Hundreds of people said to be part of the Coalition of Volta Youth on Wednesday took to the streets of the Volta Regional capital of Ho to protest against the proposed new Oti Region, to be carved out of the Volta Region.
They held placards with inscriptions such as, “ Divide and rule tactics,” “We can build Volta region together,” “Volta is not for sale,” “Give back our lands and river,” “Division is no guarantee for development”, “ This is pure ethnic division” and “Be bold, Volta Chiefs”.
“We the Coalition of Volta Youths demand a concrete and an unequivocal actions from our Volta Chiefs within fourteen days from the receipt of this petition. For this would restore harmony, peace and tranquility and cohesion that existed since time immemorial,” the petition said.
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The petition which was signed by 140 aggrieved persons and read by their leader, Mr Simon Kofi Ohene, said it was their considered opinion that the creation of new regions and districts continuously fragmented the country along ethnic and tribal lines which does not promote harmony but leads to mistrust and disunity among people of the same country.
According to them, the creation of regions and districts along tribal and ethnic lines is becoming obvious and is contrary to the wording and spirit of Article 35(2) and 35(5) of the 1992 constitution.
It was also their considered opinion that continuous creation of new regions will make it more challenging to fulfill governance issues of regional balance as required under article 35(6) of the constitution as alluded to by President J.A Kufuor a few years ago.
The petition said the creation of new regions comes with increased administrative costs and and contended that it was against the global trend of breaking barriers among people adding that current technological advancement should rather allow people to carry out a wide range of activities without the burden of physically travelling to regional capitals.
The petitioners believed that if the central government truly pursued and implemented decentralization process as envisaged, the economic and social benefits will be better felt by the people and thus reduce the continuous calls for the creation of more regions and districts.
It called on the Commission of Enquiry to review carefully and dispassionately the pros and cons of creating new regions so as not to go down the slippery road as a country.
The petition suggested that the public hearing and referendum on the creation of the “Oti” region by redefining the boundaries of the Volta region must be extended to cover other part of the Volta region.
It said any attempt to impose the alteration based on the current petition being considered by the commission on the people would not be countenanced and employ every legitimate force to resist and stop the diabolic decision and act.
It called on inhabitants of Volta North to desist from further exercising powers considered as a “taboo” and had the tendency of affecting the peace and tranquility of the Volta region and to consequently consider to withdraw the petition from the Commission.
It however declared unflinching support to the government, Volta chiefs and brothers from the Northern area in the development of the Volta region as a whole and shall not allow any external or remote control of the region by any prominent chief in Ghana as this will lead to civil unrest.
The petition was received by the chief director of the Volta Regional Coordinating Council(VRCC), Mr Felix Chaaha on behalf of the regional minister, Dr Archibald Yao Letsa.