FORUM HELD ON PEACE IN 3 NORTHERN REGIONS
Story: Edward Turkson
Participants in a forum for peace in the three northern regions have entreated the government to draw a clear cut policy on the specific use to which the proposed Northern Ghana Development Fund (NGDF) will be put.
They said without such information, it would be very difficult for anyone to tell whether the money for the fund was a reasonable seed money or not.
The forum was organized in Accra by the Africa Peace Building Club (APBC), a non-governmental organization, as part of the efforts to discuss peace and development issues in the three regions.
It was attended by a host of statement and the youth from the area residents in Accra.
The participants also urged the government to double it peace building capacity to ensure that the GH¢ 250 Million seed money was properly utilized in the transformation process of those regions.
They also urged the government to declare the northern part of Ghana a special economic zone with incentives to attract investment to the area.
The People’s National Convention (PNC) parliamentary candidate for Nabdam Constituency, Dr. Sontim Tobiga, said successive governments, after the military coup in 1966, had neglected the development of northern Ghana for almost 40 years.
That, he said, had resulted in the widening of government gap between the northern and southern Ghana at a faster rate.
He said the three regions snapped into violence mainly because of poverty in the region, noting that statistics shows that nine out of 10 people in the Upper East Region; eight out of 10 people in the Upper West Region and seven out of 10 people in the Northern Region were poor.
“It should be emphasized here and now that a comprehensive development of the northern parts of Ghana has a great potential to expand and accelerate the development of the entire Ghanaian economy,” he stated.
A former Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr. Gyeshika Agambila, advised leaders in the three regions to positively harness the energy of the youth for peace and the betterment of the society.
He said the youth who fought in the recent clashes in Bawku did so on behalf of their elders. “The youth fight because their elders have asked them to; and if their elders have not asked them, then they fight because their elders have failed to build peace,” he said.
He advised the youth to contribute to peace-building by learning to speak a language other than their own, have friends from other tribes and travel to other parts of the country.
The former Chief Advisor to the Governor of Bank of Ghana, Dr. A O Abudu, said it was evidence that current administrative circumstances did not permit adequate and effective consultation and co-ordination among people and authorities within the three regions to resolve their own common problems.
The Executive Director of APBC, Mr. Salam Ramani, appealed to all citizens of the three regions and Ghanaian in general to always take their time to scrutinize the electioneering of the flag bearers and their parliamentary candidates before they cast their votes.
“This will enable us to support politicians who have good messages and programmes for the socio-economic development of the three northern regions and Ghana at large,” he stated.
He advised politicians not to consider the northern region as a vote harvest area to achieve their selfish aims and urged them to be careful with their campaign messages as they traveled throughout the country soliciting votes.
Daily Graphic page 32 Monday, May 26, 2008