The Chiefs and people of Gonjaland in the yet to be out-doored Savanna Region have unanimously endorsed a proposal from the Overlord of the area, Yagbonwura Tutumba Boressa, to government, asking for Damongo, the West Gonja district capital, to be made administrative capital of the new region.
The call follows an eruption of intense lobbying efforts by residents in about four major towns in the enclave seeking for the administrative capital to be sited within their jurisdictions.
After a massive endorsement of 99.07% for a new region in the just ended referendum, Salaga, Damongo, Bole and Buipe are divided over the location of the regional capital.
Hot exchanges and arguments to influence government decision on siting of the regional capital among these residents have turned into naming calling and attacks on institutions, sacred authorities and even customs and traditions.
Residents of Salaga have already organized a public event with their chiefs in attendance, calling for the ancient town to be made the Savanna region’s capital.
Boasting of proximity to large waterbodies that could be easily turned into ports and harbours and a vast unique landmass suitable for heavy and high rise installations, Salaga residents are further using security, partisan politics and population size to boost their arguments for the regional capital.
Speaking at the event held over a week ago, the Salaga South Constituency Secretary of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Abdul Habib Abiola, said the president must reward the people of Salaga with the regional capital because they voted massively for him in the 2016 elections and is the only constituency in the entire Gonjaland with an NPP Member of Parliament.
Though all these towns have their unique industrial materials and capacities which make up the rich and wealthy Gonjaland, the people of Salaga said, Damongo, Bole and Buipe are unfit for the regional capital because they are respectively embroiled in chieftaincy disputes that have threatened peace and security in those areas.
The three towns have fired back, describing Salaga as geographically disadvantaged and acutely underdeveloped without even access routes to other parts of the country, therefore, also unfit for the capital to be sited there. But while the place has competitively been stable, Bole is under a dawn to dusk curfew and Damongo continued to be red alert on security radar.
The Kpembi traditional area also has chieftaincy disagreements but limited to communities far from the capital, Salaga. Kafabar and Makango are the only chieftaincy hotspots in the area.
Speaking at a post referendum forum, first of its kind since the December polls, held in Damongo on 12th January, 2019, Yagbonwura Tutumba Boressa addressed the controversy and announced that the Traditional Authority has chosen Damongo as the regional capital after several meetings with stakeholders.
“We have taken cognizance of all the diverse views being expressed in various spheres about the capital of the Savannah Region and wish to state without any hesitation that Damongo is our choice as the Regional capital of the Savannah Region,” the Overlord said in a prepared statement read on his behalf.
“To this end, I urge everybody present here to contribute ideas on how we will collectively develop our new region,” the Yagbonwura encouraged his subjects.
The theme of the maiden event: Harnessing Development Potentials Through Unity in Diversity, was not only to officially offer appreciation to those who directly or indirectly contributed to a successful referendum for the creation of the Savanna Region but also defuse tensions which was growing over the location of the regional capital.
In his statement, the Gonja King thanked President Akufo-Addo for demonstrating courage and tenacity in fulfilling his campaign promise of creating new regions particularly his pledge to honour the request for the creation of Savannah Region.
He also thanked the Northern Regional Minister, Salifu Saeed, for his firmness throughout the process leading to the referendum, especially during the Commission of Inquiry’s hearings; and to the sector minister, Dan Kweku Botwe for his facilitation role in the processes.
The Overlord also offered appreciation to “all sons and daughters of the Savanna Region” for diligently undertaking the herculean task to the amazement of the whole country, from the massive turnouts at the Justice Brobbey Commission’s sittings to the overwhelming endorsement of the petition at the referendum.
He urged all stakeholders to continue to support the process even after the region is fully created, promising rewards, acknowledgements and recognitions for every individual efforts.
“We are indeed making history and these activities, seemingly inconsequential, will one day find place as social chapters when the history of the Savannah Region is being recounted by historians. Let us be consoled that it is in such accounts, that all of you, by your collective effort and zeal, will be recognized and acknowledged.”
He advised, “let us accept this victory won by all the people of the Savanna Region. It was by the votes of all of us that we have been adjudged as having met the constitutional requirement for the creation of a new Region in Ghana. We need to recognize that, much as those who voted YES propelled us to this victory, those who resisted the idea of the region gave us the energy to pursue, with vigour, this noble dream to bring it to fruition.”
The Saturday forum took place at the Damongo Senior High School and attended by dozens of regional political figures, top Gonja chiefs, including, Buipewura, Kpembewura, the Jinapors, Adam Mutawakilu (Damongo MP), Veronica Alele (Bole DCE), and many others.
Speaking exclusively to Starr News on the declaration made by the Yagbonwura, Chief of Kpembe Traditional Area, Babanye Ndefosu II, said he agreed with the Yagbonwura’s proposal for Damongo to be made the regional capital of Savannah Region.
The chief who travelled from his base in Salaga said his prime objective was to concentrate on how to contribute towards the development and growth of the Savannah Region.
“He is our Overlord and whatever the overlord says we must take it. As the representative of the government said, it is not the capital which is what we need but development in the area, for that matter, everybody should think what they can do for mother Ghana. This is what we are thinking about and we will go and work on that,” the powerful chief said.