Scramble for new regional capitals begins
An intense ‘fight’ appears to be ensuing in the newly created regions over the siting of the regional capitals following the just-ended referenda which many have described as ‘successful.’
Currently, residents of the Western North carved out of the Western Region; Ahafo and Bono East, both carved out of the Brong Ahafo Region; Oti created out of the Volta Region as well as the North-East and Savannah carved out of the Northern Region, are all lobbying intensely to get their towns as regional capitals.
It is turning out that after uniting to rally their people to campaign massively for a ‘Yes’ vote for the new regions, the respective chiefs and traditional leaders are the ones leading the lobbying.
From Sefwi Wiawso in the Western Region, Emmanuel Opoku reports that some residents of Sefwi Wiawso and Bibiani have started lobbying for the capital to be sited in their respective towns.
Those in Bibiani claim the town is the centre of the new region and would be easily accessible to all the people in Western North.
“Traveling from the rest of the eight districts to Bibiani is not difficult, and this is a fact nobody can dispute,” one of the lobbyists from Bibiani asserted.
However, some residents in the Sefwi Wiawso Municipality are insisting that the area is primed for the regional capital.
According to them, the municipality has the requisite infrastructure to host the capital of the new region.
Western Regional Minister, Dr. Kwaku Afriyie, indicated later that even though discussions had been held over the siting of the regional capital, he was not in the position to declare it now.
Coordinator of the Western North Secretariat, Lt. Col. Anthony Aduhene (Rtd), remarked that “we are happy that at long last, we have our own region and hoping for accelerated development.”
“We intend to call for a meeting of the chiefs and all stakeholders to discuss where the regional capital should be sited,” he added.
The people in the proposed new region overwhelmingly endorsed the creation of the new Western North Region, as 99.52 per cent of the electorate, who participated in the referendum, voted ‘Yes’ in support of the creation of the Western North Region.
From Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region, Daniel Y. Dayee writes that residents of both the newly created Bono East and Ahafo regions are ‘fighting’ to get their towns to be made regional capitals.
In Ahafo, big towns like Goaso in the Asunafo North Municipality, Bechem in the Tano South Municipality and Hwidiem in the Asutifi South Municipality, all want to host the regional capital.
For Bono East, Techiman in the Techiman Municipality, Kintampo in the Kintampo Municipality, as well as Atebubu in the Atebubu Amantin Municipality, are in a tussle for the regional capital. It appears Techiman may have the advantage due to the level of infrastructure for the take off of the new region.
From the Volta Region, Fred Duodu reports that there is intense lobbying in the newly created Oti Region for the regional capital.
Big towns like Nkwanta, Jasikan, Kadjebi, Krachi and Dambai are all clamouring for the regional capitals, and the powerful chiefs in the respective areas are not leaving any stone unturned.
In the newly created Savannah Region, Eric Kombat reports from Tamale that it appears to be a straight fight between Damongo and Salaga.
DAILY GUIDE understands that the Yagbonwura, who is the overlord of Gonjaland, reportedly made a personal request to the government to site the capital in Damongo, the traditional capital.
In the case of North-East Region, it appears to be a straight ‘fight’ between three prominent towns – Walewale, Nalerigu and Gambaga.
However, the Nayiri, who is the Paramount Chief of Mamprugu Traditional Area and President of the Northern Regional House of Chiefs, Naa Bohagu Mahami Shirega, is on record to have called on government to select Nalerigu as the regional capital.
According to him, the request for the capital to be sited in Nalerigu started when he petitioned the presidency for a new region.
“This is Mamprugu and every chief in Mamprugu has a place of residence in Nalerigu and so there’s no suitable place than Nalerigu,” he added.
He indicated that siting of the capital of the North-East Region in Nalerigu would bring development to the area and create jobs for the youth and good people of the area.
The Nayiri called on investors to explore the potentials in the area to help develop the North-East Region and the country as a whole.
“We have investment potentials; limestone for cement, vast lands for agriculture purposes and tourism as well.”