Opinions Sun, 4 Oct 2009

The Split Of Northern Region Is A Collective Demand


The Split Of Northern Region Is A Collective Demand

An Article


Daniel Kipo

Email: dandkipo@yahoo.com

Mobile Phone: + 47 40 380 301

Ghana’s Political History on the Creations of Regions

The colonial administration started along the coast with their capital Cape Coast till 1877. Later, the Ashanti Territory was added, followed by the Northern Territory and finally Togoland through a plebiscite on 9th May 1956, then the British Togoland was part of Ghana at independence. After independence, there was the need for the creation of a political region out of the Western Asante. This laudable idea was supported by some chiefs within the Bono and Ahafo areas particularly the Techimanhene whiles some other chiefs and people opposed the creation of the new region. Some other Ghanaians also did not share the view of the visionary president Dr Kwame Nkrumah move for the creation of a region out of Asante. But Ghana’s first president, Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s vision for the creation was beyond ethnic and political considerations as others thought of, he was certain that such regional creation would promote the socio-economic development of the Bono and Ahafo areas of Ghana. For this reason and other useful considerations a new political region was created out of the then Western Asante known as Brong Ahafo Region on 4th April 1959. One of the key considerations for the creation of the Brong Ahafo was its landmass but not necessarily based on its population at that time. The key Brong Ahafo was not made up of a single ethnic group demand but it was a collective demand. The Bonos and the Ahafos were the dominant ethnic groups along side with some other minor ethnic groups such as the Mos, the Nchumurus, the Nafana of Sampa, Koulongo of Sekwa and the Liibe of Banda.

Apart from the creation of the Brong Ahafo Region, there was a demand from the people of the then Upper Region with the capital Bolgatanga for possible creation of a region. This demand for the creation of a new region out the Upper Region was also a collective one by the Walas, the Dagabas and the Sissalas as the dominant ethnic groups and the other minor ethnic groups such as the Tampulmas, the Brifos (Lobis) and the Chakalas. Ghana’s second president, Dr Hilla Limann since 1979 was strongly in favour of the split of the Upper East Region into two. But unfortunately could not fulfil his vision when the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) took over the mantle of leadership of Ghana. Under the PNDC regime a new political region was carved out of the Upper Region known as the Upper West Region. This creation has brought a lot of development to the new region. The creation of the region was not based on its large population or based on landmass but the rationale was to accelerate the economic development of the area.

What is wrong if the chief and people of the Northern Region are making a legitimate request for the split of the region? It is true that some Ghanaians may not agree to the creation of another region for many other reasons but that disagreement does not mean government should not listen to the request of the people of the Northern Region. Let us not forget of those who fervently protested against Nkrumah’s creation of the Brong Ahafo Region even including some chiefs within the Bono and the Ahafo areas. Yet Nkrumah who was more concerned about the progress the creation of a new region will have for the people went ahead to create it. Today the people of Brong Ahafo can attest the prospers the creation of the region have bought to them. Both Brong Ahafo and Upper West have benefited so much from the creation of more districts and constituencies. This brings governance to the doors steps of the people and leads to the equitable distribution of the national ‘cake’. If one district receives say 10 billion as its share of the District Assembly Common Fund. If that district is to be divided into two, then the amount will certainly double and that will contribute greatly to the development of the area. It is against this background and other relevant factors that the Chiefs and people of the Northern Region are calling for the slit of the region.

Some Misconceptions People have for the Split of the Northern Region

One, some people think that it is only the Gonjas who are pushing for the split of the Northern Region, this is completely wrong. The Gonjaland Youth is made up of many ethnic groups and not only Gonjas. Gonjaland Youth Association is composed of the Nawuris, the Tampulsis, the Vaglas, the Kamaras, the Safalbas, the Churobas, the Hangas, the Gonjas and the Lobis. So those who think that the call made by the Gonjaland Youth Association is solely the call for the Gonjas must change their perception and see that call as a multi-ethnic one. Two, some people think that the Overlord of Gonjaland, Yagbonwura Bawa Doshie who sent a petition to President John Agyekum Kufour was doing so in the interest of the Gonja people, that was also wrong. Yagbonwura voice is not the voice of only Gonjas but the voice of many ethnic groups in Gonjaland. The Yagbowura went to the Castle with some other ethnic groups, so Yagbowura must not be narrowed to only Gonjas but beyond Gonjas.

Three, no leader has suggested the name of the possible region and those who think that it will be named as Gonjaland is wrong. The request for the region is a collective one and the name of the possible region will be decided collectively. So terms like Savannah Region, East Northern and West Northern are just opinions of people and must be seen like that.

Four, the decision of the capital of the possible region will be decided by the chiefs and people of the Northern Region. Any town mentioned is irrelevant for now but the creation is what is most important now. At the end the President will act according to the provisions of the 1992 Constitution under Chapter 2. Five, many people are carried away by just one factor and that is population, they think that since there population of Northern Region is less, so there is no need for the split is wrong. Population is just one of the key factors that the Commission that will be ask to investigate the possibilities for the split of Northern Region will consider. Landmass is as important as population. So Ghanaians must not limit their arguments to only population but also landmass, natural resources of which Northern Region is well endowed. The Mole National Park, Goldmines and Cement deposits are all found in the region. Finally, there is the claim that only Gonjas are demanding for the split of the Northern Region,that is completely wrong. The five dorminant ethnic groups of the regions are all in favour of the split since that will promote the development of the Northern Region. The four major Kingdoms of the region are all involved; they include the Dagombas, the Mamprusis, the Nanumbas and the Gonjas. The dorminant ethic group, the Konkombas are also involved in the demand for the split of the region. The other minor ethnic groups are part of the collective demand; the Bimobas, the Chokosis, the Mos among others are part of the collective demand for the split of the region.

Conclusion, the split of Northern Region is a collective demand of all the ethnic groups of the region as the Northern Regional House of Chiefs voted unanimously in supported of the Vice President call for the split of the Northern Region. It is for development purpose but not a political one since the President Kufour’s administration also supported the request of the people.

Columnist: Kipo, Daniel