In a democratic state where free speech is guaranteed, it is expected that some will make a request and others will call for rejection of the request.
While some people in some parts of Ghana are demanding for the creation of additional regions, others in other parts do not see the need, with reasons best known to both sides. We also have some scholars and very respected persons saying or writing against the creation of new regions on grounds of cost. Cost is very important but not an absolute factor. If we want to go by cost then we may be arguing against democracy as an ideal form of government. Democracy in any form is very expensive, there is a lot of cost in setting up some administrative structures and persons to occupy such positions. Democracy involves periodic elections at local, regional or national elections. All these bring about cost to the state. Do we say because of the cost we should reject democracy for dictatorship?
The demand for additional regions is based on NEED-factors and not for political expediency, ethnic consideration socio-economic, cultural or historical factors. The need factor is stem from an objective factor. Ghana started with three colonial regions or territories and if the three were left the same till now, progress in Ghana will not have been the same. As population expands many more need factors will emerge. The need for schools, colleges, polytechnics, universities, health facilities, social amenities and many more will emerge. These services and amenities may not be adequately created under heavy centralisation of projects at few centres (regions). There is enough evidence to attest decentralisation contributed to Ghana’s development and it brought governance closer to the doorsteps of the people. This need factor is better explained where the creation of more regions brought about more districts and the districts brought about more developments and better governance structures than centralisation system of governance.
The Athenian direct democracy (city-states, the polis), naturally gave way to representative democracy because as the population expands direct democracy has no choice than to give way to representative democracy. One cannot expect millions of people to meet at one city centre for decision making, likewise one cannot expect the current regions of Ghana to remain static when the situation really demands increase. Thus, the many demands for the creation of new regions is due to need-factors (to improve the life of the people). Also, for equitable distribution of the national cake rather than centralising national resources at few centres at the expense of the masses. Logically, as Ghana’s population expands, we need to create room for emerging issues like the need to increase regions to facilitate development and improve our governance system.
The cost factor cannot be a hindrance to modern democracy in both developed and developing countries when it comes to the creation of new regions, provinces or states. There is no state or country where the regions, provinces or states remains static and Ghana cannot be an exception. For instance, the United States of America (USA) at the time of political independence in July 4, 1776 had only 13 British colonies (states). From 13, the number of states gradually increased up to 50 states. From historical perspectives by 1788/9 within 12 years 12 states were added to 13 states at independence in United States of America.
By 1803, the next 10 years 5 more states were formed or added or ratified to be part of USA. The next 10 years (by 1821), 7 more states were added and similar pattern was observed in the creation of states in USA. Finally, from the 20th Century from 1907 to 1959 within 52 years 5 states were created in USA. One can observe the pattern is from the average of one (1) state a year from independence to the final stages with one (1) state in every 10 years. When you compare the USA creation of states patterns to Ghana, then you will see that our governments are not creating more regions in Ghana as those who are opposed to creation of regions are making us to believe. Those opposed to the creation of new regions may also say a federal system like USA is different from a unitary system like Ghana. They may also try to create a false impression that the developed countries are more economically sound than Ghana so if they have more states, we do not need more regions. So, if they create more states or regions we should not emulate their examples. However, when we make the comparison in terms of human needs and cost, how different is Ghana from USA?
There are legitimate grounds why voters in the Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico are seeking and have voted for statehood while waiting for securing congressional approval, all these steps involved cost to USA. If at present some parts of USA are seeking for statehood on grounded needs, why not some parts of Ghana to be granted regions based on grounded needs since they presented petitions to various presidents over years on human needs factors. So, why should cost be a limitation? We have the resources to create new regions, there is the need to support the President of the Republic to let this come to pass. Look at the landmass of Northern Region, splitting it into two or more is in the right direction to have SAVANNAH REGION. Moreover, both NDC and NPP in their 2016 Manifestoes promised to satisfy the human need factors by creating additional regions to meet the needs of various parts of the country to make life better.
Our big brother Nigeria currently has 37 states. Nigeria at independence (October 1, 1960) started with in similar fashion like Ghana with few states along the South, East and North. But seven years after independence (by 1967), 5 states were created, two in the North (Kano and Kaduna), one in the South East (Cross River state), and two in South West (Lagos and Kwara). One may be tempted to say it was to satisfy major ethnic groups but that is far from the reality. The creations were necessary for human needs and cost of creation was not a factor with 5states in 1967. In 1976 additional 10 states were created, but what do we say about the cost of creating 10 states in Nigeria? Moreover, 1987, 2 states were created in Nigeria while 18 states were created in 1991 and 1996 alone. Opponents of the creation of new regions in Ghana, where is the cost component when Nigeria could create 18 states in the 1990s alone? Then we are here arguing that Ghana has no resources to create additional regions to the existing 10. We ought to be serious in Ghana and support this noble call from our dear NDC and NPP politicians who are all ready to satisfy human needs through creation of regions at the expense of cost factor.
Even one of Africa’s poorest state and war-torn country like Somalia despite its real challenges still considered human need factors culminating into the creation of a new state called South-West State in November, 2014. Why are we crying over cost, is Somalia richer than Ghana?
Tiny Norway in terms of landmass and a country with a population of 5 million yet it has 18 administrative regions/Counties (fylker in Norwegian) and 422 municipalities in Norwegian as Kommune. Is Norway the richest country in the world to have such numbers of regions (18) and districts (422)? They just need to satisfy the human needs of their people. Thus, they considered land size, topography (islands, mountainous areas) that are too far to reach to have their regions in order to make life better for those far to reach communities in Norway. Similar conditions persist in Ghana. Look at the terrains from Northern Volta to their regional capital (Ho) and challenges trekking from Damanko to Kpassa, Nkwanta, Kedjebi, Jasikan to Hohoe towards Ho. So is the journey from Kete Krachi to Chinderi, Dambai to either Kpando or Nkwanta. Many have not been to these areas so they just say or write without appreciating the real problems of the people. In the Western Region, distance from Sekondi/Takaradi to Tarkwa towards Wassa Akropong areas and far North to Sefwi-Bibiani areas, then you will appreciate the urgent need factors and join the bandwagon to help government in the effort to create new regions. Those who are opposed to creation of additional regions, please get into a car from Bamboi to Tinga, Bole to Sawla to Damongo before heading to capital Tamale and judge the situation yourself. Similar conditions are in the Bono/Ahafo areas from far Yeji to Goaso areas.
I hope the people of Ghana will support the creation of new regions and get Northern Region divided with the creation of SAVANNAH REGION!
Long live Ghana!
Long Live SAVANNAH REGION!