The chiefs and the people of the northern part of the Western Region have unanimously endorsed the proposal to carve a Western North Region from the present Western Region.
Making individual submissions at a forum organised by the Commission of Enquiry for the Creation of New Regions in Accra last Thursday, the chiefs and the people, led by their Spokesperson, Lt Col Anthony Aduhene (retd), pointed out the lack of development in that part of the Western Region and the neglect by successive governments and said per the various fora organised by the commission and the submissions made, there was no doubt that there must be a Western North Region.
Lt Col. Aduhene cited the lack of infrastructure and abundant resources such as cocoa, bauxite and gold in the area and said the western north area alone produced about 40 per cent of the country’s cocoa.
“The Western Region has about 65 per cent of the country’s resources, out of which the western north alone contributes over 40 per cent of the cocoa. We also produce timber and it is the only area where bauxite is mined. There is also prospecting of diamond in the Juaboso District,” he stated, adding that “the western north area is the only region that can independently stand on its own”.
He expressed disappointment at the fact that there was no indigene from the area on the board of the Ghana Cocoa Board, despite its significant contribution to the production of the crop, and said “the creation of the region will improve the road network and healthcare delivery in the area”.
That, he explained, was because the only regional hospital at Effiankwanta in Sekondi was not easily accessible due to the bad nature of the road from Adabokrom, for instance, to Sekondi.
“Due to the irreparable state of roads in our area, nurses and teachers, for instance, have always been reluctant to accept posting to that part of the country,” he noted, saying the creation of the region would be mutually beneficial to both the northern and the southern parts of the western part of the country.
In another contribution, a former District Chief Executive (DCE) for Wassa Amenfi, Mr Samuel Sakyi, described the roads in the western north part as “powder and pomade roads”, explaining that during the dry season, “we are powdered when we travel on the roads, while in the rainy season it becomes a form of pomade after travelling on the roads”.
There was a moment of drama when a contributor who claimed to be a representative of the USA branch of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Charles Amoah Asante, expressed a contrary view to the creation of the new region, saying the creation would come with a huge cost, as well as have a structural impact on the entire country.
His contribution was met with boos and name calling by the audience, who were dominated by people from the northern part of the Western Region, until the secretary to the commission appealed for calm.
Mr Asante left the hall unceremoniously after the brief heckling.
The Member of Parliament for Sefwi Wiawso, Dr Kwaku Owusu Afriyie, for his part, said if cost was going to be the reason for a new region not to be created out of the Western Region, then the “people of the western north will be consigned to perpetual servitude”.
“Ghana, after independence, started as a three-tier territory — the Gold Coast and the Ashanti and the Northern territories — but today we have other regions. If some people do not want the Western Region to be divided, then the regional capital must be brought to Wassa Akropong,” he emphasised, adding: “The time for restitution is now.”
Earlier, the Chairman of the commission, Mr Justice Stephen Allan Brobbey, had cautioned the people against the use of inflammatory and intemperate language.
“All that the commission wants is for you to give reasons and justification why you think there is the need for the Western North Region,” he explained.
The Minister for Regional Reorganisation and Development, Mr Dan Botwe, for his part, recalled the history behind the proposals for the creation of new regions and said based on proposals presented to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, he on October 19, 2017, made a pronouncement for the creation of the regions.
He said the President had to invoke articles Four and Five of the 1992 Constitution to pave way for the establishment of the Commission of Enquiry to seek views from the people.
The Commission of Enquiry for the creation of the new regions began its work in October last year by meeting in camera with chiefs from the regions who presented proposals for the creation of the new regions.
It also went to the respective regions — Western, Brong Ahafo, Volta and Northern — where it met with the people to seek their views.
The ongoing public hearing which will last for three days is the last lap for the commission to listen to proposals and views from the public on the creation of new regions.