Barring any adverse developments, the referendum to create more regions in the country will take place by the middle of 2018, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said.
Following the green light given to the government by the Council of State to constitute a commission of inquiry in furtherance to the creation of new regions, the President said he was in the process of putting up that commission.
The President said this when the Overlord of the Mamprugu Traditional Area, Nayiri Naa Bohigu Abdulai Mahami Sheriga, and his entourage of chiefs paid a courtesy call on him at the Flagstaff House last Friday.
President Akufo-Addo implored all those concerned with the creation of the new regions to provide the needed support towards ensuring the success of the exercise.
He said an aggregated support for that move would be handy, considering the requirements of the Constitution regarding the holding of a referendum.
He explained that 50 per cent of the people in the affected areas had to vote in the referendum and that at least 80 per cent of the votes cast ought to be in favour of the decision.
“So there is work to be done. For those of us who want a new region, there is a lot of work to be done. You are going to use all your influence and authority to make it possible that all across Mamprugu the people will come and vote and 80 per cent of them will say ‘yes, we want a new region’,” he said.
He expressed his gratitude, through the chief, to the people of Mamprugu for what he described as the “one important gift that the people of Mamprugu have given to me, and that is the gift of your son, the Vice-President of the Republic”.
Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, he said, was doing a great job for the government and acquitting himself creditably, adding that “he is a credit to the people of Mamprugu”.
Responding to the concerns raised by the Nayiri over the poor nature of roads in his area, the President said poor roads were the bane of the country’s development and were adversely affecting people in the agricultural sector.
“This is the inheritance of my government. Unfortunately, part of the inheritance of my government was an empty treasury, which is making it difficult to deal with these matters,” he said.
He added that he had promised the people of Ghana that he would not be a complaining President but work to fix the problems bedevilling the country.
“So these matters that you have put before me — the deficit in water supply, the poor roads and the requirements for the hospital are all matters that are going to be taken seriously by this government,” he said.
The President gave an assurance that by the time the first term of his government was over, many of the requests made by the Nayiri would be dealt with.
“I am extremely sympathetic to the demand that you have made with such vigour and insistence about the need to create another region, a region that you call the North-East,” he said.
He said while travelling around the country in the build up to the December elections, the places that he visited had the recurrent complaint of their road networks which were bad and that they needed a new governmental arrangement that would bring the government closer to them.
The Nayiri congratulated the President on his “overwhelming victory and accession to the highest office of the land”.
Progressive policies of the government
He was also appreciative of the efforts made by the President and the government in providing the needed assistance when fire gutted his palace in March this year.
The Nayiri also commended the President for the progressive policies that he had rolled out within the relatively short period of being in office.
It was his prayer, he said, that God would provide the President with the needed wisdom and protection to ensure that he steered Ghana away from the current economic difficulties in which it found itself.
He said the dynamism of the Northern Region, evident in the differing cultural and traditional practices, would be well preserved and catered for when a new region was created out of it.