Not all will vote in referendum – Akufo-Addo

Apart from inhabitants of the northern sector of the Volta Region, the rest of the region may not be allowed to partake in the referendum that would lead to the creation of a new region out of the existing region.

President Akufo-Addo disclosed this during a durbar held in his honour at Dambai for heeding to calls for the creation of a new region.

The President explained that best practices across the world allow only those affected by the referendum to take part in such polls.

Referring to a similar exercise in 1956 that led to Transvolta Togo land joining Ghana, the President recounted that only those in that area were allowed to partake in the voting.

“The Electoral Commission would organize a referendum in the affected areas. The affected areas are those that are going to vote. The reason for that is obvious; during all referendums across the world and here in Ghana where people are demanding for regions or nations, it is those who make the demand that is made subjects of the referendum”, he said.

About eight districts, including Nkwanta South and North, Krachi Nuchumuru, Krachie East and West, Biakoye and Jasikan, have for more than half a century been petitioning successive governments for a new region.

Although various reasons of underdevelopment and inaccessibility of the current regional capital were given, their southern counterparts do not seem to agree and have equally been counterattacking the call.

The chiefs at the gathering were outwardly excited and expressed their gratitude to Nana Addo for triggering the constitutional instruments that led to steps towards the creation of the proposed Oti Region.

Per the Constitutional requirement, 50 percent of the people must come out to vote, and 80 percent must approve the request.

The Paramount Chief who represented the Oti enclave, Krachi Wura Nana Mprah Besemuna, assured the President  of a hundred percent turnout in the referendum.

The president advised inhabitants of the Volta Region to desist from acts that could create tension in the area following the decision to create the Oti Region out of the existing Volta Region.

He said “the inhabitants should hail the decision because it will rather bring more development to the two regions”.

“Please, we should not see it in an antagonistic way. It is not meant to be a prescription for making hostilities between one group of people and another lot of people. Volta Region is noted for cohabitation amongst all kinds of people for a very long time. The creation of the Region is not intended to disturb it. In my view, God willing, it will, in fact, heighten the cooperation, the collaboration and the friendship between all the people in the Volta Region,” he added.

The Commission of Enquiry tasked to analyze petitions for the creation of additional regions submitted its report to the President in June 2018.

It recommended the creation of the Western North, Bono East, Ahafo, Savannah, North East, and Oti regions from the Western, Brong Ahafo, Volta and Northern Regions.

Some critics, including members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), had said it is an additional project that will not lead to the desired development.

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