A former Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Nat Nunoo Amarteifio, has questioned the rationale behind those calling for the resignation of the current Metropolitan Chief Executive, Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, in the wake of the devastating floods that occurred on Wednesday.
The most affected area was the Kwame Nkrumah Circle where the flood caused an explosion and subsequent inferno at a fuel filling station near the GCB Towers, which led to the death of over 150 people, most of whom had sought shelter there.
Critics, including the President of IMANI Ghana, Franklin Cudjoe, have called for the head of Mr. Vanderpuije, chiding him for presiding over too many “mishaps” since he assumed his position.
They blamed his administration of being incapable of tackling the capital city’s perennial problems especially, flooding and cholera.
But, Mr. Amarteifio, in an interview on Sunday, disagreed with those calling for Mr. Vanderpuije’s resignation, saying it would be a “frivolous gesture.”
He wondered what impact his resignation would make, adding, “there is no point in making frivolous gestures just to press a claim. Will it have an impact?”
The former Chief Executive explained that “Mr. Vanderpuije and his cohort have become very convenient scapegoats for our collective lack of responsibility. The Chief Executive is not even elected; he is nominated and he is easily toyed with.”
“Like every problem else where in this country, we have convenient scapegoats. I agree that there must be some resignations; that is if these resignations would even impact on the public consciousness. I agree that there are square pegs in round holes, but let’s look at the bigger picture too.”
Mr. Amarteifio was of the view that the disaster could not be solely blamed on the Chief Executive since it was a shared responsibility to keep the Metropolis clean.
According to him, although last Wednesday’s incident was tragic, there would be even more tragic events in the future, “if we as a society, refuse to draw the right conclusions from it but rather continue as before.”
He said some residents in the capital city believed that as long as the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) existed, “we don’t have a responsibility of keeping our environment safe and sound.
He equally blamed the city authorities. “I blame the city authorities because I know what they are mandated to do, “but he was quick to point out that “they also have limited powers.”
The former Chief Executive indicated that at the moment, there were very limited open spaces in the city because, most grounds had been paved over.
He noted that the city had been built on a “big swamp with waterways, rivers, lakes and lagoons all over. We don’t realize how much we are sitting on water until the rains come and then these water bodies reassert themselves.”