Regional News of 2014-05-26

Sefwiman declares 'no region, no vote 2016'

The Sefwiman Development Association (SMDA) is seeking to intensify its campaign to ensure that the Sefwi area achieve a regional status to speed up development.

According to the people of Sefwi, currently in the Western Region, their place of origin has been neglected for far too long with little or no development in the face of the rich-endowed natural resources in the area.

They said they don't mean just the present government caused the neglect but Sefwi has been neglected since the foundation of the state, (Ghana).

The people cannot understand why resources in the area are being exploited by successive governments to develop other parts of the country they deem politically safe and important and leave them at the mercy of poverty.

They have therefore declared, 'No Region..... No Vote' in the area come 2016 General Elections.

"Our forefathers fought with their blood to acquire this rich land so we can enjoy the benefits of their suffering but the opposite are the case.'' Opinion leaders in the area therefore think that by getting a regional capital some sort of attention would be given to Sefwi area.

According to Mr. Tony Tsina Addai, Leader of the Sefwiman Development Association (SMDA), the time has come and Sefwi is now awake to demand a fair deal from government, which is to attain a regional status to improve the standard of living for the people in Sefwi.

In an exclusive interview over the weekend, Mr. Tony Tsina Addai made a strong case, justifying why Sefwi must become a region of its own.

"When we say Sefwiman, we simply mean the three ethnic groups that speak one language, thus, the Sefwi language. These three ethnic groups are the Aowin /Brosa and finally Sefwi.

These ethnic groups have similar culture and beliefs and dwell alongside each other in the northern part of the Western Region of Ghana.

The three ethnic groups have nine big districts namely: Bibiani, Wiawso, Suaman, Juaboso, Enchi, Bodi, Akontombra, Bia West and Bia East all within and along each other as one area to be precise. This place is a huge area covered with everything that our nation Ghana is proud off today.

....Interestingly, this is the very area that serves as the Bloodline to mother Ghana but funny enough, it is the very area that has been neglected since the foundation of the state,'' the SMDA Leader disappointingly lamented.

He went on to add that as a native of Sefwiman from Bibiani and so proud to be one, the people from Sefwiman feel very sad and angry due to so much neglect in spite of all mineral resources such as Timber, Ivory, Cocoa, Coffee, Gold, Bauxite etc., which forms the highest of the country's GDP rate yet no show of development.

"There are no proper schools, hospitals, roads, shopping centres etc. This has affected the transportation of goods and services in the area. Also, since the area has seen little development, it doesn't attract investors to come and open businesses in an effort to create jobs which has resulted in high unemployment.

...There are also records of high death rates as a result of road accidents due to the nature of the bad roads and late transfers of the patients to properly equipped hospitals far from their various towns.

Travelling around other areas of Ghana, we see regions that have nothing not even one natural resource but they have all these facilities and are enjoying them at our expense and the obvious fact is one would not need to be told that we have been sidelined for far too long.''

Mr. Tony Addai further blamed successive governments for deepening the woes of Sefwiman.

"I can say successive governments have also failed Sefwiman because since independence, we have been bombarded with what I refer to as "Boys Quarters" schools which have no teaching materials and laboratories for students.

However, most of these students are offering Science. Can you just imagine? What will make these students pass their exams at the end? Oh you tell me. The idea is indirectly preventing the people of Sefwi to study so we cannot gain knowledge. Since knowledge is power, so the people of Sefwi will lack knowledge in other not to challenge government at any point in time. That is why better schools are not built so they can continue to deceive us until the end of the world.

As such we shall lack the ability to defend ourselves when the need arises so we can also be denied of our rights as equal citizens of our nation Ghana. One should not also forget that education is the key to success hmm sehwie. And also what I will term as "First Aid" hospitals because with even the few hospitals here, they are under-resourced, with no better equipment for treatment.

The patients are always transferred to hospitals in the cities like the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi etc. Also the hospitals here are limited to contain many of our sick ones which most often lead to loss of lives in broad day light.

The third one is "Feeder Roads" which I refer to as ''Help Me Push My Car,'' because these roads don't take long to be destroyed by erosion due to the lack of quality. These bad roads continue to affect the transfer of goods and services in the area. There by affecting our people's quality of life.

Even though every government know that there is the need for better roads, hospitals, schools etc in the area yet, they don't care so I will say successive governments have failed to develop Sefwiman,'' Mr. Tony Addai stated. On why the name of the region should be West North Region, Mr. Tony Addai, revealed that the name would be "WEST NORTH REGION" because, Sefwiman is situated at the Northern part of the Western Region.

He proposed that there should be better roads, hospitals, schools, jobs, shopping centres, among others to help improve the quality of life of their people. That is to say, jobs, hospitals, schools, roads should be restored in the area with the funds from their mineral resources being used to develop other areas at their expense which he said was not fair.

On attempts to get help from the powers of the seat of government in Accra, Mr. Tony Addai indicated that there has been many attempts made personally and also by other people to leaders of the land who are even Sefwi natives in government but to no avail to bring the needed change which which the people badly need.

He said he has spoken to several Mps within Sefwiman concerning the lack of development, yet there has not been just even a single polytechnic in the area let alone a university.

Meanwhile, their people are in every tertiary institution all around the country because we don't have any in their area. Also, the funny part is, the amount used to build all these proper schools elsewhere are taken from Sefwi land which is very, very unfair by Ghana government.

To Mr. Tony Addai, the only way Sefwi would be part of Ghana's development agenda is to get a regional capital where they can also have their own regional minister whom they can also channel their demands through towards the development of Sefwi.

"The idea of getting a regional capital within Sefwiman would be the best way to go. This is because, just with the recognition as a region with our regional capital chosen among our district capitals, it will start to attract investors immediately. As long as we live under Takoradi, I can assure you it will be very hard for the people of Sefwi to attain the level of development that we so much desire.

This is because, the level of development in districts are far below the regional level. Regional status shall be the best solution to attract more and more investors to come in and make the place more attractive to others. One will agree that the level of development in the Upper East and West after dividing formal Upper Region is unbelievable. It is the same way that Sefwi shall be if our proposal for a new region is approved as we hope for its approval by government because we deserve better than this in Sefwi.

I believe strongly that those who have made up their minds to invest elsewhere will now have a change of mind to invest back home. Those who have already even left to invest elsewhere will also begin to come home to invest since there is going to be a better opportunity coming up here in Sefwiman.

....When we go this way, we shall have good roads, hospitals, schools, good drinking water, shopping centres etc within our locality. There shall be more jobs to reduce the high unemployment level in the area.

It will also encourage our young ones to study hard because they will be assured of jobs after school. More so, we shall attract more investors coming in to invest here thereby creating more job opportunities for both the educated and uneducated class to help them cater for their families. Believe it or not, we think this initiative would go a long way to improve the poor living standards of our people.''

He went on to explain that the people in the whole of Sefwiman are eager for this change because they are really suffering due to the lack of infrastructure and social amenities.

"By the next 10 years, the people of Sefwiman would like to see many tertiary institutions like the polytechnics, universities, better senior high schools established in the area.

We want to see better roads, hospitals, drinking water system, shopping centres, better regional administration, improvement in tourism as we even have Bia National Park, Adjuofua Fish Century many more to attract more foreign people to pay visit so as to raise money for the area benefit and to the country at large.

We want to see a big capital city at least to boost businesses and more and more people feeling happy at home because home sweet home and there is no place like home. To make the people of our land feel proud of who they are and where they also come from. To establish museum to preserve our customs and traditions for others to come and visit what we also have thereby promoting the image of our people and the nation at large.

This will make the entire country feel proud of achieving a 11th region to expand job creations and improve tourism tourism for the nation as a whole.

Touching on the livelihoods of cocoa farmers in Sefwiman, Mr. Tony Tsina Addai, stated that the children of cocoa farmers are not benefiting from the Cocoa Scholarship since these scholarships have been given to already privileged children at the expense of the poor cocoa farmer.

"The Cocoa Scholarships should be given to children of the farmers but we have children of politicians and the well-endowed in the area feeding on the little contribution of the cocoa farmers at the expense of their poor children. We are therefore appealing into the government to take critical look into this issue of scholarships so the right people can be given instead those who don't deserve it.

Many of our people complain mostly about our leaders, but the fact is, these our leaders only operate on district levels so if we have a regional capital, I believe it will ease their pressure since regional administration has nothing to do mostly with DCEs, MPs or Chiefs so they can have their peace of mind at least. It will help to provide more jobs to our professionals who have no jobs for long time now.

....With the regional capital, we shall be closer to the government unlike the district capitals. Getting life better back home will help most of our people elsewhere to come back home and settle. By so doing it will reduce congestion in other big cities thereby evenly distributing people in the country which is also good for the government and the rest of the people in the country.

A lot of people shall come to Sefwi to work and settle so before you know, the entire area is developed to a better level. One should not forget that Takoradi, Kumasi, Accra etc. were not as developed as they are now until when they first gained recognition as regional capitals.

The same thing will happen here if government accepts our proposal and give us the opportunity to also develop our area as others. It will not only help the natives but rather help the entire country to move forward.

...I believe the state of Upper Regions in Ghana has changed as it was divided into Upper East and Upper West so would Sefwiman be if Western Region is divided to speed up development in the entire region as it happened in Upper Region some years ago. If government didn't think something like that would happen in the near future, it wouldn't have been entrenched in the constitution that government can create a new region when the need arises as in the case of Sefwiman now.

I believe if we achieve a full regional status all our problems won't be solved as any other big cities but will indeed reduce our burdens since our problems would be half-solved as compared to the situation now which is uncountable in the areas of health, education, roads, jobs, shopping centres etc, etc.

...On the way forward, a Facebook page has already been opened with the name "WEST NORTH REGION " which many are joining every day that we have already over 1400 people joining the page and interestingly the numbers keep climbing higher every single day. That shows how the people of Sefwiman are indeed tired and ready for change. 'Yemu Ye Boka Na Ye Pagya Oo Aliemaa'.

We say a big thank you to everyone expressing interest in this huge issue,'' Mr. Tsina Addai emphasised.

Source: William Beeko
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