Written by Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey .
You do not need the brain of a bishop to predict that the way Ghana was divided into regions, it is only a question of time for there to be a regeneration of the regions: Western Region was too big, Brong Ahafo was too large, Northern Region was just unwieldy and Volta Region was simply ungovernable.
Indeed, both the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and New Patriotic Party (NPP), in their election manifestoes for the 2016 general elections, categorically promised that if elected into power, they would create more regions.
To a large extent therefore, the advent of the creation of SIX additional regions is a very welcome development to our nation. Congrats, Nana Addo, for fulfilling this electoral promise.
But my beef for now is more on the issue of CAPITALS for the new regions.
For me, all this talk of creating new regions is because of the location of the administrative capitals. Look at the Western Region – capital at Sekondi. From places like Osei Kojokrom, Debiso, Asankragwa all the way down to Sekondi why? Can’t a new region be created for those in the North? Sefwi Wiawso is the new Capital – no argument.
Look at Ashanti Region – arguably the most highly and densely populated region, but there is no need to create another region out of Ashanti – you know why? KUMASI, the regional capital, is surrounded by all the districts – Offinso, Mampong in the North, Juaben, Kumawu in the East. Konongo in the South, Bekwai in South West, Obuasi in the West, Nkawie, Mankraso – Ashanti has a strategically well located capital.
Unlike Ho, the Volta Regional capital, located in the South. It takes a whole day to travel from Kete Krachie to Ho. So, if a new region is created for them to handle North Volta, called geographically, OTI Region, very well. But where should their capital be?
A very good friend came to see me. “Captain, we need your help. We want Kete Krachie to be the new regional capital of Oti Region.”
I told her “Madam, forget it. The best choice for capital is DAMBAI. It is central to all the constituent districts.”
“No, Captain. Jasikan is contending very seriously for the capital…”
“Don’t mind them. You know what, Madam, successive governments after Nkrumah have always wanted to create a North Volta Region, but because the stakeholders do not want HOHOE as the capital, they have always shelved that agenda. Now that it is becoming a reality, government will not make the mistake of taking the capital to either Kete Krachie in the far West, or Jasikan in the far South. I have no doubt in my mind that the capital will go to DAMBAI…”
According to history, in the days of yore, the Germans administered their colony through HOHOE, JASIKAN, KRACHIE and YENDI. When the British took over, they ceded off Yendi under the North, and Krachie, with vast land, broke off from the North, but refused to be under Ashanti.
For a very long time, Krachie District was arguably the biggest, or shall I say the LARGEST district in Ghana – until President Kufuor created Krachie East District, with its capital at Dambai. In fact, yours truly, then in the robes of Deputy Minister for Local Government, I was the Guest of Honour to declare that new district officially inaugurated.
I love Dambai, because it is CENTRAL to the OTI Region. In the North, we have Nkwanta North and South districts, to the West, across the river by pontoon, we have Krachie West and Krachie Nchummuru, and to the South, we have the Akan and Buem districts.
The communicators’ nightmare, hitherto, the burden of those in Northern Volta, has disappeared overnight with the selection of DAMBAI as the new region’s capital.
But the cost is PHENOMINAL. To be honest, even my hometown, JINJINI, is bigger in size and population than DAMBAI, but so what? West Germany built BONN as a capital from the scratch; Australia built CANBERRA as a capital from the scratch; the USA built a new capital and named it after their first president, General George Washington. Even closer home, General Murtala Mohammed built ABUJA from the scratch as the capital of a united Nigeria.
Against this background, President Akufo-Addo deserves praise for the bold decision to site the administrative capital of the OTI Region to DAMBAI – for the next ten years, DAMBAI will become the fastest growing metropolis in Ghana.
It is the investor’s dream: hotels, restaurants, guest houses, taxis, housing, and I can see twenty four hours non-stop pontoon services across the Volta.
Reader, I am a hotelier, and so the first time I went to Dambai, in 2001, en route to Krachie as Local Government Deputy Minister, I saw a small ridge over-looking the Volta, and the Dambai fishing village. I told myself this will be an excellent site for a five star runaway hotel for the rich to come by private plane to enjoy life. Anytime since then, when I go to Dambai, I will eyeball – visit my small hill, saying, tomorrow, tomorrow, and now, Dambai is a regional capital. I am sure by now the hill has been sold off…
But, one more thing, Nana Addo, if you are reading me, well done for creating six additional regions, but don’t stop there. If you have killed a snake, then CUT OFF the head!!!
Why should you carry the burden of looking for competent people to appoint as district chief executives (DCEs) and regional ministers? Why should you delegate this function to some party top guru to do it for you?
WHY NOT ALLOW THE PEOPLE TO ELECT THEIR OWN ADMINISTRATORS? They will stop bothering you with requests for boreholes, health posts, fixing of roads, schools under trees – they will redirect all their complaints on their own elected DCE! You will then have more time for macro economics, foreign affairs and national defence.
Well, well, well, Ghana is on course. Nana Addo has given us six additional regions, and pretty soon, we will be electing our own DCEs…ho la la! Ghana is on course. To God be the Glory.