At long last, and after a period of holding our breath, Tamale finally has a mayor, a metropolitan chief executive, and he is Mr. Iddrisu Musah "Superior."
His appointment was long anticipated and a foregone conclusion. A native of Tamale, Mr Musah is the right choice to take the sprawling, vibrant and energetic city to new heights.
On his face-book page, Mr. Musah said: " I plan to be an activist mayor. I will safeguard the peace and expand the prosperity of Tamale." Those are noble words that should warm the hearts of many Tamale residents.
Zaa radio and its loyal listeners graciously welcome the new mayor and wish him well as he hits the ground running.
There is no denying the fact that Mr. Musah has been assigned a monumental task. Administering the affairs of a mega-city of Tamale's size will not be an easy undertaking, neither will it be a Sunday walk in the park; for one thing the challenges are numerous, and for another, there aren't easy solutions.
Suffice it to say that Mr. Musah will need all the help he can muster to bring peace and prosperity to the city. The new mayor will have to come prepared to deal with a city that is, according to urban planning experts, the fastest growing metropolis in West Africa.
Indeed, Tamale's rapid urbanization in the last thirty years has been anything but spectacular; new neighborhoods have been created and old ones expanded, and in the process attracting people from around the country and the West African region .
With the influx of people comes demands for services; hospitals, security, good schools, good and well lit streets, sanitation and water. But the one major challenge that should engage the attention and energy of Mr. Musah is the city's high youth unemployment rate. It is in the stratosphere, to be brutally frank. The youth unemployment problem in our beautiful city has proved intractable over the years and solutions, sadly have been elusive so far.
My hope is that the mayor will make the creation of jobs for our young men and women the cornerstone of his overall policy. He can do this by selling Tamale as an attractive place to do business to investors -- domestic and foreign --- his main selling point should be the city's large untapped labor pool.
As a political appointee, the mayor serves at the beck and call of the President, and is bound to tow his party's official line. That is all fine and dandy. But the mayor should not be a political ideologue, tethered/tied at the hip to the tenets of his party.
Yes, I understand Mr. Musah has to massage the enormous egos of some of his party's regional leaders. But that should not preclude him from being flexible, moderate and open to ideas from the other side, while cognizant of the fact that he is the mayor of all of the residents of Tamale and not just of those who share his ideological leanings.
After all, it is the mayor who said on his face-book page that he intends to forget no one and will work with all.