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Creation Of New Regions: Akufo Addo Unveils C’ssion Of Enquiry

Published in politics Friday, 20 October 2017 08:14

 By Frank Amponsah

 President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has inaugurated a nine-member commission ofenquiry to consider petitions about the need for the demand for creation of new regions and the alteration of regional boundaries.

 

The Committee is also tasked with the mandate to see to the possible alteration of Western, Brong Ahafo, Northern and Volta Regional boundaries.

The Members of the Commission are: Justice S. Alan Brobbey, a retired Chief Justice, Dr Grace Bediako, former Government Statistician, Maulvi Mohammed Bin-Salih AMEER, Missionary-in-charge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission in Ghana, Professor Kwasi Kwafo Adarkwa, former Vice Chancellor of KNUST, and Mr. Robert Ajene, a retired Director of Education.

The rest are Ms Gladys Gillian Naadu Tetteh, a Local Government Expert, Dr David Wellington Essaw, a Senior Research Fellow, University of Cape Coast, Ms. Josephine Hughes, a legal practitioner and Prof. George Owusu, Director, Centre for Urban Management Studies, University of Ghana.

Nana Akufio-Addo at the inauguration said the demand for re-organization and creation of new regions has been strongly expressed in four regions including; Western, Brong Ahafo, Northern and Volta and that “through several years of my interactions with the Ghanaian people, it has become clear to me that one of the most fundamental demands of our people is, naturally, to live in a thriving economy, which provides opportunities for all. The desire has found expression.”

He said that steps are being taken by government to entrust important responsibilities on all the actors in this area, and that “we are pioneers in a new aspect of our constitutional governance, and, like all worthy pioneers, we are required to chart a good course that will guide future generations in.”

President Akufo Addo noted that one of the issues that came to the fore during his discussions at the meeting he held at Flagstaff House with the three former Presidents of the Republic; Jerry John Rawlings, John Agyekum Kufuor and John Dramani Mahama, was the substantial demands for the creation of new regions.

He however urged the Commission to make recommendations to the President based on its findings on the creation of a region or alteration of regional boundaries.

Members of this Committee are also tasked to specify the issues to be determined by referendum and the places where the referendum should be held, where it makes recommendations for the creation of new regions and alteration of regional boundaries.

“The issue he was discussed at length and it was evident that all the past Governments had also been seized with the matter over the years. Since I assumed office, many traditional authorities, civil society organizations, and responsible citizens have all also voiced their support for the creation of new regions,” he said.

President Akufo Addo also explained that the quest for the creation of new regions is purely demand driven and that he received petitions from the Chiefs and peoples of the proposed Regions to that effect.

“During my recent visits with the Chiefs and peoples of Western and Northern Regions, I reiterated that the success or otherwise of the creation of proposed new Regions rests squarely on the inhabitants of the areas who have submitted petitions and made demands,” he averred and quoted Article 5 (2) of the Constitution and mentioned that the article stipulates that “if the President, upon a petition being presented to him and, on the advice of the Council of State, is satisfied that there is substantial demand for (a) the creation of a new region; (b) the alteration of the boundaries of a region, whether or not the alteration involves the creation of a new region; or (c) the merger of any two or more regions; he shall, acting in accordance with the advice of the Council of State, appoint a commission of inquiry to inquire into the demand and to make recommendations on all the factors involved in the creation, alteration or merger.”

He challenged the people of Ghana to ignore information or speculation being circulated on the alleged demarcation, naming or sitting of regional capitals, adding that there have not been any predetermined regional boundaries, neither has there been specific names given to any region to be created.

“These are matters that are, properly, within the remit of the Commission, and will be dealt by them, and form part of their recommendations,” the President said.

He mentioned that the clamour for reorganisation of administrative regions has long, historical antecedents and that in 1902, the then Gold Coast consisted of three Administrative Divisions, namely, Ashanti Protectorate, Gold Coast Crown Colony and Northern Territories when at Independence in 1957, the number had increased to five Administrative Regions, namely, Northern, Ashanti, Eastern, Western and Trans-Volta Togoland.

“By 1983, the number of Administrative Regions had doubled to 10, which has since been the status quo.

In recent times, however, that clamour has, again, resurfaced and intensified. There exists significant evidence that the demands for the creation of new regions were not made to me alone, but also to other political leaders. It is instructive to note that, in the course of the 2016 campaign of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the main opposition party, the party pledged to facilitate the creation of five new regions, had the Party been successful at the 2016 elections.” He said.

He also said the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in its 2016 campaign also pledged to facilitate the creation of four regions which clearly demonstrates that there is a meeting of minds of the two major parties on the need for the creation of new administrative regions.

The President also pointed out that the Members of the Commission of Inquiry have been carefully selected, based on their diverse backgrounds and experiences that relate to the issue and has no doubt that they will execute the constitutional duty to the very best of their abilities, and “I am fully convinced that they would rise to the occasion, and exhibit professionalism in the discharge of their duties,” he said.

The President said, “It is, therefore, my hope that the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies that are mandated to carry out specific functions in relation to regional reorganisation and development, especially the National Commission for Civic Education and the Electoral Commission, would collaborate effectively with the Commission to enable it complete its assignment expeditiously.”

 

 

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