A native of Bongbini in the East Mamprusi Municipality of the Newly Created North East Region Mark “Majeed“ Yama Tampuri Jnr has made a case for Gambaga, to be upgraded to a regional capital. In support, he said that Gambaga is currently better placed to function smoothly as a regional administrative head office considering its status as currently one of the two Municipal capitals in the region being an administrative capital of the Northern Territories in the colonial era for closely five years from 1897-1902, being a parent district to two districts in the Region, and the administrative and bureaucratic capabilities that it has built over the years in its functions and responsibilities as a District and now Municipal administrative capital.
However he observed that “Gambaga currently has some infrastructure, but of course at the municipal level, and would still need some heavy financial investment nonetheless when it becomes a Regional capital to accommodate demands and pressures at that level.
He stated that, for smooth governance at the local level, it was more efficient to upgrade a current administrative capital at the lower levels of governance to higher level administrative capitals. Such transitions are unquestionable in their merits and helps in our local governance drive.
The governance administrator, currently a PhD Candidate, advised especially the youth, the Municipalities and Districts Administrative structures in the new region to work hand in hand with Nayiri and all stakeholders in ensuring that the regional capital when named will be one that will ultimately serve and propel the needed administrative, bureaucratic and economic support and linkage to all areas within the region so as to realize the development that is being envisaged.
Speaking to NewsGhana.com.gh he also said that there was a need for the consideration of amending our laws in future on the processes of getting new regions. The current process he said can be exploited under certain circumstances. He said“ My view is that, if a we need at least 75000, 95,000 and 250,000 as minimum and other economic and geographical requirement to establish a District, Municipal , and Metropolitan Assemblies respectively, then any proper decentralization process must go beyond the current process in creating regions as well. In my view, there should be a minimum number of MMDAs making up some minimum number of populations to qualify as a region. Yes, so people can petition for a region, but such petition must stand the test of number of MMDAs and population within a given area.
When asked of his opinion on the outcome of the referendum that saw North East endorsed, the governance administrator said “ we were in no doubt of the importance of having less number of MMDAs under a Regional Administration. The bureaucratic relevance and administrative importance, the supervisory and coordinating efficiency , as well as the security authority Regional Administration bring forth to local governance are so dear to us, hence, the overwhelming support for the creation of North East Region“.
Below is the some except of the interview:
News Ghana: Are you from the Newly Created North East Region? People say
Tampuri Jnr: Sure, I’m from the “Bong City“…. Hahaha, my hometown is Bongbini in the East Mamprusi Municipality.
News Ghana: Some people say it wasn’t really worth having North East as a regional status.
Tampuri Jnr: Which people? I don’t think those people are from the Region, and if they were, as you can see we voted 99.67% for a region that we the people wanted and followed through the constitutional provision to achieve. So the people of North East Region disagree with such opinion as the results show. They are in the minority if they hail from the new region
News Ghana: Do you believe the number of MMDAs within the new region is expedient enough for a regional status?
Tampuri Jnr: In my view that is the essence of local governance. Making it possible for smaller units of all the hierarchy of local governance to make decision and take charge of their affairs. At the MMDAs level, we want Districts which are not only making it possible for devolution and grass root participation in decision making process, but such MMDAs must have their mandate well-coordinated by a Regional Authority to ensure areas we term as region have the development as we expect. That’s the role of Regional Administration; hence having less districts under a Regional coordinating council can be effective.
News Ghana: How many districts do you think should make up a region at least?
Tampuri Jnr: I believe not less than five. This is to make sure RCCs are efficiently formed since they come with massive resource allocation in financial and manpower, usually better called human resource. Their importance however cannot be underestimated.
News Ghana: So the north East Region was needed
Tampuri Jnr: North East Region is needed. It was overdue and the referendum brought that to bear. That part of the country covers a large land area. It becomes so difficult and costly having these widely spaced MMDAs under one Region. It seems we haven’t come to quantify RCCs roles in development. Yes they may not be directly involved in infrastructural development because that may be MMDAs role. However, RCCs (if they are working) can among their functions liaise with central government and development agencies to support certain developmental activities and needs. In terms of Security, a smaller area under REGSEC is better for security management. One of the core mandates of coordinating developmental activities in the region, if understood well, means that a RCC Administration must focus and be interested in a holistic development of the region, through district. When there are fewer and reasonable numbers of MMDAs under it, it could perform better with fewer resources. So yes, we endorse North East Region.
When asked the controversial issue of the administrative capital, stated “ Nalerigu, Gambaga, and Walewale are names that have come out strongly….I think Gambaga, may be better placed to be the Regional Capital for many reasons. The East Mamprusi Municipal capital is capable of providing the necessary administrative and bureaucratic responsibilities to the rest of the region and would be better to rather upgrade the current municipal capital to regional capital status. That’s where Nalerigu falls short.
News Ghana: So which town do you think is best fit for Regional Capital among Nalerigu, Gambaga, and Walewale and are you worried about the issues of power plays especially the youth opting for Gambaga whiles Nayiri goes for Nalerigu
Tampuri Jnr: First of all, let’s acknowledge the various roles everyone in the North East Region has played so far for this successful referendum. It was through a common purpose that we came together to support the creation of north east region. We all did our widows might: Nayiri especially, other traditional authorities, Local government structures, and the people all contributed to the course.
Indeed, Gambaga during the colonial era diligently did well as an administrative capital of then northern territory from 1897 to 1902. It has over the years served as District and now Municipal administrative capital of East Mamprusi. In fact, two districts have been carved from the East Mamprusi, thus West Mamprusi District now a Municipal in 1988 and the Bunkpurugu District in 2014. These developments happened with Gambaga as the district capital. I think it has those capabilities to smoothly function as regional administrative capital within the local governance structure.
Currently the Municipal capital of East Mamprusi, Gambaga already has the infrastructure and administrative prowess (But that is at the Municipal level, and will still need infrastructure for regional administrative responsibilities and functions). However one must point out that Nalerigu and Walewale definitely are economic vibrant towns of the region, and this should be keenly projected within the developmental framework of the region. With the rate of urbanization of Nalerigu especially as a result of development and human settlement, it will surely be more attractive to investors and economic activities in the future. Gambaga however has all it takes to function well as a regional administrative capital which should be more interested in all there is in the governance system as well as the administrative and bureaucratic functions, whiles the region have strategic towns including Nalerigu and Walewale which are more economically vibrant.
On the issue of Nayiri suggesting Nalerigu as the administrative capital, I think that is allowed. The Nayiri among other things believe Nalerigu should be considered. You cannot say they aren’t justified in making such demands. Sure it’s within their remits. And the youth of Gambaga also exercised their democratic right of saying, “ you see, we think Gambaga is best fit for the regional administrative capital status“. And they came up with reasons they think Gambaga is well suited. That is civil, that is democracy. There may be other youth or anyone who may prefer Nalerigu or Walewale and that’s fine. That is the very essence of democracy and governance: Remember regions are part of the local governance structure which encourages grassroots participation in decision making, so the youth were only taking part in that regard bearing in mind that the mandate to make any town an administrative capital is not theirs. However, we can all give reasons we think one town is more suited. But as to which town becomes the administrative capital for the region, none except one has the powers that be to declare. That’s ok.
The advice however is that, all stakeholders must work with especially Nayiri which has been so instrumental in the creation of North East Region. Indeed the youth if indeed have a front could have taken a different approach: Perhaps get the audience of the father of the Mamprugu kingdom to listen to them. The overlord of Mamprugu would be glad to listen to his sons and daughters who may have divergent view of the citing of the regional capital, I think.
News Ghana: So which Town do you really believe that would better be placed as Regional Capital in the long run?
Tampuri Jnr. Hahaha,I have already stated it. Gambaga is better placed if we are considering a town. However, it would be good for some reasons if we consider Gambaga/Nalerigu “twin city“ regional administrative capital looking at the proximity of the two towns which are even closing up together in settlements coming up. It could foster the needed unity for the area, a prerequisite for development and also desired for in local governance. In terms of governance, a dual administrative capital would even propel the Region to having an area that is fit to achieving a metropolitan status if the needed investment is made appropriately for those areas. In any case, Gambaga needs not be left out. I believe you understand.
News Ghana: We still have many questions but time, shall we continue this conversation again at another time?
Tampuri Jnr: Sure. You can knock at the door anytime, especially on issues of North East Region, Governance and Inclusive Development. But lastly, I wish to add that all of us in the North East Region must have a common purpose and determination to help the process of development in the North East. More importantly the development of the Region begins with us being good citizens, holding accountable our Assembly representatives, taking part in town hall meetings, taking parts in budget hearings of the Assembly, being patriotic, and a list of our civic responsibilities. What I mean is that, the development within the region may not be accelerated if we don’t involve in and find solutions to the day to day issues and problems of our societies. Communities don’t develop just because governance institutions are created, but they do because people in those settings make decisions that solve problems and more importantly prevents problems. The institutions only create the wheels for people to make those impact.
News Ghana: Thank you
Tampuri Jnr: Thanks