The government is consulting with the chiefs and opinion leaders in all the six newly created regions to ensure the peaceful selection of regional capitals, the Minister of Regional Reorganisation and Development, Mr Dan Botwe, has said.
He said chiefs in the respective regions were to discuss among themselves and build consensus on which of the towns would be their capital, after which the proposed capital would be presented to the appropriate authority for approval.
He, therefore, urged residents of the newly created Oti, Ahafo, Bono East, Western North, North East and Savannah regions to remain calm ahead of the selection process, giving an assurance that the outcome of the consultation process would reflect their interest.
Mr Botwe said this in an interview after making a presentation at the End Time Revival Centre of the Assemblies of God Church in Accra yesterday.
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"The President will issue a Constitutional Instrument (CI), after which the administrative place of work in the regions will be announced.
"It is solely the prerogative of the President to determine when the CI will be issued, but we do know that broader consultations with the various chiefs in the new regions are ongoing to inform the decision on which of the towns will be made the capitals,” he added.
In October 2017, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in accordance with Article 5 (2) of the Constitution, inaugurated a nine-member Commission of Enquiry, chaired by Mr Justice S.A. Brobbey, to look into the request for the creation of new regions and give recommendations.
The commission, after holding nationwide consultations, urged the government to create the six administrative regions.
Following its report presented to the President in June 2018, the Electoral Commission (EC), in December 2018, conducted a referendum in the affected regions to seek the approval of the people.
According to the summary of the results provided by the EC on December 28, 2018, the requirements — 50 per cent of registered voters voting and 80 per cent of the valid voters voting yes — which made the results valid were met in all the regions.
The President, however, is yet to issue a CI to give the enabling effect to the results of the referendum, as well as announce the capitals of the new regions.
Mr Botwe stated that the government was committed to releasing a budgetary allocation of GH¢20 million as seed capital for each new region immediately the various processes, including the submission of the report by the committee set up by the President to come up with a development plan for the regions, were completed.
“We need to know the needs of the people and how we can address them in the shortest possible time. In our interactions, we noticed that the people themselves had asked their district assemblies to also begin to put forward some medium and long-term plans and that will inform what the government is also going to do,” he said.
At the service
Earlier, while addressing the congregation, Mr Botwe had urged them to disregard all manner of “misconceptions” regarding the creation of the new regions because the move by the government had constitutional backing.
He also appealed to them to pray for the people in the affected areas to ensure that the entire process ended peacefully.