country by way of the supply of foodstuffs, cocoa and timber in large quantities.
Mr Boateng said it was unfortunate that Bomaa had been in such a situation since time immemorial, adding that the “irony of it is that most often, we hear promises of our roads being constructed under various governments but to no avail”.
He said people in the area were thrown into a state of ecstasy when the government captured the Bomaa roads in the 2018 budget statement.
He said their hopes were further rekindled when the 2019 budget dubbed "MPONTU" Budget also captured the roads for the second time.
Mr Boateng added that for four consecutive times, the construction of the Bomaa road network had featured in national budgets but till now, "we have nothing to show to that effect".
He explained that portions of farmlands with foodstuffs and cocoa had been destroyed in the name of road construction, but people in the area were yet to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Mr Boateng, therefore, appealed to the government to, as a matter of urgency, act to save the image of the Bomaa area, its own image and that of the ruling New Patriotic Party.
“The New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration must wake up and do the needful to ensure that the national cake is fairly distributed,” he urged.
Mr Boateng said the Bomaa area deserved better and that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo should reciprocate the commitment and contribution of Bomaa to the electoral fortunes of his party per historical antecedents.
“In keeping with your call, Mr President, to be citizens but not spectators, we will not say we will not vote! We shall surely exercise our franchise as it is our legal and constitutional obligation; but we may probably have to advise ourselves going to the next polls,” he stated.
A plantain trader, Dorothy Fofie, told the Daily Graphic that the deplorable nature of the Bomaa roads was discouraging traders from trading in the area.
"We find it difficult to transport foodstuffs we purchase from farmers to major market centres such as Sunyani, Kumasi and other parts of the country," she said.
Madam Fofie, who trades from Bomaa to Kumasi weekly, said most of them were considering stopping trading in the area due to frustrations they went through to transport their goods.
A taxi driver, Maxwell Arthur, said the situation was negatively affecting his health and the fitness of his vehicle.
He said Bomaa and its surrounding communities supplied almost half of the plantain sold in the Sunyani and Goaso markets, but the bad state of the roads was killing the spirit of both farmers and drivers.
A resident, Kwadwo Kyeremeh, appealed to the government to come to the aid of residents and save the community from being cut off from other communities.
He said several governments had neglected the community. He, therefore, threatened that they would prevent politicians from campaigning in the area if their concerns were not addressed.