The Chairman of the Commission of Enquiry into the creation of new regions, Justice S.A. Brobbey, has said the people of the Volta Region have always been living together and will continue to live together even if the petitioners for the creation of ‘Oti Region’ are successful in convincing the commission that there is a substantial demand for the new region.
Presenting his speech at the Kete-Krachi Senior High School auditorium on January 17, 2018 as part of the Commission of Enquiry’s public hearings in the Volta Region, the retired Supreme Court Judge said, “it is not enough to say if you create Oti Region’, it will promote tribalism or ethnicity.”
He asked those making that assertion to demonstrate to the people of Ghana, how the creation of Oti Region’ was going to bring about tribalism.
Continuing his speech, Justice Brobbey said “people from the northern Volta and people from the southern Volta marry each other and that will continue. The Volta Region is full of heterogeneous society, we have been living like that and will continue to live like that.”
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He further stated “when you create a region, you don’t bring about a visa, so that with the existence of the Oti Region’, you will need a visa to go to the south or you will need a work permit before you can work in the northern Volta.”
According to the chairman of the commission, we are still one people in one country working together.
The Commission of Enquiry into the creation of new regions was in the Volta Region from January 15 to 20, 2018 to listen to the ordinary people whether they indeed supported the creation of the ‘Oti Region’; having met chiefs and petitioners from the northern Volta at the former seat of government, the Osu Castle.
The commission held public hearings at the Ho Technical University, Kete-Krachi Senior High School, Nkwanta South Municipal Assembly Hall, Kpassa Senior High Secondary Technical School Hall and the Nsuta-Buem Catholic Diocese Centre.
Naming of new region
Touching on the name of the new region and the siting of the regional capital, the Chairman of the Commission and one-time Chief Justice of The Gambia, Justice Brobbey, reiterated the point that “no decision has been taken on the regional capital, in other words, no city or town has been selected as the regional capital as of now.”
Explaining further, Justice Brobbey said, “no name has been given to the new region apart from what the petitioners want; the petitioners have the right to decide what name they want.”
The retired Supreme Court Judge stated that if people believed that the name should be ‘Volta North’ or ‘Volta East’ or ‘Volta West’, those who presented the petition said they wanted ‘Oti’ as the name. ‘Oti Region’ was the name before President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and that was the name that had been referred to the commission to work with, he said. Justice Brobbey also advised those against the use of the name ‘Oti’, as the new region, to submit a petition with their reasons to the commission. According to the chairman of the commission, for now, and until any other name is given to the commission, what is before it and what they are working with is ‘Oti Region’ and nothing more.
The Commission of Enquiry into the creation of new regions was set up after the Council of State had given approval to President Akufo-Addo, to establish a commission based on the Constitutional Instrument (C.I) No. 105, gazetted on Thursday, October 12, 2017.
Hearing of Petitioners
The commission was inaugurated on October 19, 2017 by President Akufo-Addo at the Flagstaff House. The Commission of Enquiry started its in-camera sittings on November 21, 2017; meeting all six petitioners from the four regions at the former seat of government, the Osu Castle.
These sittings were to afford the petitioners the opportunity to explain further why their demand for new regions should be considered. The commission then started public hearings from December 12 to 16, 2017 in the Western Region. The commission was in the Volta Region from January 15 to 20, 2018.