Plans by the government to create new regions should not be seen as an ethnocentric move by the government, Issaka Amon Kotei, a local government expert, has said.
His call follows pressure group Concerned Volta Youth fierce rejection of moves by the Akufo-Addo-led government to split the Volta Region into two because, in its view, dividing the region would not ensure the needed development of the region.
Speaking in an interview with Chief Jerry Forson, host of Ghana Yensom, on Accra100.5FM on Monday January 16, Jean Claude Koku Amenyaglo, convener of the group, said: “If the decision to split the region is as a result of lack of access to the regional capital Ho by the districts, then the region needs good transportation systems like road and rail, just as the president has established the Ministry of Railway [Development] so that we will have easy access to our regional capital.
“Again, there are no statutory funds that government gives to every region for development, and so if there is no such statutory fund for the region, I don’t see the reason why we should think of dividing a region as small as the Volta Region.
“Thirdly, the only statutory funds for development are at the assembly level, so we were thinking that instead of the president dividing the region, he should rather focus on the respective MMDAs and empower them financially just as he promised the $1million per constituency for development and the One-District-One-Factory [policy]. That is what we need, not the splitting of the region.”
He added: “Regional demarcations come with a lot of responsibilities: we have to consider land size, we have also to consider the population. The Volta Region’s population is not a population that requires that we split the region.”
However, also speaking in an interview on the same show, Mr Amon Kotei said: “This is a constitutional provision, and there will be a referendum on the matter and so if you disagree you explain to the people why you disagree for them to either vote for or against it in the referendum.
“They (the group) shouldn’t see it as ethnic sentiment. If that is how they are seeing it then they have to stop it because it will not help all of us.”
He added: “If their call is a reasonable one that will not result in negatives consequences why not, they should be considered. But if they are reading ethnic sentiments into it, then they should stop.”
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