The appointment of Mr. Salifu Saeed as northern regional minister has been instrumental in quelling a crisis that was brewing between the administrators of the Tamale Teaching Hospital and a youth group calling itself, Northern Youth Patriots. The group claims to have close ties with the ruling National Patriotic Party.
Tensions between the two groups reached a boiling point after the Northern Youth Patriots accused the CEO of the hospital, Dr. Prosper Akambong, of corruption, nepotism and abuse of human rights.
Largely unsubstantiated, the charges, nonetheless, portrayed hospital management in bad light and eroded public confidence in the hospital’s ability to deliver much needed health care.
Another NPP affiliated youth group, the Kandahar Boys, went a step further; it locked Mr. Akambong out of his office and insisted on his prompt dismissal. However, the Boys did not get their wish; the office reportedly was unlocked after the intervention of the regional minister.
Untamed post election euphoria was the driving force behind the action of the Northern Youth Patriots and the Kandahar Boy; in fact, they felt emboldened by the electoral victory of the NPP. So not unexpected, they raided regional institutions and agencies, kicked out workers and padlocked them. The target of their ire and misdirected anger were the heads of these agencies and their hapless employees.
Now cooler heads have prevailed, and the Tamale Teaching Hospital and the general public have emerged as the winners. The young men may have had genuine grievances – the hospital is not by any stretch of the imagination immune from corruption and graft, but there are established protocols regarding the airing of gripes, and the young men are best advised to utilize these mechanisms.
Their way of highlighting corruption in regional agencies serves no useful purpose.
Now that calm has returned to the TTH, let’s turn our attention to the latest flash-point in the northern region, Bimbilla. News that residents of this deeply divided town are bracing yet again for another outbreak of violence, is troubling.
It was just a fortnight ago that the town was rocked by bloody violence which ultimately claimed ten lives and destroyed properties worth thousands of cedis. Apparently, the brotherly advice dispensed by members of the Northern Regional House of Chiefs did not resonate with the warring factions in that desperate town.
The fact that the two enemies remain entrenched, steadfast, stubborn and inflexible in their position does not augur well for the future of the yam producing town. What is it going to take to get the feuding groups to understand that violence pays no premiums and that all it does is retard progress and throw them back in time?
Mr. Saeed should gear up; it is abundantly clear that he has a lot work to do; Bimbilla should not be allowed to go the way of Syria, reduced to rubble and abandoned by its citizens. The responsibility of bringing peace to Bimbilla rests squarely on his shoulders.