One Volta Group (OVG), a non-governmental civil society and advocacy organisation, is calling for credible, transparent and intimidation-free referendum as some parts of the country head to the polls to accept or reject the creation of new regions.
“One Volta Group draws the attention of all the people of the Volta Region and Ghanaians as a whole to this by demanding responsible attitude and reconciliatory gestures from all and to collectively resolve to undertake a credible and transparent referendum devoid of fear, intimidation and threats to lives and properties so that we can still enjoy our peace even after the polls,” the Director of OVG, Togbe Hortormaho Amedzake III, said.
It, therefore, called on the international community, religious bodies and all other stakeholders to take keen interest in the upcoming referenda, particularly in the proposed Oti Region.
According to the group, their request was necessary because the involvement of the stakeholder was critical to ensuring peace and stability during and after the process.
Togbe Amedzake observed that the peace and tranquility of the Volta Region was under threat following the desire for a new region (Oti Region) as there were alleged beatings and intimidation against people who held dissenting views about the proposal.
He was speaking at a press conference in Accra last Thursday to declare the OVG’s stance as an interested group in the upcoming referendum on the proposed Oti Region scheduled to happen on December 27, 2018.
The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on October 19, 2017, inaugurated a nine-member Commission of Enquiry to look into the viability or otherwise of the creation of new regions which was a campaign promise of the NPP and the then candidate Akufo-Addo in the 2016 elections.
The proposed new regions are the Western North, Bono East, Ahafo, Savannah, North East, and Oti.
For the creation of the new regions, at least 50 per cent of the persons entitled to vote must vote in each of the different referenda, and of the votes cast, at least 80 per cent must be in favour of the creation of a region for the demand to succeed.
“We are calling for the opening up of the democratic space in these areas for all registered voters to exercise their constitutional rights by the Yes or No campaign and also at the polls on the set date,” Togbe Amedzake said.
He, however, stated that the OVG was going to assist the “No campaign” against the creation of the Oti Region although it was not against the idea of development of new creations. It, however, had a problem with the processes.
According to him, the government rushed through the process, assumed too many roles and did not have enough education and engagement with the affected people, adding that a little more time would have offered them the opportunity to get a better insight into the whole idea.
He also maintained that the creation of the proposed Oti Region would not contribute in any way to the development of the northern part of the Volta Region but rather a robust decentralised governance system would.