20 June 2012

Ghana: Ahanta Indigenes Not Benefitting From Oil Discovery

Chiefs, under the traditions and customs of many societies in Ghana, are considered custodians of land by virtue of their positions.

In their positions as custodians of land, they act as protectors of lands, and are to use them purposely for developmental projects and activities to the benefit of the communities in which they reign.

In fact, the lands they protect are classified as either stool or family lands.

In days gone by, where by virtue of one being from a royal family, one could assume the position of a chief without an educational background is gradually passing over.

These days, education plays a key role in the selection and final endorsement of one as a chief. These innovations have suddenly come about because of the wanton abuse of power by chiefs, as custodians of land, forgetting their developmental role. These days, chiefs have assumed the role of developmental chiefs, aiding and attracting investors to their community.

Interestingly, the story is very different in Ahantaman.

Ahantaman has lagged behind in development because of the attitude of its chiefs.

With the discovery of oil on the soil of Ahantaman, one would have thought that was an opportunity for the indigenes to benefit from the natural resource.

But the indigenes are at the wrong end of the oil discovery, as they are neither hired nor employed to undertake even minor labour works.

The chiefs and community leaders, including assembly members, have no idea as to how to utilise the presence of the oil to the benefit of the indigenes, particularly, the youth.

No Ahanta chief can claim a development project benefitting the youth on their soil. Large tracts of lands have been sold in the wake of the oil discovery, with no benefit to the subjects of these areas. What is worrisome is that the youth are getting agitated day after day.

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