CSOs tell Pres : Don’t succumb to Nzema chiefs’ demand

imaniPresident Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has been advised not to bow to pressure from the paramount chiefs of Nzema area of the Western Region to appoint an indigene as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana National Gas Company Limited.

Over the weekend, the chiefs at a press conference kicked against the appointment of Dr. Ben Asante as the caretaker CEO of the Ghana National Gas Company Limited.

The chiefs rather demanded that President Akufo-Addo should appoint an indigene of Nzema land, Professor Kaku Sagary Nokoe, as the Ghana Gas CEO.

But Imani Ghana President, Franklin Cudjoe, has described the call as a ‘ridiculous one’, and rather urged traditional leaders to focus on demanding from government developmental projects that would better the standards of living of their subjects.

Speaking to The Ghanaian Times in an interview yesterday, Mr. Cudjoe said such calls lacked the reasoning to support nation building.

“This is a narrow minded call that helps no one. It rather fuels dialogues that are ethnic-based and empowers all groups to demand that one of their own is put in a particular position”, he said.

“Are the chiefs saying that if one is not from a particular place, he or she cannot work for the betterment of society”? he quizzed.

The head of the policy think tank urged President Akufo-Addo to reject such calls and rather use competence and abilities as the criterion for appointment of citizens into high office and not origin.

“Competence must always be the determinant of employment. We need people in office because they can produce the needed results and not where one is born or raised. It is unfortunate the said chiefs made such a proposal to the government”, he added.

Apart from the appointment of a Regional Minister, which was mostly based on the individual’s abilities and origin, Mr. Cudjoe explained that technical positions must solely be occupied by technical people.

“The position of a Chief Executive at GNGC is purely technical. The President cannot appoint anyone there and so it is about time these chiefs accept that the position should not necessarily go to their kinsmen”, he said.

In a separate interview, Dr. Steve Manteaw, Campaign Coordintor of the Integrated Social Development Center (ISODEC), a Ghanaian rights-based public policy research and advocacy organisation ISODCE, said “it is rather unfortunate that chiefs of Nzema land think and behave in a manner that suggests that the gas resources of this country belong to them.”

Dr. Manteaw noted that the immediate-past National Democratic Congress government previously bowed to pressure from the chiefs to appoint an indigene, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah as the Petroleum Minister, which set a bad precedent for subsequent governments.

“I think the NDC set a very bad precedent when it succumbed to pressure from Nzema chiefs and appointed an indigene of the Nzema land as Minster for Petroleum. It makes the Nzema chiefs think that the gas belongs to them and they have to determine who manages the resources, he added.

“It is important for the current government not to continue with this bad precedent otherwise you have other ethnic groups who play hosts to other vital national resources demanding that their own is appointed to manage the resource,” Dr. Manteaw cautioned.

By Claude Nyarko Adams

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