Dr Hafiz Bin Salih, the Upper West Regional Minister, has expressed worry about the rise in gambling and sports betting among the youth in the region.
This, he said could escalate the menace of social vices. He said with the resumption of sporting activities after the Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown, some young people spent productive hours engaging in gambling and betting, an alternative of lottery, to the detriment of their personal development.
“If care is not taken this can result in stealing and other criminal activities in the region”, Dr Bin Salih said in a speech at the climax of the centenary celebration of the Dumba Festival of the chiefs and people of the Waala Traditional Area in Wa.
The event was dubbed: “Hundred Years of Uninterrupted Dumba Festival of the Waala Traditional Area-Our Achievements, Challenges and the Way forward”.
The celebration was characterised by pomp and pageantry as the Overlord of the Waala Traditional Area, Wa Naa, Naa Fuseini Seidu Pelpuo IV successfully jumped over the cow as customs demand and the winner of the Dumba Beauty pageant, Umurata Sungnuma, was crowned amidst the display of the rich culture of the Waala people including; drumming and dancing.
Dr Bin Salih advised the youth to avoid investing their precious time and energy in gambling and betting and engage in productive activities that could inure to their development and the development of the region and the nation at large.
The Minister commended the Upper West Regional House of Chiefs for successfully electing its representatives to steer the affairs of the house as well as successfully nominating a representative to serve on the National House of Chiefs.
“I want to use this opportunity to appeal to the Waala Traditional Council to take urgent steps to resolve the pockets of chieftaincy and land disputes we have in the Waala Traditional Area in order to prevent them from escalating.
”May I advise that as much as possible, we should employ our time-tested traditional conflict resolution mechanism in addressing the disputes; the results of which lead to absolute and permanent healing than the court system that leads to winner-loser scenario, which leaves permanent scars for several generations to manage with”, Dr. Bin Salih added.
While entreating the people to retain the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in government come December 7, the Minister observed that President Akufo-Addo led NPP government had initiated and implemented pro-poor policies and programmes that benefited the people irrespective of their social status and geographical location.
Some of the policies and programmes, he identified included; the Planting for Food and Jobs, Free Senior High School, One-Village-One-Dam and the Nation Builders Corps among others.
Dr Bin Salih also touched on infrastructural development in the Waala Traditional Area including; the multi-purpose Youth Resource Centre and school infrastructure, which merited the government another term.
Naa Pelpuo IV, called for issue based-campaign in the electioneering to help maintain the relative peace the country was enjoying.
He said Ghana’s politics and democracy was admired by the outside world hence the need to jealously safeguard that pride.