The 2012 presidential candidate of the Convention People’s Party, Dr Micheal Abu Sakara Foster, has said the reconstitution of the board of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) has come too late to save it from the troubles created.
President Mahama reconstituted the board this month to help the authority achieve its prime aim of bridging the development gap between the northern and southern sectors of the country.
But in a statement, Dr Sakara said the reconstitution should have come earlier.
"It is, therefore, with a sigh of relief that recent changes in the board of SADA are welcomed, even though there has been no tacit admission that these changes are in response to the public outcry over perceived corruption in the administration of SADA.
“These changes by themselves do not go far enough to really turn around the fortunes of SADA. They have come too late to save the buoyant national support that SADA previously enjoyed!" Dr Sakara stated.
He said the delay in reconstituting the board allowed the allegations, discontent and mistrust to fester for too long.
He said the board must immediately ensure that SADA's system of procurement of technical assistance and goods broke links with the old system of service providers and suppliers.
He pointed out that there must be greater transparency and scrutiny, with less political interference to ensure that SADA was finally free from the influences of ‘old boys’ networks and ‘Kokofu football’ (favouritism) tactics.
The new board, Dr Sakara explained, must strictly ensure that those who would serve as advisors should not under any circumstances be allowed to serve as consultants, adding that the board must appoint a new CEO who was not associated with the past.
According to Dr Sakara, the board must support the new CEO to take immediate measures that will ensure a change in work ethics and attitudes as they build a good mix of representative staff competencies based on merit and not political affiliation.
He said attention should be given to building credibility in the institution of SADA by asserting its independence in decision making about its orientation, focus and implementation processes.
According to Dr Sakara, SADA was initiated with high hopes of bridging the development gap between Ghana's poorest areas in the north and the rest of the country.
‘“After all, everyone had a hand in bringing SADA to fruition in its transition from NDF under NPP to SADA under the NDC administration, and the very act of reaching a national consensus on bridging the north-south development divide was uplifting and felt like the healing of a ‘gaping wound’ in our national development psyche had begun,’’ he observed.
Dr Sakara, however, said it was now sad that SADA was tragically mired in controversy and acrimony over charges of gross misappropriation of public funds.
He urged Ghanaians not to settle on “our oars" for business as usual because committees of enquiry set up and investigative reports alone would not stem the tide of corruption because there was a sense that denial by officialdom was tantamount to saying changes were not needed.
He noted that at its beginning, SADA was the one thing on which all political and social fronts agreed as being a laudable national initiative which would bring out the best in the people.
He advised government officials and leaders not to take for granted the tacit public support SADA once enjoyed across the political spectrum, since the silence of many who supported SADA had been mistaken as acquiescence or complicity in the charges levelled against a few individuals.
He also urged fellow countrymen and women not to "throw the baby out with the bath water," as SADA was too important to the nation for it to descend from the high moral ground of political consensus into the pit of partisan politics.