18 January 2013

Ghana: Western Chiefs to Pay Courtesy Call On Prez Mahama

Takoradi — THE 26 Paramount chiefs in the Western Region may call on President John Mahama this week.

The chiefs, all members of the Western Regional House of Chiefs (WRHC), would congratulate the President on his election and assumption of office, and mostly likely put a list of requests on the presidential desk.

The requests include the appointment of more indigenes from the region as ministers, including that of the yet-to-be-created Oil and Gas ministry. The chiefs are worried that only one westerner has so far made the ministerial list.

The paramount chief of Sefwi Bekwai and former President of the National House of Chiefs, who confirmed the meeting with the President on Kyzz FM news programme yesterday, said they would table a number of issues, including the absence of a westerner in the list of ministerial appointees.

Reminded by the anchor that one of the indigenes had made it on to the president's list, Odenneho Gyapong Ababio responded that "one was not enough". The chiefs would as well table the issue of poor and bad road network in the region.

Two years ago, the chiefs in the region battled late President John Atta Mills to give the region a ten- percent share of all oil revenues, but the request eventually fizzled out.

This time round, The Chronicle can report that the chiefs in their intended meeting with the President would make another difficult demand from the President. The Chiefs would want the President to reserve the headship of the new Oil and Gas Ministry for a westerner.

Though, yet to be created, it is speculated that the Oil and Gas ministry already has a minister penciled down for it, in the person of former Minister of Communication, Mr. Haruna Iddrisu, said to be a close ally of the President.

However, a source close to the chiefs, confirmed to The Chronicle that the chiefs would go to the extreme to make sure the president approved their request for an indigene of the region to head the new Oil and Gas Ministry.

A group of concerned western citizens, led by Mr. Francis Eghan, popularly known as 'Abatan', has waded into the controversy and thrown their weight behind the chiefs to push for the Oil and Gas Ministrty to be headed by an indigene of the region.

Abatan told reporters that the concerned citizens of the region fully back the chiefs for the idea and they will work tirelessly to make sure the request of the chiefs is granted, adding on KYZZ news

"I have confidence and trust in John Mahama that when the request is eventually put on the table of the president, he would not disagree".

Speaking on the same subject matter, Odeneho Gyapong Ababio told the radio station that the idea itself was not bad and that if that is the wish of the people of the region for an indigene to head the new Oil and Gas Ministry, then the chiefs would have no option than to table it.

Meanwhile, the Nzema Youth Association (NYA) has distanced itself from the advocacy for an indigene of the region head the new Ministry.

The Spokesperson of the group, Mark Asmah Arthur, told the radio station that the group did not support the idea and that everyone capable of heading of heading the ministry must be given the chance irrespective of where the fellow hailed from.

Mark Asmah believes when the position is given to an indigene, he would engulf himself in conflict of interest, and might not know who to satisfy in the end.

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