General News of Monday, 6 February 2017
A group calling itself the Western Region New Patriotic Party (NPP) Zongo for Change has declared its solidarity with the Minister designate for Gender and Social Protection, Madam Otiko Afisa Djaba, insisting that she has no apologies to render to former President John Mahama.
Rather, the group, mainly the youth, maintained that Mr Mahama ought to render an unqualified apology to the entire people in the north for what they described as “disappointing and failing northerners” in respect of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA).
Taking her turn at the ministerial vetting before the parliamentary vetting committee, a couple of days ago, Madam Djaba was questioned on her description of former president Mahama as “wicked and an embarrassment” due to his inability to develop the three northern regions, where he came from, using SADA funds.
However, addressing a press conference at Sekondi Zongo in the Western Region last Thursday, the NPP Zongo for Change indicated that while all the National Democratic Congress (NDC) followers were criticising Hon. Otiko for that statement, none of them was from the northern sector to experience the underdevelopment of the area.
“If indeed you are from those parts of the country and your people are coming to the southern sector to earn their livelihood as Kayayie, even when they are underage and should have been in school, then you must bow your head in shame,” the group argued.
GH¢200 million SADA money
The group recalled that the government, through the Ministry of Finance, raised GH¢200 million SADA money in July 2012, through a three-year bond for purely infrastructural purposes.
Around the same time, the government organised a donor’s conference at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) in Accra to solicit for financial support from the development partners for the authority, to augment what had been domestically advanced to SADA.
The Vice Chairman of the Western Region NPP Zongo for Change, Mr Umar Nasama Hamza, who addressed the press, added that most of the young people from the north who should have rather been in the classrooms were roaming on the streets and engaged in menial jobs in various parts of the southern sector.
“So we all stand by Hon. Otiko for what she said and calling on ex-President John Mahama to apologise to us, the northerners, for the disappointment and failure,” they further insisted.
Mr Hamza pointed out that when funds were made available to eradicate poverty in the northern part of Ghana, the money was misused.
The vice chairman again recalled that “SADA was formed under the late President J.E.A. Mills, who was from the southern sector, and that the organisation collapsed during the tenure of ex-President Mahama, who happens to be a northerner.”
He added that the former president should have owned SADA himself to bring development to the north.
“For what reason should Hon. Otiko apologise when she has spoken the truth. It is unacceptable and we support her to the point that John Mahama has failed us and ought to apologise to northerners,” the group further maintained.
Confidence in NPP
They expressed the hope that the NPP government, led by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, would reverse the trend of the economic downturn of the country and ensure that the three regions of the north got their due share of national development.