Mr Charles A. Abugre, CEO, SADA, and Prof Kwame Karikari, Chairman, Media Foundation for West Africa(MFWA), at the meeting with political parties in Accra
Mr Charles A. Abugre, CEO, SADA, and Prof Kwame Karikari, Chairman, Media Foundation for West Africa(MFWA), at the meeting with political parties in Accra

SADA necessary for devt of northern region says NDC,NPP

The ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) have agreed to continue using the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) as a vehicle for the transformation of the Northern Savanna Ecological Zone (NSEZ), should either of them win the 2016 general election.

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But while the NDC says it will continue to support the authority to reform and be able to achieve its set goals, the NPP says it would not hesitate to reform SADA's operational structure should it realise that its management system and mode of operation do not conform to the required standards.

Representatives of the two parties gave their positions on the authority at a special engagement with political parties by management of SADA in Accra last Thursday.

"If SADA is doing well, we will uphold it. If there are issues with administration, we will try and fix them but I do not think we will stop SADA," the Deputy General Secretary of the NPP, Mr Bob Charles Agbontor, said.

The Norther Savanna Ecological Zone (NSEZ) comprises the three northern regions — the Northern, Upper East and West regions — and portions of the Brong Ahafo and Volta regions.

It is made up of 63 districts and accounts for 64.4 per cent of the country's landmass.

"It is grounded in and we will not change things. They have their mandate and we will allow them to function," he added.

Other parties

The meeting was to give the management of SADA the opportunity to discuss their work plans and get the buy- in of the political parties ahead of their manifesto launches.

Apart from the two main parties, representatives of three other political parties — the Convention People's Party (CPP), the National Democratic Party (NDP) and the All People's Congress (ACP) — were at the meeting, which was chaired by the Chairman of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Prof. Kwame Karikari.

The meeting was the outcome of an earlier engagement with senior media practitioners in the country, which recommended, among other things, that SADA needed to get the political buy-in of the key political parties ahead of this year's December 7 presidential and parliamentary elections.

The Head of Research at the NDC, Dr William Ahadzie, who represented the party, said the establishment of SADA was in line with what the party stood for.

He explained that as a social democratic party, the NDC was concerned with the lagging development between the two halves of the country, hence the decision to use SADA as a vehicle to bridge the gap.

Don't politicise SADA

After listening to presentations by the Chief Executive Officer of SADA, Mr

Charles A. Abugre, and other officials, the NPP deputy general secretary said it was clear that the authority had been reformed, contrary to what had been bundled around.

"Before coming here and listening to the presentations, we had been made to understand that SADA was a monumental failure but I can say that it has completely been rejuvenated. This shows that leadership is key and as they say, if the head is rotten, the entire system will fail," Mr Agbontor said.

As a result, he urged political parties to stoppoliticising the operations of the authority and rather use it as a framework to help transform the NSEZ.

The zone comprises the three northern regions-the Northern, Upper East and West - and portions of the Brong Ahafo and Volta regions. It is made up of 63 districts and accounts for 64.4 per cent of the country's land mass.

Despite its enormous potential, the zone is the least developed in the country, with poverty levels in some regions higher than the national average.

The NPP's deputy general secretary said his party and its flag bearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, were committed to helping bridge that gap, using national interventions such as SADA.

"For me, we should not politicise SADA so that anybody who comes to power will say 'I will not follow it.' My party will be happy to continue with SADA and use it to achieve our goals," he said.

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On the authority's Master Plan, a blueprint that SADA wants to use to transform the northern savanna ecological zone, Mr Agbontor said the party would study the document and respond appropriately.

Consensus

After listening to the discussion, Prof. Karikari said it was positively obvious from the statements of the representatives that every political party saw the need to help bridge the development gap between the Northern and Southern halves of the country.

"What, I think, they differ in, is how it will be done. With SADA being in operation for sometime now and showing positive signs of reformation, I think it is right to continue to use it to help achieve that consensus that we have as a country," he said.

Mr Abugre thanked the political parties for honouring the meeting and said the authority would continue to engage them with the aim of making its operations more transparent to the general public.

 

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