Excuse me....SADA is a National Project and Not a “Northern” Project
Well, that is the case if you read the various manifestos (which I will call policy statements) by our representative parties. Nowhere in the policy statements of the main parties is the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), (other parties had different proposal names such as, Northern Development Fund (NDF) by NPP) is categorised as the Northern project. But some politicians and the media and reporters have got it wrong with their “Northern tag”.
According MOFA, SADA is an independent agency for coordinating a comprehensive development agenda for the northern savannah ecological zone in Ghana. The area comprises the three Northern regions of Ghana namely, Upper East, Upper West and the Northern Region, and stretches to include districts contiguous to the Northern region that are located North of Brong-Ahafo and north of the Volta region. SADA Board is made up of several persons, and may not be majority ‘Northern’.
“The authority [SADA] which is chaired by people from the Northern extraction, investigations have shown, has failed woefully in an attempt to execute its mandate, with the authority initiating wrong projects for the area” (General News of Tuesday, 22 April 2014 Source: Today Newspaper). Statements such as this churn my tummy in disgust. Is it the ‘Northern extraction’ that made SADA ‘failed’ or other factors which the paper and the commentator have gloss over?
According to the Director of Operations of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Nana Ofori-Owusu “Ghanaians are silent about SADA because the problem is thought to be a regional one and not a national problem, they [Ghanaians] would have been calling for the removal of the head if the problem was taught to be a national one,”. Excuse me!! The politics and the media have it grossly wrong. And it is be wielding that a national party official, just like a national media organisation (Joy FM and others) will all get it wrong due to partial obscure interest.
Without doubt SADA is a national project well intentioned to provide succour to some areas in Ghana which have been neglected since independence. On July 22, 2009 GNA reported that Dr Sulley Gariba, then Development Policy Advisor at the Office of the Vice President Mahama, said “SADA would fast track projects, which under normal circumstances would have taken a long period to execute. For instance the gap in the provision of good roads between the North and the South, which would have taken 80 years to bridge, could be possible in 10 years under SADA”. Dr Gariba was chronicling one of the national enthusiasms about the achievement expected of SADA. The failure, therefore, has everything to do with the management, and nothing to do with sinister ‘Northern tag’. To rub more sand into my soaked-gary, one funny accolade sheepish self-aggrandised individual’s make of themselves is ‘a proud son of the North’. Well, who is a proud ‘son of the South? Have you ever heard anyone of your ilk make such derogatory self-pleasing but defective accolade of themselves, except you the inadequate defecating ‘son of the north’?
Every politician in Ghana is aware of the North-South developmental divide. Politics in Ghana is not the natural home of high-minded probity. It is an industry engaged in by good people with fierce mind to crush poverty, noose corruption and hang it, and provide development to every person anywhere. It is equally true that those who want quick bucks, and have the loudest slogans are able to get into our political systems and build a career based on daily deception, on a constant pea and thimble shuffle with the truth. These later group of people are part of those I want to address in this my write up.
Why then have they tagged SADA with the Northern collar, and a spirited debate shinning the light less on the failures and fraud (as per Audit Report) but the heat of the light on everything Northern?
Whiles the Audit report is a recommendation that some wrongs, mistakes, fraud and outright theft might have taken place, the discussions in the media have shifted awkwardly to Northern elite and personalities, name calling, and the rendezvous of more political deception by party loyalists, party members and party sympathisers. I have trolled the comments made by 60 people on Ghanaweb, and Modern Ghana fora. Almost 90% of these pseudonym quasi-named people have, in other posts, listed their interest and affiliation to one particular party. Their comments on various posts are tribalistic, sectional, regional and if they were in a different skin we will have added racists.
My suggestion is I will want the media to redirect the discussion to focus on the mistakes and the proposed fraud the audit have uncovered about SADA. By doing so they will enable the Government to account for the stewardship the poor voters have trusted on them. The alternate government in-waiting will then have the opportunity to tell us all why their plans about national development including the three Northern regions would have been better.
Name-calling wouldn’t move my vote anymore towards those with the loudest slogans; neither will deception and un-costed policy promises. We need to see pragmatic policies that will make my dear mother, without any formal education in economics, appreciate that Ghanaian politicians can do more than digging boreholes for water when their contemporaries in other nations have gone beyond piping clean water to their constituents. Shame, she will make me feel, whenever she retorts ‘why is the district assembly bringing water tankers to water the dusty roads every dry season when harmattan and sand dust pollutes everywhere? What do they do for the rest of the year? I will mute my response to hide my personal shame and indignation. I do apologised solemnly in my heart to every mum and dad who have sacrifice their luxury to pay for our education, however, we have turned out to lack basic planning, know how, integrity and selflessness required to moving our nation from where Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah and his associates left us. We have rather mastered name-calling and pride ourselves with shameless life style our skills and effort cannot sustain. We have ended up stealing from the little that should have gone to pay for the sacrifice mum’s and dad’s endured. Shame!!
Coming back to the tagging theme, how many times has Ghana Cocoa Board engulfed in scandals and fraudulent activities since its inception?, and where has the politics and the media discussion tagged this organisation as ‘Southern’? Or characterised the Ghana Cocoa Board appointed leadership as ‘Southern elites’? Or name calling Ghana Cocoa Board management as ‘Southerners’ stealing money from their fellow ‘Southerners’?
Ghana as a project since independence has failed miserably, therefore, do we say all the Presidents most of whom hailed from ‘Southern’ Ghana as this or that? Just because these Presidents, and their heritage is somewhere in Ghana borderline to the South? What at all is the meaning of the tag ‘Northerner’ or ‘Southerner’? What does it imply in management or politics if you call a Ghanaian by either name? At best it signifies intent to discriminate, to insult, and to condemn since every credit of our national/regional good achieved by our representatives or appointees belong to Ghana, and not territorial divide. My dear politician and media and party loyalists, if SADA was successful will the credit have gone to Ghana Government or Northern Ghana elites?
Switch your perspective and consider the relevance of sincere truth in the political day to day administration of Ghana. We readily accept gullibly the gap between rhetoric and reality, between the actual intention and those slivers of real intention our politicians and media dare to declare publicly. Time will reveal these politicians and their warped minded political zealots, and also the media to the poor Ghanaian who has invested her hopes in democracy and media altruism hoping for returns in development, but been rewarded with shameless parochial silver slippery tongue menace.
Author: Osman Adam Sagnarigu