‘Day One’ of President Mahama’s Tour of the Upper West Region;
So far I have seen enough to estimate the impact of the President’s hands-on approach to changing the lives of Ghanaians in the Upper West Region. When I got closer to the air strip I wondered what the presence of such a large number of people was about. What got them ticking?
In the Ashanti Region it was understandable because before that regional tour, tall lists of specific socio-economic infrastructure projects had been published widely which raised awareness of the government’s progress in that region. But here in Wa no such lists have been sighted by me so far. Yet the reception President Mahama received in Wa was noticeably jubilant. The reasons for this became clearer as we went a few metres from the air strip. There lies a massive180 bed hospital project that sprawls over a vast space of land. It is due to be soft commissioned in October.
Why should this project draw so much gratitude? This is why; it contains an MRI Unit, six operation theatres, a new mortuary, an admin block, an engineering services unit, a new kitchen etc etc
My heart was struck with sadness when the President paid tribute to our late President Mills who started it all here. But it is satisfying that his work was not in vain after all. I can recollect vividly, that part of the speech; he wished the late leader was here to see progress since he started it.
This was while inside the Wa Naa’s Palace. Here I saw a family meeting. He calls them his fathers and they in return referred to him as their son. They shared the President’s pain of losing his mum, and yet with the teary eyes recollected the good works of their son.
I noticed also on the outskirts of the Palace relics of a strong Romania Catholic tradition in the area. Chats with the locals tell how much they love the fact that their brother is home to show off his achievements for them as President of Ghana.
One of the striking moments was when two young ladies walked up to a national security bus and demanded that they be allowed to get inside because it is for their brother. Light hearted as the interaction was here I saw a clear and warm embrace of President Mahama’s government by people who elites in Accra would consider remote and ordinary.
Think about this; if the people Britain had seen themselves as having ownership of their leaders in Europe would they have exited? The sense of ‘ownership’ shown in Wa towards President’s government is a clear endorsement. More than that, it etches a clear record of democratic accountability; something which was absent in Europe leading to Brexit.
I am not going to sermonise about what I saw so far in Wa. Yet there was enough that would make me fidget until I make them known.
It cannot be imaginable that the Wa Campus of the UDS is just that; a campus. This is a whole University on its own. I saw four massive complex building projects on that campus that merit a whole new university on its own. And these are in addition to existing infrastructure on that campus.
How about the new library inaugurated by the President for the Upper West Region? I have just been informed that it has an under ground facility. But what moved me most is the level of serious and studious faces of girls and young boys I saw in the library. It threw me back to my days at the University. Studying was fun. And these kids looked the part! I wanna go back to school now. Meanwhile that library has kids play area, ICT facility and others! You can imagine the number of Justice Atugubas soon to be produced from here.
I won’t tell you the rest. The joy on the faces of the people here in Wa, the sense of liberation from the shackles of poverty and ignorance and the gratitude they show are all enough to give me the most beautiful sleep tonight.