The Bolgatanga, Nangodi, Bongo and Tongo (BONABOTO) association at the end of its sixth congress held in Bolgatanga, has issued a 12-point communiquÃƒÂ© calling for the bridging of the gap between the north and south of the country.
The CommuniquÃƒÂ©, which was signed by the Public Relations Officer of BONABOTO, Mr Edward Adimazoya, expressed concern about the lack of political commitment for the growth of the University for Development Studies (UDS) and called on government to show more commitment.
It also deplored the perennial closure and delay of re-opening of second cycle institutions in northern regions due to the delay in the release of school feeding grants, hence denying the students contact hours and study time.
The communiquÃƒÂ© called on the authorities in charge to prevent such occurrences in future since the situation was seriously hampering the progress of students.
It expressed concern about the relatively poor state of Bolgatanga as a regional capital especially in the area of infrastructure, including poor access roads, poor educational facilities and the lack of model public basic schools, inadequate health facilities and personnel, poor drainage and sanitation, poor sports facilities and the deplorable condition of roads in the Bongo and Talensi-Nadam Districts.
The communiquÃƒÂ© also called for the standard pricing of cement just like in the case of petroleum, cigarettes, and beer, so as to alleviate the difficulties in addressing natural hazards such as the collapsing of houses and infrastructure facilities in the north during rainy seasons.
It observed also with concern the deliberate inclusion of the Ashanti and the Brong-Ahafo Regions as parts of the north, especially in terms of sharing and allocation of resources when it was a known fact that these other regions were not part of northern Ghana.
“We consider such manoeuvre as attempts to re-demarcate administrative regions. Such deliberate distortions further deny and disenfranchise the already disadvantaged peoples of the northern Ghana and continue to perpetuate the growing developmental gap between northern and southern Ghana,Ã¢â‚¬Â the CommuniquÃƒÂ© stressed.
The communiquÃƒÂ© also called for affirmative action in the appointment personnel of institutions such as the police, nursing, teacher training colleges, and other professional institutions in the country without discrimination.
“In fairness and in the interest of affirmative action, greater inclusiveness and equity, we entreat appointing authorities to ensure that appointments to key positions include the BONABOTO areas,” the CommuniquÃƒÂ© emphasized.
BONABOTO, the communiquÃƒÂ© noted, anticipated an institutionalised role for itself in the implementation of the Northern Development Initiatives (NDI) within its catchments and is already preparing itself to play that role. It also urged other likeminded people to equally do so.
It noted that the BONABOTO development initiative goal of a “Forested North” would be a mirage without the strategic involvement of various stakeholders including communities, traditional authorities, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies.
The communiquÃƒÂ© expressed disappointment at the failure of political leaders from the North to speak out with one voice on issues adversely affecting the area and refusing to involve BONABOTO in dealing with issues in the area.
It said the association had tasked itself to develop a 5-year Strategic Plan to achieve its goals.
The congress elected executive members of the association which saw the entire past executive retaining their positions with the exception of, Mr William Apoya, who was elected Secretary for the next two years.
Those who retained their positions are Mr Mathew Adombire, National President, Mr Lance Adogba, National Vice President, Ms Janet Abugre, National Organizing Secretary.
The rest are Mr Charles Mambukya, National Treasurer, Mr. Simon Adatare, National Vice Treasurer and Mr. Edward Adimazoya, National Public Relations Officer.
The Congress, which was well attended, attracted BONABOTO citizens from all the regions in the country and others from outside the country.
BONABOTO has branches in North America and the United Kingdom, among other foreign countries.
The National President congratulated those organisations that contributed to the success of the congress, especially Accra Breweries Limited.