General News of 2014-05-02

Northerners in gov’t have failed the north – Prof. Karikari

Former Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Professor Kwame Karikari, has said northerners in the Mahama administration appear to be failing the people of the north.

He has therefore admonished the current crop of northerners in government to show more commitment to ensure the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) programme designed to bridge the gap between the impoverished north and the rich south works.

Prof. Karikari was speaking at the 10th ‘Kronti ne Akwamu’ Lecture in Accra.

In an interview on Eyewitness News on Thursday, he indicated that public and political officials from the three northern regions in Ghana must be “more concerned that what belongs to them is delivered to them.”

He observed that “this is the first time in a long time where we have crop of people from the north who are perhaps the most influential in decision making in government” and advised them to make good use of their positions.

He dismissed the assertion that when much attention is paid to the development of the north, southerners would complain of neglect.

“The rationale for the special programme for the north is simply that…colonial policies deliberately made sure the north was under developed so that it could produce just labourers for the south.

The discrepancies between whatever level of development there is in this country between the north and the south are still very huge…so there is a justification of development for the north so that there is a certain parity,” he explained.

Assessing the activities of SADA four years after its establishment, Prof Karikari pointed out that the current media reports on the Authority is indicates “there are some major problems somewhere. It appears that the project is not going anywhere or the people who have been put in charge are not seriously responding to the objectives of the SADA programme.”

He, therefore, counseled the new board members of SADA appointed by President John Mahama not to waste time on “what wrongs have been committed. That shouldn’t be their focus” and neither should they concentrate on the personal benefits they will derive from their positions.

“They should get down and plan and ensure that the project succeeds,” he added. SADA is an independent Authority set up to coordinating a comprehensive development agenda for the northern savannah ecological zone in Ghana.

Its main objective is to promote sustainable development using the notion of a forested and green north to catalyze climate change reversal and improve livelihoods of the most vulnerable citizens in the area.

Although in recent times there have been reports of financial malfeasance by some of its top management officials, government is taking steps to restructure the Authority to ensure the effective execution of its core mandates.