Political parties have made a strong commitment in their manifestoes to implement policies and programmes to address the development gap between the north and the south.
This would ensure equitable development should they win the December general elections to form the next government.
This assurance was given at a dialogue organised by the Northern Development Forum (NDF), with representatives of the political parties approved by the Electoral Commission to contest this year’s elections in Accra on Sunday.
Parties present were the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and a representative of Jacob Osei Yeboah, an Independent presidential candidate.
Although the NDF extended an invitation to the New Patriotic Party to participate in the dialogue, there was no representation from the party.
The forum was held in an atmosphere of camaraderie, with the admonition from the chairman of NDF, Dr. Hakeem Wemah, that the forum was not meant “for them to tear one another apart.”
The NDF is a non-governmental organisation committed to promoting the development of the Upper East, Upper West and Northern regions classified as the north, and as part of its advocacy role, has been engaging with political parties to appraise it with their manifestos, especially as it relates to the development of the north.
Dr. William Ahiadze, Director of Research of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Ivor Kobina Greenstreet, presidential candidate of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and Opanyin Kwame Otupiri, who represented Jacob Osei Yeboah, took turns to highlight their manifestoes.
Dr. Ahiadze said the party had initiated and implemented projects in the three regions of the north in the areas of health, education, infrastructure, among others, and renewed the party’s pledge to make the north a transport hub with the development of an inland port at Buipe.
He said the NDC government would scale up e-health, in Wa and Zebilla to promote healthcare delivery, promote the shear nut industry to create wealth and build sport stadia in Wa and Bolgatanga as well as the continuation of the Wa and the Bolgatanga regional hospitals.
Mr. Greenstreet, on his part, said the people of the north were “well aware of the historical impact of the Convention People’s Party led by Ghana’s First President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, in respect of the development of the north,” assuring that the party would continue with the good policies of the Nkrumah regime to deliver social and economic policies to hasten the well- being of the people.
To that end, he said the government of the CPP would initiate and implement policies to empower the people economically to create wealth and reduce poverty.
Mr. Greenstreet added that the party had identified 1,000 kilometres wind belt stretching from the north to Ada in the Greater Accra Region which the government would develop and add 7,000 megawatts of power to the country’s energy generation mix.
Besides, he said the government would promote all inclusiveness and embark on massive literacy drive “bring the people to basic standard to do basic things to enable them earn money for themselves” while giving the assurance that the Almond tree, widely grown in the north would be developed and promoted on the international market.
Opayin Otupiri said the Independent Candidate believed that there were structures and policies in place to promote equitable development such as the SADA and the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education, assuring of his government’s commitment to pursuing these policies and programmes.
He said the government of the Independent Candidate would pursue renewable energy-wind, solar and biogas- to add to the country’s power generation mix toward energy sufficiency.
Mr Zan Akologo, a development specialist and member of the NDF, said the organisation would hold the parties accountable for their promises.