Yendi Constituency: ''Seat of Dagbon with untapped potential''
It is the traditional capital of the Dagbon kingdom and the seat of the Overlord, the Ya-Na.
With a population of about 154,421 per the 2021 Population and Housing Census, the Yendi Constituency in the Northern Region is one of the most revered areas of the region due to its historical and traditional relevance in Dagbon.
With Yendi as its administrative capital, the Yendi Municipality is about two hours drive from Tamale, the Northern regional capital.
Bordered by the Saboba district to the east, Chereponi and Zabzugu districts to the south, Nanumba North Municipality to the north, and Gushegu Municipality and Mion District to the west, the Yendi Constituency is located along the Eastern Corridor of the region.
The constituency is home to some scenic tourist sites, ranging from landmarks and hospitality to diverse cultures, putting the area on the tourism map in the country.
Researchers, students and tourists from home and abroad often visit the ancient town to savour the taste of the tourist sites.
Some of the prominent sites are the Greenwich Meridian, the German Cemetery, the Naa Dataa Tua (king’s rival tree), the Adibo Nemohi Tua, the Gbewa Palace, the Kambo Naakpem Ziblim Grave, among others.
The Naa Dataa Tua (kings rival tree)
All these sites, however, await investment to tap their full tourism potential.
Although the constituency has seen some appreciable level of development in the past years, there is still much to be done.
Some of the roads in the constituency are in a deplorable state, and when it rains, many communities are cut off from Yendi.
Such roads are located in Kum Fong, Balogu, Gbambaya, Nayili Fong, Sunsong and Sakpegu suburbs.
The constituency has also been facing perennial water crisis following the drying up of River Daka, which is the main source of water for residents, at certain times of the year.
Even though there are few mechanised boreholes in the municipality, they do not meet the needs of the residents, a situation that compels them to buy water from private sources at a high cost, while those who cannot afford are compelled to use unsafe water.
In 2020, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo cut the sod for the construction of the Yendi water supply project; however, work on the project is yet to commence.
The Kum Fong road linking to Tamale-Bimbila road and other adjoining communities
Created since the inception of the Fourth Republic, the Yendi Constituency, one of 18 in the region, has traditionally remained the seat of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), which has been winning both the parliamentary and presidential polls, with the National Democratic Congress (NDC) having a bite at the seat only once.
There is, therefore, no doubt that the constituency is one of the strongholds of the NPP in the region.
Its sitting Member of Parliament (MP) is Farouk Aliu Mahama, who clinched the seat on the ticket of the NPP in 2020.
He is the sixth MP of the constituency.
Alhaji Mahama, the son of former Vice-President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, secured 40,624 votes, representing 62.14 per cent to beat his closest contender, Alhassan Abdul Fatawu, who secured 24,755 votes, equivalent to 37.86 per cent of the votes, in the 2020 general election.
The NDC won the seat only in 2008 with Sulemana Ibn Iddrisu Junior who secured 10,831 against 10,214 of the NPP candidate, Malik Al-Hassan Yakubu.
With 32 electoral areas, it has a mix of both formal and informal workers, made up of traders, teachers, civil and public servants; farmers, nurses, security officers, among others.
Ahmed Abubakari Yussif — MCE for Yendi
It is also a busy constituency, with fever-pitch economic activities that draw hundreds of people from far and near on a daily basis.
It also has a very busy and prominent market which draws traders from all parts of the country, and a number of banks.
Majority of the inhabitants are farmers who cultivate various food staples such as maize, yam, soybean, groundnut and vegetables.
With its vast arable land, the Yendi Constituency is yet to optimise its natural resources into improving the living conditions of the people and attract investors.
About seven km of inner-city roads have been asphalted within Yendi and its environs, making the area motorable.
Also, a roundabout and traffic lights are being constructed in the epicentre of the town to improve traffic flow as part of the Eastern Corridor road project.
Also, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) has constructed an Astro turf in the constituency.
A section of the asphalted roads in the Yendi township
There are other ongoing projects in the constituency such as the Eastern Corridor road, which is progressing steadily, the Yendi Sports and Youth Centre at Zang, rehabilitation of the Tatale-Zabzugu-Yendi road and the rehabilitation of the Yendi-Kplegini-Tamale road.
Since assuming office in 2020, the MP has initiated a number of projects geared towards improving the lives of the people.
He is credited for facilitating the construction of an ultra-modern emergency centre at the Yendi Municipal Hospital and the renovation of a number of school buildings and health facilities.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic, Alhaji Mahama stated that since he assumed office, he had identified development gaps in the constituency and was working to close such gaps.
He indicated that he had drilled about 16 boreholes, constructed community water supply systems and provided free water for the residents during the water crisis in the constituency.
"I have been organising and paying for extra classes for basic and senior high schools (SHS) to improve on their educational performances.
I have also provided educational materials and uniforms to over 1,000 students in 20 basic schools.
“I established the Farouk Aliu Mahama Educational Care Fund (FAMEC-FUND) to support needy brilliant students to realise their dreams," the MP said.
Aside from that, Alhaji Mahama said he had also organised mock examinations for more than 2,000 Basic Education Certificate Examination students for the past years.
Farouk Aliu Mahama — NPP MP for Yendi
He added that "I again provided streetlights from Kulpkune to Yendi township to beautify the entrance and improve on security; provided 5,000 domestic bulbs for over 1,000 households; gave 500 electric poles and four transformers for electric power extension to communities”.
He also mentioned the provision of fertilisers, weedicides, wellington boots, cutlasses, anti-snake medicine, and free tractor services to farmers as some of the support he had provided to improve agriculture in the area.
Alhaji Mahama, however, pledged to continue to use his influence to lobby the authorities to work on the roads and water project.
Some of the residents, who spoke to the Daily Graphic, indicated that a lot was needed to be done to improve development in the constituency.
A resident, Abudu Laar, expressed concern about the delay of the water project, and said the water crisis was taking its toll on the lives of the people.
Another resident, Abdulai Mohammed Mutala, said "the Guntingli electoral area road network is very bad; it affects our movement and poses danger to the road users.
The contractor has abandoned the project”.
In a recent tour, some opinion leaders, namely Alhassan Inusah, Amidu Mohammed Choo and Shaibu Yussif, commended the government for initiating a number of projects in the area, saying those projects were improving the fortunes of the people.
They, however, appealed to the government to speed up the construction of the Yendi Water Project to help address the perennial water crisis in the area.
The Chief Executive of the Yendi Municipal Assembly, Ahmed Abubakari Yussif, said the government was on a drive to bring massive development to the people of the area.
The Zakoli Primary School renovated by the MP
He said the assembly had provided about 2,800 metal dual desks, classroom blocks, teachers’ accommodation and toilet facilities to some basic schools this year.
To improve the water situation, Mr Yussif said 10 mechanised boreholes and 25 hand pump boreholes had been constructed to help the residents to access potable water.
An Emergency and Trauma Centre at the Yendi Municipal Hospital