The Akufo-Addo administration is advancing plans to create three new regions with the inauguration of a nine-member Commission of Enquiry, to collate views that will lead to carving out new regions from existing ones.
President Nana Akufo-Addo inaugurated the commission on Thursday morning, which will be chaired by retired Supreme Court Justice, Stephen Allan Brobbey.
The attempts to create new regions are in fulfillment of the New Patriotic Party’s campaign promise to carve new regions out of the Brong Ahafo, Western, Northern and Volta Regions.
In line with the Constitution, the Council of State had unanimously informed the President that there was a substantial demand for the creation of new regions, and therefore advised him to appoint a Commission of Enquiry “to inquire into the need, and to make recommendations on all the factors involved in the creation of the new regions.”
The Commission of Enquiry will now begin the process of collating views for the creation of the proposed three new regions.
The Commission, upon the assumption of office, will tour the Volta, Western, Northern and the Brong Ahafo Regions, to solicit the views of residents on the creation of the new regions.
The Commission’s recommendations will subsequently be handed over to the Electoral Commission to organize the referenda on the matter.
50 percent of persons living within the proposed areas will be required to endorse the proposal for new regions, then the process of creating the new regions will begin.
Speaking during the inauguration, President Akufo-Addo said this endeavor was in response to calls from citizens in these regions for decentralization to spark development.
“It has become clear to me that one of the most fundamental demands of our people is to live in a thriving economy which provides opportunities for all. The desire has found expression in several forms. One such form is for the re-organisation of our regional governance structure to enable government come closer to the people and thereby facilitate the rapid development of our nation and its economy.”
He also reminded that the demand for the creation of new regions is not a partisan issue, as they were made to other political leaders.
Indeed, in 2016, President John Dramani Mahama announced plans by the National Democratic Congress (NDC), government to possibly increase the number of the country’s administrative regions to 15, if given a second term at the December polls.
President Akufo-Addo said, this “clearly demonstrates a meeting of minds of the two major parties for the need of the creation of new administrative regions.”
The issue also came up for discussion when all the former living heads of state called on President Akufo-Addo earlier in 2017.
“The issue was discussed at length, and it was evident that all the past governments had also been seized with the matter over the years… Since I assumed office, many traditional authorities, civil society organisations and responsible citizens have also voiced their support for the creation of new regions,” he said.