Upper East Regional Minister, Hon. Paulina Patience Abayage has called for the support and wise counsel of the Paramount Chief of the Bongo Traditional Area, Naba Baba Salifu Lemyaarum and his colleague paramount chiefs across the region, to enable her administer the region more effectively and holistically.
The Minister made the call when she paid a courtesy call on the Bo-Naba this Tuesday to formally introduce herself to the chief, his divisional chiefs, elders and subjects. It will be recalled that since Hon. Abayage assumed office on November 8, 2018, she shortly thereafter undertook series of these courtesy calls that have already taken her and her entourage to the palaces of the Naga Naba, Navro Pio, Tongo Rana, Paga Pio, Nakong Pe, and Katiu Pe among others.
She singled out the Bo-Naba for praise for his relentless efforts in women empowerment and other social cum development issues relating to women and children. She herself, a gender advocate with focus on women’s rights and development and with a long period of work across the Upper East area till around 2009 when she was transferred out of the region, Madam Abayage also commended the Bo-Naba for leading the concept of Queen Mothers in the region and their inclusion in the traditional councils. This she noted, brings women to the forefront of decision making at the local level.
The Regional Minister described herself as a capable hand that the President had appointed and sent to the Upper East Region, to lead in the efficient execution of his mission and vision for the region and for the country as a whole. She mentioned the successful implementation of the Free Senior High School [SHS] policy as “the most ambitious among President Nana Addo’s 2016 campaign promises to Ghanaians” and was glad that, the policy was still running smoothly. She remarked that “every family in Ghana is positively affected by this policy in as long as the family had a child of SHS-going age”.
She recalled that Government’s 1- Village 1- Dam initiative started in the country from the Bongo District during the second half of 2018 and that, four of such dams had been completed in Kabre, Kuyelingu and Ayopia and were in use much to the relief of the beneficiary communities. She also hailed Government’s “Planting for Food and Jobs” [PFJ] programme stressing that, for the first time since 2003, Ghana has been able to export excess food including plantain, cassava and maize in huge volumes to neighbouring countries, Burkina Faso and Togo.
Touching on the programme to build one warehouse in each district, the Minister was full of joy that one such project was almost nearing completion in the Bogrigo community of the Bongo District and that, a grains’ warehouse was also being constructed in the Builsa North District while other districts had also awarded their projects. According to Madam Abayage, these warehouses when completed, will store excess farm produce resulting from the PFJ programme for sale later on, when market prices become attractive. Meanwhile, she also hinted of an additional programme; “Rearing for Food and Jobs” which is to be rolled out in the course of the year.
The Regional Minister observed that, majority of the Government’s policies were targeting the poor and marginalised groups in society and therefore, urged women and the unemployed to take advantage of especially the “Rearing for Food and Jobs” programme among initiatives so as to better their lot.
Paramount Chief of Bongo, Naba Baba Salifu Lemyaarum in his welcome address earlier, thanked government for the different development projects brought to his traditional area. He said these included the dams under the 1-Village 1- Dam policy, works on the over 40-kilometre Bongo-Balungu-Namoo feeder roads and spot rehabilitation on the 38.5-kilometre Balungu-Lungo-Vea feeder roads. Meanwhile, works on the Gorigu-Balungu bridge were also in an advanced stage.
Bo-Naba however, appealed to the Regional Minister to use her good office to push for the completion of an Assembly Hall complex for the Bongo Assembly that has been abandoned for over a decade. He was also unhappy about a Community Information Centre located right behind the Assembly that has been left to rot while an ICT centre constructed by GIFEC was also in ruins since its completion years ago. He urged the Minister to do everything possible to put these facilities to good use so as to justify the expenditure on them. The chief pledged his support for the minister in her work but also, admonished the region’s citizens against anonymous letters and “faceless petitions” against political office holders and other duty-bearers emphasising that, such unnecessary actions only drawback the region’s development agenda.
Source: Peter Atogewe Wedam (ISD)