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New northern regional minister faces a daunting task as he assumes office


imageThe incoming northern regional minister, Mr Abdallah Abubakar has been reminded about the daunting task ahead of him as he takes over the administration of the largest region in Ghana in terms of land mass. Mr Abubakari was told he will have to tolerate the petulance of NDC foot soldiers and their constant demand for cash.

The incoming minister, who is the fifth regional minister in the Atta Mills and Mahama led administrations and the 54th since colonial times, was also reminded about the developmental challenges confronting the region in the areas of health, education, roads and security.

The outgoing northern regional minister, Alhaji Mohammed-Muniru Limuna, in his farewell message during the official handing over ceremony, told his successor that being a northern regional minister is not an easy task and that anybody who is able to manage the region successfully can manage the whole country.

Alhaji Limuna, in handing-over the mantle to Mr Abubakari recalled contemplating to tender his resignation letter to the President, a week after assuming office.

He said even though people are lovely, political heads need to be courageous and tactful to deal with them because, as he put it, it is the only region in Ghana where foot soldiers can say anything to a minister without any provocation.

The former minister who was time conscious appealed to staff of RCC and MMDCEs to endeavor to respect time and urged the incoming minister to lock out  government appointees if they attend functions late.

In his second year as regional minister, Alhaji Limuna said he locked out some district chief executives for consistently attending government official functions late, and this did not go down well with some of them.

Alhaji Limuna, who is now the minister of food and agriculture, said through the support of the  staff of the regional co-ordinating council, the regional security committee (REGSEC) and the metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives, the region has seen improvement under the NDC government and urged them to give the same support to the incoming minister.

According to him, REGSEC has been able to reduce the number curfews from four to three and REGSEC members are not resting on their oars, especially in Yendi and in Bimbilla. Alhaji Limuna was confident that with the developmental projects across the region, the electorate will retain the NDC come the November 7 elections.

The former regional minister called for violence- free elections, saying political parties don’t need to engage in violence to win elections.

In a similar vein, the northern regional chairman of the NDC, Mr Awudu Sofo Azoka told Mr Abubakar to gear up because the region is not easy. He charged him to emulate the good leadership example of Alhaji Limuna and be ready to work with the regional security council at all times. “If don’t cooperate with REGSEC we will fire you,” he warned.

“Ask Alhaji Limuna, REGSEC is always alert because our ears are hard so you need to be proactive in responding to security issues,” Azoka said.

Continuing his advice, Mr Azoka told the incoming northern regional minister that governing the northern region is not a walk in the park and therefore urged him not to relax. The party he said, was targeting 57 percent of the vote in the north for President John Mahama. He also stressed that the NDC was not interested in violence.

The northern regional coordinating director, Alhaji Issahaku Alhassan assured the incoming minister of the civil servants commitment to supporting government policies.

He said as civil servants they do not belong to any political party and that they  only act on directions of the political heads. Alhaji Alhassan hailed Alhaji Limuna for his good working relationship with the RCC staff.

On his part, the new northern regional minister alluded to his experience and the conversations he had with former ministers after his appointment. They all lamented about how difficult it is to manage the region.

“I spoke to Mr S.S Nayina, Mr Moses Bukari Mabengba, Mr Bide Ziedeng and Alhaji Limuna, all former regional ministers and they all sang one song, the seat is hot,’’ he said.

He however gave the assurance that he will bring his NGO work experience with him and that only gives much credence to the process, adding that with constant consultation, the negative tag on the region will be reversed.

According to the new regional minister who spent his working life with NGOs, the northern region leads the nation with the highest number of NGOs,  yet young girls and boys still migrate to the south for head porter jobs. He also noted that some children are still out of school in spite of efforts by government and other stakeholders.

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