Voters endorse creation of 6 regions

Okatakyie Bumagama (in cap) touring one of the polling stations

Okatakyie Bumagama (in cap) touring one of the polling stations

In spite of the voter apathy that hit the Akpafu “electoral district” during the recently held referendum, the boycott was not enough to affect the outcome of the YES vote for the creation of the Oti Region, which would soon be carved out of the now Volta Region.

The overwhelming ‘YES’ votes across the other Oti enclaves, made the day in favour of the new region.

The ‘YES’ had a total of 319,296 representing 98.64 per cent, whilst the ‘NO’ voters had 2,878, with spoilt ballots accounting for 1,534 votes.

The overall votes cast were 323,708 representing 88.31 per cent.

The results therefore met the constitutional threshold of 50 per cent voter turnout and 80 per cent voting ‘YES’.

The exercise was very peaceful though there were some pockets of misunderstandings that was dealt with by the security personnel detailed to maintain law and order.

Journalists covering the referendum were cautioned by some chiefs and security personnel to be extra vigilant as there were fears people had been attacked.

The splitting of the Volta Region into two was met with perceived resistance, mode of voting, counter-criticisms and campaign.

Mr. Dan Botwe, Minister of Regional Re-organisation and Development has congratulated voters for the massive turnout districts and the peaceful process in the exercise of their constitutional right.

Our correspondent, Yakubu Abdul-Majeed reports from Tamale, that:

The two proposed new regions from the northern region also received massive endorsements in the referendum organised by Electoral Commission (EC).

 

Residents of both the Savannah and North East regions went into  wild  jubilation when the officials of EC announced the results at the respective coalition centres.

 

In the North East proposed region, 205,805 voters out of the 254,243 total registered voters endorsed it, representing 80.95 per cent turnout and 96 per cent endorsement.

 

There was also 81.76 per cent turnout and 99.52 per cent endorsement in the Savannah proposed region.

 

The residents of both areas including chiefs jubilated and danced through the night after the official results were released.

 

Some of the residents of the Savannah region in an interview with the Ghanaian Times commended the government for proposing the region.

 

Mr. Abu Jinapor, a Deputy Chief of Staff commended the voters for the massive support.

 

He was optimistic that the creation of a region would propel development.

 

From Sefwi Wiawso, our Western Regional correspondent, CLEMENT ADZEI  BOYE, writes that voters in Western North  voted 99.52 per cent for the creation of the new region.

The Omanhene of Sefwi Wiawso, Okatakyie Kwasi Bumagama, described “the massive ‘YES’ vote as a declaration of independence for  the Western North”.

 

“Today is  the ‘Independence Day’ for the Western North. We  are now free from Sekondi. December 27 is a day our dream  of having our own region has come through.

Indeed, this is our time and the President, Nana Akufo-Addo has listened to  our cry. It is a special day for every one in the Sefwi and Aowin regions and we will celebrate this day every year,” he explained.

Okatakyie Bumagama said the struggle for a separate region  began long ago by some chiefs from Sefwi Wiawso,  Dadieso and Wassa Akropong,  but, were   disappointed  by previous governments.

The Sefwi Omanhene added that  with the endorsement of the new region, more development  programmes  would come to the area and  advised all stakeholders to stay  united.

The Western Regional Minister, Dr Kwaku Afriyie, in an interview with the Ghanaian Times, was elated and and stated that the outcome of the referendum “was a culmination  of a long struggle”.

He noted that with the present constitutional arrangement, every budget cycle would ensure that some kilometres of  roads were constructed therefore in 30 years road infrastructure would witness improvement.

“When funds are not sufficient you find that development  would be prioritised and eventually the road sector in  some area will be cut out of the budget cycle and those in the  centre would benefit the more.

At least with the seed money of GHȻ20 miilon, government would deliver  on road infrastructure, education and health sectors while the private sector also tackled  other areas  of the economy,” Dr. Afriyie noted.

On the question of the region capital, he said,  it was “no big issue”, stressing that “ it does  not  lie with me to say it, it is too  premature.

I know there are a lot of expectations, but, government is collective”.

Dr. Afriyie further stated that the new region would enhance implementation of programmes and  policies, adding that, “there are better  opportunities  in the coming years”.

A former Western Regional Minister, Mr. Paul Evans Aidoo, on his part said that he suggested the creation of the Western North during his address at the 2016 Independence Day celebrations, saying that the victory of the referendum was a joint effort on the part of all political parties.

He noted that the decentralisation policy had created more districts and constituencies, explaining that there was therefore the need to create more regions to ensure effective administration  and governance.

In Brong-Ahafo Region voters in the two enclaves of Bono East and Ahafo voted overwhelming to successfully create the proposed regions, respectively.

There were more that 90 per cent ‘YES’ votes by the electorates, according to certified figures released by the Electoral Commission.

From Kafui Gati, Jasikan

 

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