Anthony Abayifa Karbo, a deputy communications director of the New Patriotic Party, says northerners, just like any group of Ghanaians, will not vote for President John Dramani Mahama in the upcoming elections just because he is one of them. They will rather vote based on his track record as a President. According to Karbo, good governance has no place for identity politics, but rather it must be upheld because it is about vision, competence and having a strong political will to ensure that policies that will alleviate the suffering of people in the north are implemented for their benefit.
The President ended his “Accounting to the People” tour in the three Northern regions and the expectations of most Ghanaians was for the President to account to the people in the three regions on how the GHc200 million allocated to the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority had been used for projects in the northern regions.
However, Anthony Karbo, speaking to the Daily Statesman, said the President deliberately did not talk about SADA because it had become an embarrassment to the President and the NDC.
“Unfortunately, during the tour, the president didn’t pay any visit to inspect or commission any of the so-called SADA project. This was one of the biggest policy issues when the president launched SADA in 2010. He claimed it was his pet project, for which reason he was going to see to the full implementation of SADA. 6 years on, SADA has been a disgrace,” the NPP deputy communication director said.
He further explained that many northerners are disappointed in the governance of President Mahama because in the run-up to the 2008 elections, northerners were told that the reason for their underdevelopment was the fact that they did not have a president from the north.
“Again, in 2012, President John Dramani Mahama said northerners were tired of being vice presidents, and so northerners should support him so he ends the problem. As we speak, schools in the north are yet to get their capitation grants and face a likely to shut down. Today, we have a northern president and the problem has persisted since assuming power,” he said.
He explained that projects in the northern region like the Via Irrigation Projects, Tono Irrigation Scheme, Pwalugu Tomato Factory, Bolga Meat Factory, Butanga Irrigation Farms and other tracks of land the NDC claimed they were going to invest to help the people had not be honoured.
Karbo said the people in the north were disappointed because almost all development projects in the north had retarded, including social interventions like the Health Insurance Scheme and School Feeding.
“It has become so expensive compared to when the scheme started. The premium was GHc7.2p; today as we talk, the premium is GHc25, which is well above the reach of the poor. Now, card owners cannot even access health care because the scheme is in arrears. You go to many of the hospitals and they lack many things. Currently, there are very little funds to stock up the Chips Compounds with basic medicines for primary healthcare,” he added.
Rosewood, which is currently the fastest selling and most expensive commodity in Ghana according to records from the Timber Industry Division of the Forestry Commission of Ghana, has seen a lot of destruction in places like Wa East, Sisala East, Builsa North District, Mamprusi West and East Assemblies, according to Anthony Karbo.
According to him, the Rosewood, which generates over $60,000 to $80,000 per container, has seen over 4000 or more containers of the wood being exported to China. This, he added, goes contrary to the NDC’s own policy of having a Green North, especially after the government had invested $32 million for afforestation purposes.
Mr Karbo again stated that the issue of fertilizer had become a major problem for farmers in the north. He alleged that the whole system of subsidized fertilizers had been riddled with massive corruption, with only farmers belonging to the NDC benefitting from the fertilizers.
He therefore called on Northerners to support the effort to change the Mahama government because the person who can address their challenges must not necessarily come from the north.
He stressed: “we have seen President Kufuor’s administration, the Rawlings administration that brought electricity to the north even though he was not from the north. In the same way, Nana Addo is not from the north but has shown to be a true friend of the north in terms of the ideas he espouses. The ‘One District, One Factory’ means every district in the north is waiting for this factory. We are calling for change and asking our people to move away from the politics of tribalism because it has not worked for us. We need a competent and visionary leader in Nana Addo who has shown that he is committed to ensuring that the development gap between the north and south is bridged.”