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Demand for new districts... Prez asks traditional authorities to wait for EC

BY: Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah
President Akufo-Addo with the Paramount Chief of the Techiman Traditional Area, Nana Oseadeayo Akumfi Ameyaw IV
President Akufo-Addo with the Paramount Chief of the Techiman Traditional Area, Nana Oseadeayo Akumfi Ameyaw IV

The president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has asked areas in the newly created regions craving for the creation of new districts to wait for the Electoral Commission (EC) to create new constituencies before they can realise their aspirations.

"We will follow up with the creation of new districts when the EC creates new constituencies," he stated at a durbar organised by the chiefs and the people of Amantin in the Atebubu-Amantin municipality during his two-day visit to the newly created Bono East Region.

President Akufo-Addo's advice was in response to demands made by the Omanhene of the Mim Traditional Area, Nana Yaw Adjei; the Omanhene of the Yamfo Traditional Area, Nana Ansa Adu Baah, both in the Ahafo Region, and the Omanhene of the Amantin Traditional Area in the Bono East Region, Osabarima Owusu Ababio II, for the creation of new districts.

Appeal

In an appeal to the President during his visit to the Ahafo and the Bono East regions, the three chiefs said even though they had the required communities and population to be elevated to district status, they had sat on the sidelines for far too long.

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In making his case, Nana Adjei said now that Goaso had been made the Ahafo regional capital, there was the need to elevate Mim to a district status.

For his part, Osabarima Ababio said Amantin had been deprived of a number of amenities and cited the lack of potable water and infrastructure for second-cycle institutions in the town as an example.

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President Akufo-Addo assured the people of the Amantin Traditional Area that the government was alive to its responsibilities and would, therefore, ensure that the community got its fair share of the national cake during his tenure as President.

The President also visited Atebubu, during which he paid a courtesy call on the Omanhene of the Atebubu Traditional Area, Nana Owusu Acheaw Bempong.

The Omanhene honoured President Akufo-Addo by installing him as the Sompahene (Good Servant), while the Atebubu-Amantin Municipal Chief Executive was given the title Adwumapahene (Good worker).

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo with some elders and officials admiring a plaque after inaugurating the new NHIA building at Atebubu

Church service

After the courtesy call, the President attended a church service organised by the Atebubu Local Council of Churches.

 In a sermon, the Atebubu Area Head of the Church of Pentecost, Apostle K.B. Antwi, commended the President for his policies, such as the free senior high school, Planting for Food and Jobs and One-district, One-factory (IDIF) initiatives.

He urged the President to be courageous in the pursuance of those policies in fulfilment of his electioneering promises.

He also called on the government to rehabilitate deplorable roads in the area to facilitate the evacuation of foodstuffs to marketing centres.

Touching on the rampant highway robberies in the area, he appealed to the President to ensure that the security agencies were provided with the necessary tools to enable them to combat such nefarious activities.

Responding, President Akufo-Addo gave an assurance that he would work towards the fulfilment of all his promises and appealed to the people to continue to support the government.

Later, he inaugurated the 40-bed Female Ward of the Atebubu Government Hospital, built at a cost of GH¢428,125 from the assembly's internally generated funds, and an office for the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA).

Background

After winning the 2016 general election, President Akufo-Addo established the Ministry of Regional Reorganisation and Development to spearhead the process of creating new regions.

The ministry held a series of sensitisation workshops to deepen the knowledge and understanding of the Ghanaian populace on the processes and modalities involved in the creation of new regions, as stipulated in articles 4 and 5 of the 1992 Constitution.

Commission of Enquiry On October 19, 2017, the President set up a nine-member Commission of Enquiry, chaired by Justice S.A. Brobbey, a retired Supreme Court judge, to look into the creation of new regions, based on the advice of the Council of State, following the referral of six petitions from the chiefs and the elders of the proposed Western North, Oti, Ahafo, Bono East, Savannah and North East regions.

The commission held in-camera consultations and public hearings in all the proposed six regions and in Accra in respect of the creation of the regions.

 Recommendations

After completing its work, the Commission of Enquiry submitted its report and recommendations to the President for consideration on Tuesday, June 26, 2018.

In its report, titled: “Equitable Distribution of National Resources for Balanced Development’’, the Justice Brobbey Commission recommended the creation of the proposed regions: Savannah and North East out of the existing Northern Region; Ahafo and Bono East out of the Brong Ahafo Region; Oti out of the Volta Region and Western North out of the Western Region.

Electoral Commission

The recommendations of the Justice Brobbey Commission were accepted and forwarded to the Electoral Commission (EC), in line with Article 5 (5) of the 1992 Constitution.

 The Constitution provides strict requirements for the successful outcome of a referendum to create new regions. Per the Constitution, a minimum of 50 per cent of registered voters must exercise their franchise in the referendum, out of which 80 per cent must vote in favour.

Electorate say yes

At the end of the referendum, which was held on December 27, 2018, Ghanaians in the six proposed regions voted massively to endorse the creation of the Oti, Savannah, North East, Western North, Ahafo and Bono East regions.

Declaring the results on December 28, 2018, the Chairperson of the EC, Mrs Jean Adukwei Mensa, said all the six proposed regions met the threshold of 50 per cent voter turnout and 80 per cent voting YES.