The Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Legon, Mrs Mary Chinery-Hesse has called on indigenes of the five regions of the North to work together to develop a comprehensive Northern Development Plan to ensure sustainability and continuation of development projects even when there is a change in government.
She noted that Northerners must buy into and own the plan such that whichever government is in power, duty bearers would be compelled to stick to the plan.
Addressing the opening of the 2020 Northern Ghana Development Summit at Bolgatanga on Thursday, August 20, via the Zoom platform, Mrs Chinery-Hesse was of the view that it was high time Northerners moved from “talk shops into action”.
A section of the participants
She observed that if the indigenes of the North are able to accept that responsibility of making duty bearers stick to the plan or agreement, a lot will change in the near future and there will be a paradigm shift so that instead of people travelling from the North to the south for greener pastures it will now be the other way round.
Mrs Chinery-Hesse who is the first female Chancellor of the University of Ghana spoke on the topic “Narrowing the North-South inequalities: what needs to be done?”
“I sense frustration but we have come a long way; we cannot talk about reparation now, let us find a way to move forward” she further observed.
The Chancellor mentioned the sheanut industry, data on rich resources in the North, value addition to raw materials, generation of hydro power, water harvesting to give the North advantage in farming as some of the things that can act as the “magic bullet” in accelerating the development of Northern Ghana.
She indicated that traditional rulers also had a crucial role to play by creating a congenial atmosphere for private investors to come in.
“There must also be a codification Chieftaincy succession plan to help minimize conflicts which has been the bane of the development of the North,” she noted.
She also spoke about the need for trade to be boosted between Ghana and the Sahelian regions with the North playing a key role due to its strategic location to the Sahelian regions.
A section of the participants
Mrs Chinery-Hesse stated that with an estimated 350 million people living in the Sahelian region, Ghana cannot afford but to tap into those opportunities to enrich the country through international trade.
She advised the youth in the North to avoid being used to foment unrest during elections because elections usually serve as conduits for conflicts.
The Chancellor pointed out that a conducive environment must be created for women and girls in the North to stay and help develop their respective families and communities rather than travelling down south in search of greener pastures.
Mrs Chinery-Hesse expressed her conviction that with the North producing high calibre of personalities including ministers of state, members of parliament and former Presidents it was possible to mobilize people to get a fair share of development projects.
A Council of State Member, Bo-Na Prof Yakubu Nantogmah spoke on the theme for the Summit “Transforming the economy of Northern Ghana within the context of the 2020 general elections and the COVID-19 pandemic”.
He called on Northerners to help bring to halt the situation whereby projects are abandoned when there is a change in government.
Bo-Na Nantogmah said Northerners can do that if they prevail on political parties to agree to a common Plan of continuation of projects in a systematic manner whether it is one political party that is in power or not.
He said the challenges of the North started from the colonial era and the educational system handed down to the country does not provide the Ghanaian and indeed the Northerner the opportunity of critically analysing issues.
“The old system of education made us to memorize tasks and never allowed us into the area of critical analysis,” the Council of State Member further observed.
He equally admitted that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has also exacerbated the existing challenges of the North.
Other speakers at the function included the Upper East Regional Minister, Ms Tangoba Abayage and the Chief Executive Officer of the Northern Development Authority (NDA), Dr Alhassan Sulemana Anamzoya.
The Summit discussed among other issues narrowing the North-South inequalities and what needed to be done, transforming the economy of Northern Ghana within the context of the 2020 general elections and the COVID-19 pandemic. Other issues discussed were developing a vibrant, resilient and profitable agricultural sector in Northern Ghana and what needed to change as well as securing the dignity and human rights of women in communities in Northern Ghana, what attitudes and actions were required.
It attracted the academia, Ministers of State, traditional rulers, Queen mothers, Development experts, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives from the five regions of the North
The Summit was organized by STAR Ghana Foundation, the NDA, TAMA Foundation Universal, and the Northern Development Forum among other partners.
Source: General News