The One Volta Group, a development and advocacy organization, with membership in the USA, Canada, UK and Ghana, hereby issues the following statement to communicate that we are vehemently and unambiguously opposed to the carving of a new Oti Region out of the Volta Region.
It cannot be made any clearer that the majority of Voltarians are against this new intrusion by the NPP Government and a few of their underlings in the northern Volta Region. We are hereby announcing to the general public that we, the sons and daughters of the Volta Region, will leave no stone unturned in our collective resolve to fight this new threat in order to preserve the sanctity, wholeness and unity of the Volta Region. Indeed, we are ready to defend our region from the misguided agenda of the Government and its outnumbered collaborators.
It is interesting and baffling to witness the urgency with which the present Ghana Government which continuously complains about lack of money for its projects, (including its trophy program, free SHS), magically summoned enough funds to expedite this process which all previous Governments wisely stayed away from due to inherent complications and the inevitable controversies it would engender.
The reasons being tabled for the creation of this new region are porous, weak and unsustainable by any logic or reason. The Volta Region is home to more than 2.5 million inhabitants and to think that a few petitioners, who constitute less than 3% of Voltarians, would cause a referendum to be triggered is as ridiculous as it is frightening since a whole region’s fate would lie in the hands of a few individuals with a hidden agenda. The Volta Region should not be divided on the whims of a miniscule number of petitioners. It is a flawed process, which we oppose in the strongest terms.
Another much publicized excuse for the planned division of the Volta Region is rapid economic development. The pro-division advocates argue that the carving of a new region from the Volta Region would bring economic development to the people. With all due respect to the purveyors of the divide-and-develop theory, where in Ghana or in any part of the world has this been proven right? If division of regions automatically spurs economic development, it would be a natural course of action for the NPP Government led by President Nana Akufo Addo to implement this strategy nationwide. We question without mincing words that if this myth had any validity, the Government would have been implementing it in the Ashanti Region, which is vastly bigger in size and in population than the Volta Region. The Volta Region is too precious to be subjected to unproven and dangerous experiments. There are a myriad more effective ways to develop ALL of Volta Region than to cause chaos and upheaval by cutting up regions without recourse to the history, customs and traditions of the people.
One of the ingenious ways of bringing economic development to the people is to create more districts, authorize them to exercise greater control over local revenue generation and allocated funds from the consolidated fund, and empower them as the true development agencies that they are supposed to be. The problem of underdevelopment of the far-flung areas of Ghana is not caused by too few regions but by poor decentralization of governance. Almost every decision dealing with infrastructure development and delivery of services to the people is made by the central government in Accra. Our advice to the President is this: Devolve real political and administrative power to the districts and municipalities of Ghana. Take steps to provide government services where the people live, i.e. at the district level. No one should be made to travel from their villages to Accra in order to process a passport application, for example.
We cannot gloss over the stark truth that there is an ethnic dimension to this whole process. It is on record that this petition was initiated, sponsored and is being pushed by a fringe group of Akan-speakers who make up about 2.8% of the population of the Volta Region. It is worth noting that there are other minority groups in the region who are equally disturbed and repulsed by this scaled up campaign to partition the Volta Region and are thus joining hands with majority Ewes to fight this threat to our region. It is therefore, incomprehensible that the destiny of the Volta Region would be determined by 2.8% of the population. On this score, we hereby announce to the Government, to the fringe petitioners, to the rest of Ghanaians and indeed, to the outside world that we are not fooled by the ulterior political motives that are driving this rush to carve up our homeland. We have no illusions about the NPP Government’s ploy to create a new Akan political stronghold in northern Volta. And we are resolved to oppose such a nakedly cynical political move.
Finally, we would emphasize here that if a referendum is the sole avenue to resolve this matter, it would be prudent for the Government to instruct the Electoral Commissioner to extend the exercise to cover the whole of the Volta Region, not just the eight (8) districts in the north. From our reading of the law it is unconstitutional to limit a referendum that will determine the fate of all Voltarians to a tiny portion of the population. Our resolve is non-negotiable.
In conclusion, we caution the Akufo Addo Government to be cognizant of the real threat this exercise poses to the region and indeed, to the entire country should the principles of natural justice and fairness be truncated in furtherance of a political agenda. In this regard, we are hereby recommending an extra cautious approach to this matter. We have resolved to defend our homeland, the Volta Region, with all our resources, from this thinly-veiled attempt to undermine our strength, unity and historical uniqueness.
We are therefore appealing to ALL Voltarians and the rest of Ghanaians, who believe in this cause, to join hands with us to defeat this unjustified ploy to partition the Volta Region, and to foment civil strife among the peoples of the region who have always lived together in harmony. Thank you and May God be with us as we fight to keep Volta One, united, strong and prosperous for us and for posterity.
Kossi Nutekpor, Co-Chairman
Victor Doe, Co-Chairman
Grant Ayaye, Public Relations Officer
Ernest Ntem, Standing Member
Peter N Abotchie, Standing Member