Minister-designate for Local Government, Decentralisation & Rural Development, Dan Botwe has refuted claims that the people and traditional leaders of Akpafu never agreed to be part of the Oti region.
“This allegation is coming out of a deep misunderstanding. It has no basis. It is never true that the people of Akpafu areas were not interested in being part of Oti Region and that they were forced, it is totally untrue, nothing supports that assertion,” Mr Botwe stressed.
According to him, claims that the chiefs and people of the region blame him for the disenfranchisement of the people of Santrofi, Akpafu, Likpe and Lolobi in 2020’s parliamentary elections are unfounded.
A petition by the traditional leaders of SALL to the Appointment’s Committee stated that the people of the area were opposed to the splitting up of the Volta Region despite the referendum which indicated that the majority of the people were in favour of the re-demarcation.
Asked by North Tongu MP, Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa to explain the low turn out of the referendum in certain areas and why he did not respond to the petition of the traditional rulers in the area, Mr Botwe stated that “the process of creating new regions is enshrined in the Constitution” and not in any individual.
He further added that the process was transparently done according to the dictates of Ghana’s Constitution.
“…Chapter 2 of the Constitution and Article 5 states clearly the process you go through when you’re creating a new region and when you are merging 2 regions.
“So we followed it. Petitions were received from citizens who were interested in having new regions. We followed the constitutional provisions. Our ministry facilitated it and worked closely with the office of Mr President.”
He went on to add that a Commission of Enquiry was established as mandated by the Constitution. In addition, during the enquiry, he indicated that the Justice Brobbey Commission took the time to meet with all the petitioners in their respective traditional areas to address their concerns.
While acknowledging the important role of traditional rulers in the country, Mr Botwe indicated that the view of one chief may not necessarily be representative of the people. As such public hearings were held and reports from these meetings submitted for deliberations before the final decision was taken.
“…It’s not as if one chief, because he is the chief of an area, he writes a petition, ‘I want to have a new region’ and it is assumed that all the people want it,” he said.
“There were people who even though the chiefs and elders and opinion leaders were fighting for the creation of a new region, there were others who opposed it.
“And that is why there was nowhere that you had 100%. Which means that there were some people who were not interested in it. But they also had their chance to argue it out and also finally take part in the referendum.
“It is never true that the people from Akpafu and Lolobi areas were not interested in being part of Oti region and they were forced. Totally untrue. Nothing supports that assertion,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Appointments Committee, Joseph Osei Owusu stated that he had received a rejoinder from traditional rulers of SALL opposing an earlier petition against Mr Dan Botwe’s appointment.
Parts of the statement signed by some chiefs and traditional rulers from SALL indicated their full support of the creation of the new region.
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