The capitals of the six newly created regions will be known next Tuesday, February 12. On that day, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will issue a Constitutional Instrument (CI) to give effect to the creation of the regions and the capitals.
The Minister of Regional Reorganisation and Development, Mr Dan Botwe, made this known when he paid a courtesy call on the Overlord of Mamprugu, the Nayiri, Naa Bohagu Mahami Abdulai Sheriga, at his palace last Tuesday to officially invite him to the ceremony on behalf of the President.
He said the President had extended invitations to chiefs, opinion leaders, municipal and district chief executives and various stakeholders to the Jubilee House for the historic ceremony.
Already, the results of the referendum that created the new regions have been gazetted by the Electoral Commission (EC) and the President issuing the CI will be the final act to be performed for the full creation and inauguration of the new regions.
For some time now the names of some towns have been bandied around, especially in the media, as frontrunners to be named as the capitals of the new regions, but the President wil put the issue to rest when he makes the announcement next week.
Some chiefs and opinion leaders are in the forefront for the selection of their favourite towns as the capitals.
For instance, Naa Mahami Sheriga recently made a strong case for Nalerigu to be made the capital of the new North East Region.
In making his case, he told journalists that the town was strategically located at the centre of the new region and that it would be convenient for all the people in the region to access it.
But Nalerigu will be facing stiff competition from Walewale, which has also been mentioned as a strong contender.
For the Savannah Region, the Overlord of the Gonja Traditional Area,Yagbonwura Sulemana Jakpa Tutumba I, said Damongo was best suited as the regional capital. In a speech read on his behalf at a forum on the referendum in Damongo, he stated that despite the different
views being expressed on which town was the best choice, there was no doubt that Damongo towered above the rest.
Coming strongly from another end is Bole, which also presents a strong argument for selection as the regional capital. Salaga is also in contention.
Some of the notable towns that have come up as strong contenders for the capital of the Ahafo Region are Goaso, Mim, Duayaw Nkwanta, Bechem, Hwidiem and Kenyasi.
Goaso, which is the capital of the Asunafo North municipality, is seen as the frontrunner, especially as it has the facilities to host the regional capital.
Interestingly, Hwidiem and Kenyasi presented a joint petition to the President to make the two towns, which are about three kilometres apart, the common regional capital.
Mim, formerly known for its timber business, is the dark horse in the race.
Duayaw Nkwanta and Bechem are big towns alright, but whether they have what it takes to be the capital remains to be answered by next Tuesday.
There is also strong competition among the towns in this region for the capital with Techiman and Atebubu being the major contenders.
Techiman, a sprawling municipality, is strongly positioned for the capital, but Atebubu too has the facilities to host the capital. The people of Kintampo, a town said to be the centre of the country, are also asking the government to consider the town as capital of the Bono East Region.
For now, all are waiting with bated breath for the President’s announcement.
In this region, Bibiani, Sefwi Wiawso and Sefwi Bekwai are in contention for the capital.
The chiefs and the people of these three towns have been touting the credentials of the towns as best for the regional capital.
Although the Oti Movement, a group of chiefs and opinion leaders in the northern part of the Volta Region who submitted the petition that led to the creation of the Oti Region, has indicated that they will accept any town chosen as the regional capital, there are indications that some of the towns are praying to be chosen.
These towns are Jasikan, Kadjebi and Kete Krachi.
Mr Botwe, during his visit to the Overlord of Mamprugu, stated that “the President has done a lot of consultations with people across the length and breadth of the country and there will be no confusion after the announcement of the regional capitals”.
He said the rationale behind the creation of the regions was to bring rapid development to the affected areas and so development would not be centred at only the regional capitals but spread across the affected areas.
“There were even fears that the creation of the new regions would bring about ethnic clashes, but we have gone through all the processes peacefully and there is no way development will be centred in only the regional capitals and so people should understand the situation,” he indicated.
The Northern Regional Minister, Mr Salifu Saeed, who led Mr Botwe and his delegation on the visit to the Nayiri’s Palace, reiterated the fact that the creation of the new regions would ensure a fair distribution of national resources.
He called on the chiefs and the people of the newly created North East Region to rally behind the government as it worked assiduously to manage the expectations of the citizenry by ensuring that all its development promises were fulfilled.
“Now that the North East Region is created, it will bring development and more jobs will be created, which will go a long way to reduce unemployment in the area,” he said.
Naa Sheriga, for his part, commended the government for listening to the plea of the people for the creation of the new region and gave an assurance that he would honour the President’s invitation to the inauguration of the new regions.
He also called for peace and unity among the people to enable development to thrive in the area.