NPP Member of Parliament mourns, constituents wail over abandoned road
A disappointed lawmaker for Navrongo Central, Joseph Kofi Adda, and some distraught constituents are in tears over an important road the legislator says the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) disowned at its own stronghold whilst in power for 8 years.
The Member of Parliament (MP) claims his party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), could have worked on the Navrongo-Naaga Road had Ghanaians rejected the NDC at the 2008 polls and retained the NPP in power to restructure that road as planned in the 2008 Budget.
“It’s a road that we have been thinking about for a long time as a district and as government as well. This was the only way to go through to Walewale, to Tamale and to Kumasi. This has since been abandoned; so, you cannot go from here to Walewale and to Tamale. It’s been abandoned. It wasn’t part of government’s priority for the last 7 years. The fact of the matter is, in 2008 the NPP was prepared to do it. I recall very well that the late Finance Minister, Kwadwo Baah Wiredu, put it in the budget and said we [could] redo the road from Navrongo Town to Vonania, and from Vonania to Naaga.
“If you go back to the 2008 Budget, you’ll see it there. Then, we lost the elections. And NDC came. Four years, eight years, nothing happened. The fact is that this area is strongly in support of the NDC. We have some of our good party members here as well. The votes have consistently been for NDC. Yet for over 8 years, nothing has happened here,” observed the Minister-designate for Aviation.
He made the remarks when he toured his constituency after a protracted spell of torrential rains drenched parts of Navrongo and the follow-on floods worsened the conditions of some already-lamentable roads in that busy part of the Upper East region.
Consoling his constituents who ply that 22-kilometre-long road daily, he gave them his word that he would do everything in his power to ensure its reconstruction anytime soon.
“I sent information to the Road Minister and told him about it. He told me that he was out in China with the President. When he comes back, I’m sure he’ll take it up. In fact, I had already spoken to the Vice President about it. And we are trying to get into a Chinese loan arrangement. The Vice President is committed to getting the GoG (Government of Ghana) funding to start it,” he revealed.
Constituents lay Stones as Floods block Patients on Referral
There were no drains along the stretch when the MP took his tour to Kologo, a community in the constituency, to view the remains of the Navrongo-Naaga Road.
On both sides of the untarred trunk road were farmlands dripping with flood waters trapped in a cultivated lonely valley.
Newsmen spotted residents struggling through a number of shin-deep pools of coffee-brown water as the MP, wearing a smock of many colours, held his waist in dismay as the ‘exhausted’ road lay in ruins.
“The road is too bad. On market days, passengers cannot move from here to Navrongo. It’s the same with healthcare delivery. When it’s flooded, we can’t carry patients on referral across to the Navrongo War Memorial Hospital. We’ve carried stones to block the water. But as you can see, the water is now flowing through the stones,” Uthant Amiriba, a former Assemblyman for Kologo-Zuo, said as some affected farmers added their voices in the background.
The MP paid a visit thereafter to the palace of the Paramount Chief of Kologo Traditional Area, Naba Tandegri Nwarigu Kugre V, where concerns about the state of the road, a chronic shortage of medicines at the Kologo Health Centre and threats of bushfires in the community were raised.
Mr. Adda implored the chief, a professional firefighter, to use his expertise and links in neighbouring Burkina Faso to curb bushfires in that rural part of the constituency.
“I’m happy you have touched on bushfire. As a practical fireman, I will do my best so that at least, if we cannot stop bush burning, we would minimise it so that our animals can stay. When our animals go far, they are stolen. This is a listening government. I’m sure they will do something for Kologo because we have been left behind for long,” replied the chief.
Woyongo fires Adda back— “Road was awarded during my Term”
Contrary to what the MP has stated, his familiar rival from the NDC, Mark Owen Woyongo, says the Navrongo-Naaga Road was never abandoned when his party managed the affairs of the country from 2009 to 2017 and when he (Mr. Woyongo) represented Navrongo Central in Parliament between 2012 and 2016.
“2016 elections, when I was doing my campaign, I told my constituents in those areas— Kologo, Naaga, Vonania and Biu, because the Navrongo-Naaga Road passes through those villages— that that road had been awarded on contract. In fact, a contractor was even appointed to start work on that road. They even went and cut the sod to start that road.
“Provisions had been made for that road. It’s unfortunate that we lost power. So, it is just a continuation of what we had started. So, I don’t know why he’s trying to make politics with this one. If you go down to the grounds and ask the people, they would tell you that when I came and I was campaigning I announced that that road had been given out on contract. When they (the NPP) came, they terminated it,” retorted the former Upper East Regional Minister in a telephone interview with Starr News.
The one-time Minister for Defence, who was also appointed Minister for the Interior in the Mahama Government, added: “Even the Tono Water Treatment Plant, it had already been approved and sent to the Ministry of Finance. We (the NDC) would have started the construction of the treatment plant. I’m sure he (Mr. Adda) is going to take credit for it. All those things had already been approved.”
"The NPP says the NDC 'abandoned'. The NDC says the NPP 'terminated'. So, which is which here on the Navrongo-Naaga Road?" Gertrude Baba, a puzzled voter and observer, asked.