Even before the newly created regions would take shape, there is already ongoing subtle and open lobbying over where to site their capitals. This is happening among residents within those geographical areas ‘following the successful referenda that took place regarding the creation of the sic additional regions.
At present, residents of the North-East and Savannah, carved out of the Northern Region, are lobbying intensely to have their preferred towns as regional capitals soon after uniting to rally their people for a ‘Yes’ vote for the new regions. Traditional leaders and leading prominent people are not left out in such lobbying.
In the newly created Savannah Region, it appears to be a straight fight between Damongo, and residents of Salaga, an ancient commercial town linked to the slavery of the past. Even Buipe, which has beautiful scenery including the Black Volta, an inland port, cement factory and a petroleum depot, had previously been listed by development experts as a perfect choice for an administrative capital, but has no mention so far.
Diamond News understands that the Yagbonwura, who is the overlord of Gonjaland, reportedly made a personal request to government to site the capital in Damongo, the traditional capital of the Gonja people.
In the case of North-East Region, it also appears to be
another a straight ‘fight’ between three prominent towns – Walewale; home town
of the sitting Vice President, Nalerigu; the Traditional Capital of the
Mamprusis and Gambaga, also an ancient town with numerous tourism potentials.
The Nayiri, who is the Paramount Chief of Mamprugu Traditional Area and President of the Northern Regional House of Chiefs, Naa Bohagu Mahami Shirega, for example is on record to have called on government to select Nalerigu as the regional capital.
Speaking to Diamond News on these development and choices for regional capitals for the newly created Regions; the head of Institute of local Government in the Tamale, Richard Kambota says it is necessary for the people from those areas to engage in such advocacies but was quick to add that such demands should be devoid of tribal sentiments.
’There is nothing wrong in expressing your interest in that which affects you, for instance if you from Nkwanta and the Oti Region is there and you feel that I belong here so I wish the regional capital should be there, you may have reasons some may not have no reason at all, but they just feel because they belong there the capital should be there because they feel that they are going to enjoy certain benefits,” Mr. Kambota said adding that ; “
‘’ there is the need for stakeholders to dialogue because there are criteria for sitting capitals so therefore it is prudent for stakeholders to let the people know the technicalities involved.”