Augustine Collins Ntim
Augustine Collins Ntim, Member of Parliament for Offinso North, entered parliament in 2009 on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and is one of the unassuming Members of Parliament, yet very effective in his contributions on the floor of the House.
He is the deputy ranking member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health and has made several statements on the floor in connection with health issues.
He is fondly remembered for passionately making a statement on the occasion of the ‘Father’s Day’ celebration last year, with his colleague MPs applauding him for his incisive statement on celebrating fathers.
He entered into politics right from the scratch, contesting as an assembly member for the Eboma/Ankaase electoral area at Nkenkansu, his hometown, in the then Offinso district of the Ashanti Region in 2003. He won and became an assembly member for the area. According to him, the chief of Nkenkansu, Nana Asare Kusua and one Nana Agyeman saw the great leadership qualities in him and therefore encouraged him to become an assembly member, even though he was then teaching science at the T I Ahmadiyya Secondary School in Kumasi.
He graduated from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi where he studied reproductive biology. The leadership qualities in him instantly became manifest and after two years as an assembly member, he was appointed as the District Chief Executive for the Offinso. “During my almost four years in office as DCE, I gave practical meaning to the poverty alleviation concept by using the poverty fund to improve the standard of living of my people, particularly farmers,” he disclosed and indicated that he raised cocoa and palm oil seedlings and distributed them to farmers in 20 electoral areas in the district.
Mr Collins Ntim is also credited for ensuring that the Offinso district was divided into two administrative districts with the Offinso South district being elevated to a municipal status. “The split brought accelerated development to Offinso North where I continued to be the first DCE,” he said. He contested for the Offinso North seat and won with a margin of over 3,000 votes in 2009.”I was so accessible and had no difficulty in maintaining the seat for the NPP in 2009 after Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku had occupied it for three terms and exited,” he said.
In 2012, he was able to win the seat with less votes after the candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) had used his incumbency to close the gap to 640 votes by materially influencing many voters in the constituency.
Collins Ntim told DAILY GUIDE’s ‘Parliamentary Forum’ that he was trying to do his best to increase the votes again in favour of the NPP in the 2016 general elections. “My constituency is a difficult one because of its nearness to the Brong-Ahafo Region, with a lot of settlers from the Northern and Volta Regions; and these settlers have political sympathy for the NDC, our main opponents,” he confessed.
According to the Offinso North legislator, his main aim of becoming an MP was to help significantly address the issue of poverty in his area through the provision of education, health, potable water, improved human resource and mechanised agriculture.
When he was asked about what he had learnt about parliament since he became an MP, Mr Ntim told DAILY GUIDE that the longer one stays in parliament, the better he or she becomes, which has a direct bearing on his or her ability to lobby for projects to be brought to his or her constituency.”You become better and appreciate issues better as an MP, if you spend more time in parliament; and also develop better lobbying skills to help channel more resources and projects to your constituents,” he said.
The Offinso MP said that he believes parliament as an institution, is for legislation and representation and noted that the mentality of Ghanaian voters had been so much shaped that constituents expect MPs to initiate projects for them, asserting that it is important that MPs are well-resourced to be able to undertake various projects designed to meet the immediate needs of the people they represent and also bring social intervention initiatives to them.
“I personally think that until metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives are elected, the MPs’ involvement in social interventions is so crucial,” he noted, stressing further that some DCEs think because they are not elected, they are not answerable or accountable to the people but satisfy the whims and caprices of those who appointed them into office. The MP said that he is accountable to the people who elected him.”That is why MPs with their MPs’ fund – which is just about five
percent of the Common Fund – that comes to the assemblies, they are able to do so many projects from that as compared to what the DCEs are able to do,” he observed.
According to Mr Ntim, in the last six years that he had been an MP, the quantum of projects he had been able to initiate far outweigh what the current DCE had been able to do for the people.
“I visit my constituency regularly and make sure I account to my people on whatever goes on in parliament,” he told DAILY GUIDE’s ‘Parliamentary Forum’ claiming that education is his number one priority because according to him, that is the means by which extreme poverty could be tackled.
Touching on his achievements he revealed, ‘I have helped 10 communities to build KGs, establish junior high school at Asempanaye, renovated the Methodist JSS at Akomadan as well as the Presby JSS. I have built a six-unit teachers’ quarters at Akrofuom, established a senior high school at Nkenkaasu – which has been absorbed into the public education system. I have built a technical senior high school named after Wiafe Akenten and handed it over to the Presbyterian Educational Unit. I have also provided scholarship to about 1,600 needy but brilliant students.’
On health, he maintained that he had built a health centre at Nkwakwaa, provided surgical equipment to the district hospital, registered 1,500 vulnerable people with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in the constituency, facilitated the establishment of the National Training Centre of Paramedics for Ambulance and also organised eye screening for 4,000 people, with 100 of them having the privilege to undergo eye operations. In the area of agriculture, the Offinso North MP said that he had provided cutlasses, wellington boots, weedicides and fertilizers to farmers’ associations in the constituency.
Mr Augustine Collins Ntim is willing to do more for the constituency, with less than two years remaining for the next general elections to take place; and entreated the constituents to continue to support him.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr
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