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Welcome, Mr. Salifu Saeed.


All eyes in the northern region are on Mr.  Salifu Saeed, the region’s newly minted chief executive officer.

I therefore take this opportunity on behalf of the owner of Zaa radio, Alhaji Mohammed Umar and my coworkers to welcome the regional minister and wish him well in his new portfolio.

Once Mr. Saeed begins the elaborate process of governance, he will doubtlessly have his hands full; indeed, he has his work already cut out for him.

Let’s keep things in perspective; the northern region, after decades of marginalization and blatant neglect, is struggling mightily to find its niche, to discover a way to bring financial prosperity to its residents.

And to make matters worse, the north’s perennial problems of high youth unemployment, chieftaincy disputes and ethnic conflicts continue to disrupt the march towards progress. Our region is behind the development curve for all the wrong reasons.

Given this dismal background, expectations are predictably high; residents of the northern region are yearning for a dramatic change in their lives; they have been at the receiving end of bad and poorly thought out government policies for too long, and as a direct consequence, have suffered severe inequalities.

A regional government that will relentlessly push the central government to do more for the region will be a welcome departure from the status quo and its efforts will be warmly appreciated by residents irrespective of their political affiliations.

The north’s premier city, Tamale, is a sprawling metropolis with a lot of challenges typical of mega cities around the world. Tamale is the gem of the region, and in the last thirty years has grown by heaps and bounds.

I know Mr. Saeed has big ambitions to transform our beloved Tamale, to see the city grow and prosper. In fact, as if on cue, Mr. Saeed told crowds on his four-day courtesy call on traditional and religious leaders that he will preside over the transformation of the city into a gleaming urban paradise.

I believe deep down in my heart that he means well. To this end he will surely need the cooperation and support of our traditional rulers and residents.

But to gain their support and confidence, Mr. Saeed must articulate his policies coherently and assure residents that he is 100 percent committed to making the city great by tackling its numerous problems of which there are two absolutely important ones.

One of the paramount challenges Mr. Saeed will have to deal with head-on is the nagging issue of youth unemployment in Tamale.  With no unemployment figures readily available, it is difficult to say precisely how many young people in the city are unemployed or cannot find jobs.

But one does not have to depend on statistics or hard data to know this first hand; there is anecdotal evidence that thousands of our young men and women are jobless; just take a stroll along the principal streets of Tamale, and all you see are groups of young men just idling about through no fault of theirs, I must emphasize.

And our young girls migrate to the southern cities of Accra and Kumasi to take up jobs that are so demeaning and detrimental to their physical and mental well being

I know Mr. Saeed is cognizant of this painful fact and would do all he can to help attract investors and jobs to the region to. That should be the cornerstone of his political agenda for the region.

As Tamale continues to grow at its current rate, so too, will its problems. Poor sanitation is one problem that continues to defy solution despite the huge amounts of money thrown at it.

There is a correlation between health and sanitation; you will have to be living in the Stone Age not to know this. If residents of the city are to remain healthy, then it is imperative that their surroundings be scrupulous clean. Open defecation continues to dog Tamale and has sadly earned it a bad reputation.

This should be a major concern to Mr. Saeed, and the hope here is that he will lead a campaign to change the attitude of residents who particularly enjoy the art of doing their business al fresco, in the open.

Being the regional minister of arguably the biggest region in the nation is a daunting task; the challenges are huge and the solutions are not easily obtainable.

Nonetheless, I trust that Mr. Saeed is up to the task and with the support of the chiefs and residents of the region he will succeed in bringing economic prosperity and stability to all. There should be no obfuscation; transparency should be the guiding principle in all his transactions.









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