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Opinions Thu, 14 Apr 2011

A Call for The Development Of Eastern Region

The eastern region, the third most populous region after the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions though very rich in both human and natural resources has seen and continues to see little development from both previous and present governments. In terms of resources the region is not only endowed with fertile lands for farming activities but also has very important minerals such as gold, diamond, bauxite among others. Also in the region are very important rivers like the Volta River from which the bulk of the country’s electricity is derived from, the famous Birim River which is not only the only source of Ghana’s diamond but also has considerable amount of gold deposits, the Densu and Ayensu rivers among others.

In terms of tourism there could not have been any better tourist destination than the eastern region. The region has the all famous Aburi Botanical Gardens and the Bunso Aboretum also a botanical garden , Tetteh Quarshie’s first cocoa farm at Mampong, Atiwa butterfly sanctuary believed to contain over 200 species of butterflies, a number of beautiful waterfalls including the popular Boti falls, Begoro falls, Tini falls among several others.In terms of historical sites, there is the ancient Ofori Panin Fie or the Okyenhene’s palace, where there is 350years old war regalia first used by King Kuntunkunuku I at display among other royal relics, the golden sword used by King Osei Tutu I is also at a the Bresaa shrine 5km from Kyebi. All these and many more can be found in the eastern region. Festivals in the region such as the Odwira, Ohum, Akwantukese, Kwahu easter among others cannot be overlooked. Historically, this region played a very important role in the drive towards independence with notable personalities such as J.B.Danqauah, the doyen of Ghanaian politics, Ako Adjei, William Ofori Atta, and Edward Akufo Addo who later became president, all from the famous big six, and the celebrated powerful Okyenhene, Nana Sir Ofori-Atta I (the first African traditional ruler to be knighted at Buckingham Palace) came from the Eastern Region. This region originally home to Akyems, Akwamus, Akuapems, Kwahus, Anums and Krobos, today is the most diverse of all the regions in Ghana in terms of representation of ethnic groupings in the country. Again, the eastern region is home to ancient powerful kingdoms such as Akyem Abuakwa and Akwamu, such that in contemporary Ghana, the king of Akyem Abuakwa, the Okyenhene is the second most powerful king in the country.

Though the region can boast of all these, the region has witnessed very little physical infrastructural development over the years .Even though it has a very large number of agreeable good senior high schools, there is no public university in the region. Road infrastructure is nothing to write home about though the government makes a lot of economic gains from the region, trunk roads such as the Suhum –Asamankese, Asamankese-Akwatia, Koforidua –Bunso junction and several others have all deteriorated over the years with little or no repairs. Mining and agriculture are the predominant economic activities in the region. The region has seen little industrial development or plans for industrial development .What is more, the only diamond mining industry in the region and the country as a whole had collapsed over the years whilst various governments had only paid lip service to revive or better still divest the once thriving diamond mining industry.

Despite these developmental challenges it seems the government of the day has no developmental plans drawn for the region as it has done for the always perceived poor regions of the country. The establishment of a regional development fund, an international airport and a public university as its being done for some regions as well as a state of the art sports stadium for the eastern region could not have come at any better time than now. I would end this piece by passionately calling on the traditional authorities in the region including the Okyenhene, the Okuapehene, Kwahuhene, and Akwamuhene among others, citizens of the region as well as other stakeholders in the region to unite and fight for the development of the region.

By Kwaku Yeboah, E-mail:kwakuyeboah09@gmail.com

Columnist: Yeboah, Kwaku