Mahama, Akufo-Addo trade blows at Aflao and Sefwi
President Akufo-Addo has bemoaned the road infrastructure record of the erstwhile Mahama administration, particularly in the northern parts of the Western Region, describing it as a big deception.
The President, who was on a three-day official visit to the region, was inundated with demands for roads by chiefs in all the areas he visited after being greeted by deplorable roads.
Road infrastructure in the Western Region was a key campaign message in the 2016 general elections with the then incumbent government, led by John Mahama touting road infrastructure as its biggest achievement.
Then-candidate Nana Akufo-Addo had complained about the poor road network in the Western Region during his campaign tour.
But Mr Mahama accused Nana Akufo-Addo of sleeping whilst travelling in the region, hence his inability to see the nice roads his government had constructed.
After about a year in government, President Nana Akufo-Addo wondered where the unprecedented roads Mahama had boasted of constructing in the Western Region had vanished to.
Addressing the chiefs and people of Sefwi Wiawso as part of his three days working visit to the region, the president indicated that the so-called unprecedented road infrastructure by the NDC was only a façade.
“I don’t know what infrastructure the former President had in mind, but clearly roads were not part,” the President told the gathering.
This was after the Omanhene of Sefwi Wiawso, Okatakyie Kwasi Bumagama II, had appealed to the President to help fix the numerous bad roads in the Sefwi area.
According to him, the construction of such roads would help boost economic activities, and bring foodstuffs to the market centres with ease.
“Even in your first and second terms in office, if you decide not to do anything for the people of Sefwi, but construct only our roads, we will forever be grateful,” the Sefwi Wiawso Omanhene told the President.
He mentioned some of the deplorable roads in the area as the road from Eluokrom through Frankomase to Adabokrom, which is one of the cocoa growing areas.
He also mentioned the Ankontombra and the Shaman to Enchi roads.
Responding, President Akufo-Addo indicated that people initially demand roads wherever he goes in the country.
“Do you remember the time we were canvassing for votes prior to the 2016 elections, I came here and everywhere I visited I saw that the roads were bad.
“But we were told during the elections that there was unprecedented road infrastructure in Ghana.
“So I went back to Accra and stated that we could not see the unprecedented road infrastructure in the Western Region because wherever I visited, the roads were in a deplorable state,” he told the gathering.
He continued “So instead of former President Mahama admitting and trying to find solution to the problem, he told Ghanaians I was sleeping; now the people know who was not telling the truth on the road infrastructure.”
Deputy Minister of Roads and Highways, Kwabena Owusu Aduomi, assured the people of Sefwi Wiawso that plans were afoot to fix all the bad roads in the area.
He mentioned the Benchima Nkwanta to Osei Kojokrom Road; Benchima Nkwanta to Asofia Road; Asofia to Essam and Sefwi Essam to Osei Kojokrom Road.
He also mentioned the Sefwi Ankontmbra Roads; Kasapee-Adabokrom-Elubo Road and Enchi to Dadieso Road.
NDC Aflao Unity Walk
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) seems to be in overdrive for the 2020 elections, as they turned the platform for Unity Walk into a campaign.
During its last Unity Walk held at Aflao in the Ketu South Municipality of the Volta Region on Saturday, the former President, John Dramani Mahama, who was the main speaker, accused the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) government and President Akufo-Addo of plagiarising his (Mahama’s) projects.
According to him, instead of the government acknowledging the erstwhile NDC government for projects they had commissioned, completed or cut sod to begin before leaving office, the NPP was busily presenting them as their own initiated projects.
Ex-President Mahama made the criticisms when he addressed thousands of NDC members and sympathisers during the party’s 10th and last Unity Walk in Aflao.
He criticized the government for renaming infrastructural projects that were commissioned under his leadership.
The former President chided the government, saying, “I thought they are only good in plagiarizing speeches. I didn’t know they are good in plagiarizing projects too.”
Making reference to the Phase 2 of the Kumasi Airport Expansion Project, which was commissioned by President Akufo-Addo about a week ago, ex-President Mahama said before the NDC left power, they had secured a $65million facility to fund the project.
“The contractor had already moved to site and started work when I cut the sod for it in December 2016. The NPP asked the contractor to hold one for a review only to return to cut another sod for the same project about a week ago.”
He also recounted how the Ridge Hospital was re-commissioned by the government, describing it as petty and unacceptable particularly when during the tenure of the NDC under the late Atta Mills and himself, they acknowledged the contributions of ex-President Kufuor during the commissioning of the N1 Highway and the Bui Dam projects respectively.
The former President, however, assured the people of the Volta Region that he would complete abandoned projects, particularly the Eastern Corridor road.
Former President Mahama said, “My heart bleeds for the Eastern Corridor road. However long it takes, I assure you that the NDC government will come and finish that Eastern Corridor road.”
However, some residents in the region were incensed by the NDC’s claim that they would complete the much-talked-about Eastern Corridor road should they capture power.
According to them, the NDC had the opportunity to construct the road, yet they squandered it only to lose power and are now using it as a bait to win votes.
The residents, who listened to him and heard the reports on radio, described his comments as a bait and part of the many promises meant to lure citizens of the Volta Region, also referred to as the ‘World Bank of the NDC’ to vote massively for the NDC in the 2020 elections.
One of such residents in Ho (the regional capital), Francisca Ablorsu, said, “The NDC thinks we are fools, you have been in power for good eight years right from President Atta Mills’s time to John Mahama’s time, they could not complete the road. You wait till you are in opposition to tell us that we should give you another opportunity?”
The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) has also promised to complete the project.
The NPP government, through its Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, declared during the Ramadan tour of the Volta Region last month that government was committed to completing the Eastern Corridor road to affirm the credibility of the NPP party and government and prove the love of the party to the people of the Volta Region.
He said, “I am very confident that the work on the Eastern Corridor road starts again sometime this year (2018). We are very focused on it, the President mentioned it in the State of the Nation’s Address; Ministry of Roads is very aware of it, and we believe that it is a road which really measures our credibility as a government that we have to deliver on Nana Addo’s promise. By the grace of God, we’ll do it before the end of this first term.”
Ex-President Mahama promised the people of the region that should the NDC return to power, they will focus wholly on the Volta Region, because it’s a region that has forever shown commitment to the NDC.
“I want to make a commitment to you that whoever leads a new NDC government come 2021 will be committed wholly to the development of the Volta Region,” he promised. Another promise that residents thought was too late.
Interestingly, it was Mahama, who removed Voltarians from sensitive positions and replaced them with his kinsmen, which forced Rawlings, the NDC founder, to raise concerns.