President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo has assured the chiefs, leaders and people of the newly created North East Region that his administration will ensure the rapid development of the region in order to fulfill the underlining reason for creating the new region.
Addressing a ceremony at the Forecourt of the Jubilee House to present Constitutional Instrument (CI) 116 to the chiefs, leaders and people of the new North East Region, President Akufo Addo said the 2019 budget has already voted 20 million cedis for the region to aid in the smooth take off of the region’s administration.
“Government will make sure that the desire for growth and progress which was the underlining reason for the vote for the creation of the North East Region is met,” the President said.
Regional Capital and Minister
In his address, President Akufo Addo noted that he has appointed the Northern Regional Minister, Salifu Sa-eed, to act as Caretaker Minister for the region until he appoints a substantive Regional Minister for the North East Region. Additionally, President Akufo Addo announced that Nalerigu has been chosen as the regional capital for the North East Region.
“I want to assure residents of the region however, that government projects and structures will be equally equitably spread across the region,” the President added.
Overlord of Mamprugu
In his address read on his behalf as leader of the delegation from the North East Region, the Overlord of Mamprugu, the Nayiri, Naa Bohogu Abdulai Mahami Sheriga, was full of praise to the President for ensuring the creation of the new region during his term in office.
“You have over the last two years, since your
assumption of the reins of leadership broadened the frontiers of democracy. Your long wait in the queue in realizing your political ambition was divine. The iron-curtains were never drawn to signal the end of your political career because you were destined by God Almighty to lead this country at a critical time in our journey. It pays to have patience. It pays to wait for God’s own appointed time. You are epitome of the virtues of courage, patience and humility. You are indeed a rare gem of a politician whose services to mother Ghana would have been sorely missed. Your giant footprints on the sand of time shall remain indelible. Ayekoo Mr. President” the Overlord of Mamprugu said.
He also commented on another critical issue which he said poses a serious challenge to the development of the north.
“The young men and women from the Northern sector of the country leave in droves to the south in search of non-existing menial jobs. The
dehumanizing conditions in which some of them live is a dent on human dignity. It is my fervent hope that with the right mix of investment by government and the private sector, the mass exodus of the youth would reduce drastically. I therefore wish to extend my invitation to all key players in the private sector to come and invest in the North East Region” the Overlord Mamprugu stated.
The Law on the Creation of New Regions
According to Article 5 of the 1992 Constitution, Clause (1) says “Subject to the provisions of this article, the President may, by constitutional instrument – (a) create a new region, (b) alter the boundaries of a region; or (c) provide for the merger of two or more regions.
Cause (2) states that “If the President, upon a petition being presented to him and, on the advice of the Council of State, is satisfied that there is substantial demand for (a) the creation of a new region, (b) the alteration of the boundaries of a region, whether or not the alteration involves the creation of a new region; or (c) the merger of any two or more regions; he shall, acting in accordance with the advice of the Council of State, appoint a commission of inquiry to inquire into the demand and to make recommendations on all the factors involved in the creation, alteration or merge”.
Clause (3) provides that “If, notwithstanding that a petition has not been presented to him, the President is, on the advice of the Council of State, satisfied that the need has arisen for taking any of the steps referred to in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of clause (1) of this article, he may, acting in accordance with the advice of the Council of State, appoint a commission of inquiry to inquire into the need and to make recommendations on all the factors involved in the creation, alteration or merger”.
The Constitution in clause (4) provides that, “Where a commission of inquiry appointed under clause (2) and (3) of this article finds that there is the need and a substantial demand for the creation, alteration or merger referred to in either of those clauses, it shall recommend to the President that a referendum be held, specifying the issues to be determined by the referendum and the places where the referendum should be held”.
In clause (5), the constitution says “the President shall refer the recommendations to the Electoral Commission, and the referendum all be held in a manner prescribed by the Electoral Commission. Additionally, clause (6) says “An issue referred for determination by referendum under clauses (4) and (5) shall not be taken to determined by the referendum unless at least fifty percent of the persons entitled to vote cast their votes at the referendum, and of the votes cast at least eighty per cent were cast in favour of that issue”.
The last of the prescribed process leading to the creation of new regions in Ghana is spelt out in clause (8), “The President shall, under clause (1) of this article, and acting in accordance with the results of the referendum held under clauses (4) and (5) of this article, issue a constitutional instrument giving effect, or enabling effect to be given, to the results”.
The Processes leading to Creation of New Regions
In fulfilment of the provisions of the Constitution, President Akufo Addo on the 26th of June, 2017, referred petitions from the Western, Volta, Bring Asafo and Notrthern Regions to the Council of State for their advice. On the 15th of August, 2017, the Council of State, after a thorough examination of the matter, unanimously recommended to the President the need for the creation of and the substantial demand for the creation of new regions. The Council of State advised the President to proceed with the processes involving the creation of new regions.
On Thursday, 19th of October, 2017, by Constitutional Instrument number 105, gazetted on Thursday, 12th of October, 2017, the President appointed a 9 member Commission of Enquiry chaired by retired Supreme Court Judge, Justice S.A. Brobbery. On the 27th of June, 2018, the Commission of Enquiry presented its report to the President recommending the creation of six additional regions to the existing ten (10).
President Akufo Addo subsequently referred the decision of the Commission of Enquiry to the Electoral Commission (EC) for it to begin the processes for the referendum to be held in the recommended places. On the 27th of December, 2018, the EC conducted same with all the six regions voting “yes” for the creation of the new regions.