There was visible frustration on faces of residents who queued up on Thursday at registration centres across the Bolgatanga Municipality of the Upper East Region to register for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Identity Card.
Residents, who were mostly civil and public servants, students, businessmen and women including; the aged grumbled as they sat and others stood in the scourging sun for several hours in long queues to undergo the first process of the registration.
Some registrants, especially workers who did not want to spend long hours in queues to the neglect of their work, travelled to other Districts outside the Municipality for the exercise, hoping the service would be faster, but were disappointed as they met similar queues.
When the Ghana News Agency (GNA) visited some registration centres in the Bolgatanga Municipality and Zuarungu in the Bolgatanga East District to monitor the ongoing exercise, it observed that some registrants quarreled among themselves as others jumped queues to be attended to.
Madam Lardi Bawah, who was in the queue since the early hours of the day at the Methodist Junior High School (JHS) said “Today is my second day here and I have not taken my card. I was here as early as 0500 hours and it is now 1300 hours and I am still here.”
“I was told that I will not get my card the day my form was filled. This Ghana Card thing is so frustrating. A lot of us left work and we are here to register,” she added.
Mr Rockson Asore, a student in the Northern Region who succeeded in completing his registration form, at the Akantome JHS, described the process as “hell,” and said “I had to spend two days at the registration centre before I could register.”
He said in spite of the struggle, he went through to register, the card was not issued to him on that same day, but he was told to return two days later for it. “For me, if they can probably extend it to even one month, it will help because I know a lot of people who haven’t registered.”
Mr Francis Ayaaba, a Registrant said he was at the centre at 0300hours on Tuesday morning only to be told by the officials at about 1000hours that they could register only 130 people out of the over 500 people who were in queue.
“It is disappointing being in uniform and trying to get yourself registered. I don’t know about other centres, but it was stressful here”, a Nurse in uniform at the Bolgatanga East District Assembly registration centre told the GNA on condition of anonymity after she had registered.
Madam Gloria Abangretome, a pregnant woman in the queue at the Bolgatanga East District registration centre lamented over the process after she spent two days at the centre without registering. “I have just been told to go back home and come tomorrow morning before 0700hours.”
“It appears the officials have some lackadaisical attitude towards the work. They report to the centre late and after 1300 hours, they come out and count some few people in and tell us they have closed.”
Mr Elijah Ndeogo Amoah, a Principal Community Health Nurse who shared his experience, said he took his card at the Bulinga JHS at Zongoire in the Bawku West District, adding that he went through the process for five days before he finally received his card.
“I arrived at the centre at about 1200hours and by 1600hours I was done registering. The queue was long, but because I am a nurse in the community, I was considered. The process is very slow. I don’t know whether they have network challenges because of the location.”
Officials at the various centres visited were tight-lipped, they were instructed not to speak to the media, they said.