V/R: A recap of major happenings in 2018Pictures from a demonstration against the creation of the Oti Region

V/R: A recap of major happenings in 2018

Thankfully, we have crossed into a new year, and we are hand glued to our jaws to more of the happenings that will rock the Volta region in 2019.

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The year 2018 was a very challenging but interesting year. In the Volta region, many things happened in the year 2018 that made ways onto the air waves, but the following are some striking stories that keep the people of the Volta region talking in the just ended year.

Togbe Afede XIV and Mr. Freddie Blay

L/R: Togbe Afede XIV and Mr. Freddie BlayThe President of the National House of Chiefs, Togbe Afede and the National Chairman of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr. Freddie Blay’s saga.

Prior to the National Delegates Congress of the New Patriotic Party in Koforidua in 2018, the then Chairperson aspirant Mr. Freddie Blay promised to procure and donate 275 mini-buses to the party; one for each of the 275 constituency offices across the country, a promise he quite fulfilled by procuring and delivery about 100 of the mini-buses to the party few days the the elections.

A section of Ghanaians became outraged at the move, describing it as a ‘vote buying’ mechanism. Some others went further to question the source of funding for the purchase of the buses by Mr. Freddie Blay.

Togbe Afede XIV, the President of the National House of Chiefs and the Agbogbomefia of the Asogli State, waded into the debate saying the move by the then aspiring chairman, deepens the corruption perception of Ghanaians.

“Let me say that the frequency of corruption at elections is worrying; because that sequence itself suggests the lack of trust and lack of transparency…. And I think that we all have to work hard to minimize the frequency of perceptions of corruption and corruption. Nananom [Chiefs] should lead the fight and should talk for transparency,” he said

Togbe’s comments sparked further controversy when Freddie Blay (NPP National Chairman) replied Togbe sarcastically calling him a son of a ‘palm wine seller’.

“Maybe he (Togbe Afede) got his money from selling palmwine to get there” Freddie Blay with a hand gesture.

According to Freddie Blay, he was worried someone “like Togbe Afede has come in”, as he (Togbe Afede) is a businessman himself. He ended by saying “Togbe Afede doesn’t know what he is talking about”.

“It is silly. I am sorry to use that word. For people to think like that, I find it disturbing”. Freddy Blay said.

Mr. Blay’s reaction was deemed disrespectful, arrogant, and insulting to Togbe by a larger section of the people of the Volta region; mostly the Ewe-speaking tribe.

The aggrieved, Asogli Traditional Council of Chiefs and some pressure groups within the region, issued a number of press releases and petitions asking Freddie Blay to apologize to the chief by further threatening some sort of ‘insecurity’ in the region for Mr. Blay.

Did you hear the end of that story?

This development lasted a discussion for months in the media and no one could tell the end of such a drama.

Demonstration against the creation of a new region -Oti

A group in the Volta region known as ” Coalition of Concern Volta Youth” led by one Mr. Simon Ohene staged a number of demonstrations seeking from the Nana Addo’s led government to desist from creating a new region out of the Volta Region after the proposal for the partitioning of the region was made public.

A number of people, especially those from the Southern part of the region, including Chiefs and opinion leaders, spoke vehemently against the division of the region into what would have come to be known as ‘Volta region and Oti region’.

A woman casting her ballot during the 27th December, referendum.

Though proponents for the division of the region, would set forth the tone for the development of the Northern sector (Oti), the Southern dwellers, however, believed the creation of the new region is based on tribal lines and politically biased.

The opponents against the creation went of demonstrations in the regional capital, Ho, to drum home their concerns against the division of the Volta region but it became clear that their ‘loud’ voices were not enough to stop the Jean Mensah led Electoral Commission from conducting a referendum to allow the people up North (Oti) from deciding their fate.

President and his appointees sent to juju

Whilst preparing towards the Christmas and new year festivity, some two men from Ashaiman in the greater Accra region decided to put the lives of some prominent persons of the country under control of black magic.

The two suspects, Shepherd Acolatse and Ebenezer Atsu were arrested by police in Weta within the Ketu North municipality in the Volta region, for allegedly sending names of the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo, the Volta regional minister, Dr. Yao Archibald Letsa, Minister of Regional Reorganization, Mr. Dan Botwe, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Jean Mensah, Justice Allan Brobey, the Ashantehene, Otumfo Osei Tutu II and a senior citizen Dr. Obed Asamoah to shrine for spell to be cast on them.

The two men upon interrogation said, they decided to put these people under the control of juju simple because they (the political leaders) are determined to divide the Volta region into two. This development generated another discussion across the Volta region and the country at large. Some legal practitioners described the arrest as a human rights abuse, adding that such issues (spiritual) matters cannot be put through legal trial to determine the end of it. This one too, did you hear the end of it?

Referendum; Thursday 27th December 2018

The referendum only came off, after a number of petitions and failed attempts by opponents to the creation to get injunctions laid on the referendum. Notable among the moves to thwart the referendum in the Volta Region is the legal conundrum that ensued in giving an interpretation to the constitutional provision on who and who is not eligible to take part in the referendum. The opponents claimed that the Volta region at large should be allowed to take part in the referendum, adding that the division of the region would affect them all.

Well, the referendum went off successfully on December 27th, within the Oti enclave, getting an overwhelming vote cast to get them carved out of the Volta region. A post-referendum controversy followed with groups and some Civil Society Organizations demanding investigations into the exercise, especially into that of Oti for alleging electoral malpractices.

The heightened media reportage amidst intimidation, threatening, verbal assaults, and broad day electoral malpractices are the few happenings that pass the creation of the new region -Oti region, the most talked about happening in the Volta region in 2018.

Thankfully, we have crossed into a new year, and we are hand glued to our jaws to more of the happenings that will rock the Volta region in 2019.

By: Albert Kuzor and Abdul-Iddrisu Faisel | awakenewsonline.com