General News of Friday, 28 December 2018
The Minister for Regional Reorganisation, Dan Botwe says government is happy with the success of the just ended Referendum on the creation of six new regions.
This joy, for him, is not exactly about the creation of new regions but the government’s ability to follow through with constitutional requirements, seeing to it that the people’s wish is granted.
“The issue is not the YES or NO. For us, following the constitutional process, creating the necessary platform and linkages and working together with all stakeholders until this stage…that is what we are satisfied with. It is not whether people voted ‘YES’ or ‘NO’.”
“It is the fact that we followed the constitutional process diligently and created the necessary platform for everybody and they were able to vote and express themselves.”
“That is what we were looking for, so the success on the part of government is not that everybody voted YES, but the fact that we were able to complete the processes using the constitutional requirement,” he added.
The Referendum on the creation of the six new regions – Oti, Bono East, Savannah, Ahafo, Western North and North East – ended on Thursday with a massive endorsement.
Turnout in almost all the regions was above the required 50 percent stipulated in the Constitution with many exceeding the required 80 percent YES votes.
Technically, these new regions have been created but Parliament will need to endorse it before their creation can come into effect.
Mr. Botwe says the outcome is beyond any political party.
He said the chiefs and people who called for the creation of the new regions have had their wish granted and the decision on regional ministers will also be arrived at peacefully.
The push for the creation of the new regions was driven by identified inequalities and development gaps established by the Justice Brobbey Presidential Commission and a Local Governance Expert, expects the new regions to get the needed development they require.
George Kyei Baffour says the outcome of the Referendum is telling in the people’s desire to be at the centre of the action, a situation which could not have occurred if the new regions were not created.
“Look at the Western region, where Sekondi-Takoradi is and its proximity to those at the north of the region. Look at the Northern region, the vastness and the size of the region. The distance from Tamale to the other areas, it didn’t promote cohesion [and] development.
“When it comes to development you need to have a centre of gravity. The newly created regions are going to have regional headquarters which will eventually develop into growth centres which would have infrastructure that will be accessible to people who want to do investment and all kinds of transactions as far as governmental issues are concerned,” he said.
He is confident that the government will be enjoined by the outcome of the Referendum to open up the regions to justify the reasons for the massive votes.