Mahama, SADA and wasted chance for northern development

John Mahama Pen Former President John Dramani Mahama

Thu, 30 Nov 2017 Source: Nana Dokua Asiamah-Adjei

The issue of corruption was a rallying call in Ghana under the Mahama led NDC government, becoming a household name and never far from the lips of Ghanaians.

Corruption took over the airwaves and other media outlets, with precious time wasted in discussing scandalous acts orchestrated by ministers, government appointees and other state officials. One may ask what former President Mahama was then doing in the fight against corruption which basically became entrenched in his government.

Let us limit this conversation to the much talked about SADA saga, that was tagged as a monstrous act of corruption that subjected former President Mahama’s government to public ridicule and international mockery.

According to the 2010 Population Census, the three Northern Regions all together, have a total population size of 2,479,471 covering an area size of 70,384km. Due to its unimodal rainfall pattern, farmers in the Northern Regions rely solely on one farming season. Although the sandy nature of the soil type found in most parts of Northern Ghana makes agriculture quite a difficult venture, yet still, agriculture has been the major occupation that the people in Northern Ghana engage themselves in. Anyone who has been to the Northern part of Ghana (Northern, Upper East, and Upper West Regions respectively) will understand the toil and the level of under development majority of our brothers and sisters in that part of the country are confronted with. Generally speaking, the poverty gap between the Northern Sector compared to the Southern Sector is wide and due to this, a lot of people migrate from the Northern part of the country to the Southern part just to seek greener pastures.

It was to address issues such as the rural-urban drift, bridging the poverty and the developmental gap between Northern and Southern Ghana and a host of other reasons that the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) was established. Interestingly, instead of using SADA to improve the wellbeing of the people in the Northern Sector, some members within the NDC who were put at the helm of affairs rather enriched their pockets with the money that was allocated to it.

It was discovered that, SADA paid Ghc32, 498,000 to plant 5,000,000 (Five Million) trees in the Savannah Zone, but could only account for about 700,000 trees. One may ask where the remaining 4,300,000 trees were planted. The answer rests in the bosom of former President Mahama and his collaborators. As if that was not enough, it was also revealed that, SADA spent Ghc15million on guinea fowls, but could only account for a few of the birds.

Indeed SADA became the vehicle that ensured the looting of scarce resources meant to alleviate the plight of poor people living in Savanna Zones. In the process, people of the Savanna Zones sunk deeper into poverty. What broke the camel’s back in this scandalous act visited on the good people of Northern Ghana was the fact that, Mahama, who superintended this act hails from Bole in Northern Ghana. Such a man never cared for his own people and their plight. Infact, Mahama wasn’t sympathetic to the plight of his people. Even when SADA failed to yield the needed results under day light corruption, he couldn’t call anyone to order. He was just indifferent to the people’s plight.

Thankfully, it has taken a ‘Southern President,’ President Akufo-Addo, who has true empathy for the poor, to restructure SADA and beyond that, to establish the Zongo Development Fund to cater for the needs of Zongos and the Inner Cities thereby, engineering the creation of the Ministry of Zongo and Inner City Development which will be of supreme benefit to Ghana’s rapid development, of which Northern Ghana will heavily benefit.

The Northern Development Authority (NDA) will ensure a proper focus on addressing the developmental challenges of the north. To address the issue of unimodal rainfall pattern, and to have all year round farming, the government will soon implement the ‘One Village One Dam’ policy to increase food production and help alleviate poverty in the north. The development of the country remains a major commitment of President Akufo-Addo.

But, whosoever has used public resources to enrich his or her pocket at the expense of the good people of Ghana through illegal means will face the full rigorous of the law when the day of reckoning comes. All those who were a party to using SADA to scam Ghanaians should bow their heads in shame. Perhaps the greatest opportunity that Northerners ever got to leap frog and close the Northern-Southern gap, was the Presidency of John Dramani Mahama. It is sad that, the Presidency of John Mahama will go down in history as the period of wasted opportunity for the North. Sad!

Columnist: Nana Dokua Asiamah-Adjei