BONABOTO-UK Chairman Advises Northern Ghanaians
The Chairman of BONABOTO-UK, Dr Herbert Bukari has called on all Northern Ghanaians not to allow themselves to be unduly influenced by politicians during the December 2008 elections in Ghana. He said all northerners should vote for the party that has a demonstrable record of development in Northern Ghana.
BONABOTO, an acronym that stands for Bolgatanga, Nangodi, Bongo and Tongo, is a union of citizens who hail from the Bolgatanga, Bongo and Talensi-Nabdam districts of the Upper East of Ghana in West Africa.
Speaking at a packed dinner dance on the occasion of BONABOTO-UK’s 10th Anniversary celebrations in South London on 12 July 2008, Dr Bukari urged all political parties to include in their manifestos a 10 year development plan as blue print for which they will be accountable to the people of Northern Ghana if they are elected into Government. He told the packed audience of members of BONABOTO-UK and other Ghanaians who dressed in various northern Ghanaian costumes that gone are the days of empty promises made by politicians to get elected. The dinner dance was in aid of acquiring computers for schools in the BONABOTO area.
The National BONABOTO Chairman Ing Matthew Adombire who travelled from Ghana to grace the occasion told the gathering that BONABOTO was grateful to the Government of Ghana for the establishment of the Northern Development Fund. Ing Adombire said BONABOTO has written to the Government to pledge its willingness to be part of any committee set up to administer the fund. He however emphasised that the Development Fund should specifically be for the northern Ghana (Northern Region, Upper East Region and Upper West Region) and not the north of Ghana that include Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo regions.
Mr Charles Abugre, a BONABOTO member, an Economist and Head of Policy and Advocacy with Christian Aid, in his key note address, regretted the long perpetuated north south divide in Ghana. He said Ghana cannot attain its Millennium Development Goals or its Middle Level Income status by 2020 if deliberate government policies are not put in motion to bridge the inequality gap that has existed over 50 years between the northern and southern parts of the country.
The Deputy High Commissioner Mr Kwasi Quartey in the company of his wife Mrs Quartey, who stood in for the Ghana High Commissioner to the UK, in his address, acknowledged that the ever widening inequalities gap between Northern and Southern Ghana is unacceptable and that urgent positive actions are needed to address the imbalance that successive governments after the first republic have acknowledged exists but have done little to address the situation. In addition Mr Quartey, who enjoyed the famous northern Ghanaian “Saabo” (TZ) meal served at the function, told the packed audience that research by the Government and International NGOs’ indicate that Northern Ghana with its vast land mass could be turned into the food basket of the country.
Mr Simon Hughes MP for North Southwark in London and President of the Liberal Democrats Party who also attended the function said the UK Government was aware of the poverty and the inequalities existing in Ghana between the North and South and pledged to visit Northern Ghana to see things for himself during his second visit to the country in August and would advise the UK Government about his experiences on his return.
The Mayoress of the London Borough of Southwark, Her Worshipful Eliza Mann was pleased with her invitation to the function and said that Southwark was home to a diverse community of migrants. She was particularly happy with the contributions of Africans and Ghanaians, in particular, to the vibrancy of Southwark and said that the borough would continue to provide a welcoming environment to all the communities living there.
Invited guests were treated to exotic northern Ghanaian dishes and spectacular cultural display of Frafra traditional drumming and dancing by BONABOTO-UK members led by Lenius Ataara who had come from Finland to join in the celebrations (visit www.ghana-net.com to view some of the pictures of the event).
A number of sponsors helped in making the function successful and BONABOTO-UK is particularly grateful to the contributions made by British Airways, OBE TV, WBLS, Radio, Kasapa Radio, Hot FM Radio, and Rainbow Radio. Others are Airtours, Ghana International Airlines, Ghana Union and Kasena-Nankani Union. Our special thanks go to the over 20 other Ghanaian community organisations in the UK who were represented and made donations.
We will soon publish the full speeches of the two key note speakers.
David Atugiya Secretary, BONABOTO-UK