|Paramount Chief of Bawku, Naba Asigri Abugrago Azoka II (holding a white handkerchief)|
The President, who in a swift response to an appeal made by the chief some time ago for the reconstruction of the Bolgatanga-Bawku Road and an irrigation dam promised to satisfy those requests, was in the Upper East region Monday to, amid fanfare, cut sod for work to begin on both the road and the dam.
The delighted paramount chief told an equally joyous crowd of subjects when the President paid a visit to him at his palace that “one good turn deserves another”.
“If somebody does you good, we don’t return him with bad. It’s reciprocal. My yearnings have been fulfilled. Presidents have come and gone. Nobody has been able to satisfy my wishes and today you have come to do so. I’m dumfounded as to how to thank you. So, what do we do in return? One good turn deserves another. We should all vote for him in the upcoming elections to retain power,” the paramount ruler of the Kusaug Kingdom told his subjects [translated] amid cheers and tooting of vuvuzelas.
The chief, in a speech read for him by his secretary, Thomas Abilla, added: “We in Kusaug are most grateful to the President for these two major projects which he has agreed to implement, the Tamne Irrigation Dam and the Bawku-Bolgatanga Highway. It is most gratifying to note that the road will not just terminate in Bawku, but will get to Pulmakom near Ghana’s border with the Republic of Togo. This will enhance our road connection with our northern neighbours, the Republic of Togo, Burkina Faso and Niger, and facilitate our trading activities with them.”
New road to advance Ghana’s economic growth ? President
Queiroz Galvão, the same Brazilian company engaged recently to upgrade the Tamale Airport in the Northern Region to an international status, has been awarded the Bolgatanga-Bawku Road and asked to extend the project to Pulmakom.
When completed, the road would have three bridges across the Kola River, the White Volta and the Red Volta. Other features the road is also expected to have include speed ramps, streetlights, bus-stops and a bypass. Some portions of the 115-kilometre-long highway, particularly at Bolgatanga, Zebilla and Bawku, also would be dual carriage with 176 new culverts.
“It’s a very complex job. We expect that the work would be completed in 24 months. But once that job is finished, the Bolga-Bawku-Pulmakom will be one of the best roads that you can find in this country. In addition, this road is going to join up with the Eastern Corridor Road. We are working on six different segments of the Eastern Corridor Road. And there is a final segment left, which is the Nakpanduri to Kulungugu. And it is a section that we are going to start engineering from next year.
“The Bolga-Bawku-Pulmakom Road would link with the Kulungugu-Nakpanduri Road so that for those in Bawku, Zebilla, Pusiga, Misiga, Garu, Tempane, who have to go southwards, you don’t have to drive 111 kilometres back to Bolga before you go through Walewale and Tamale to Accra. You will rather go through Garu-Tempane to Nakpanduri, to Tema Roundabout and then, Motorway,” President Mahama told the chiefs and people of Bawku at the palace of the paramount chief.
He added: This will advance Ghana’s economic growth because we know that your area is a very rich agricultural growing region. So, if we make it easier for you to move your crops to the markets in the south, it would help to make food more available and make food more affordable for all the people of Ghana.”
Students mob President for feeding grants
The recent delay in the release of feeding grants to second-cycle institutions has left schools in northern Ghana in serious dilemma, with their instructional timetables also thrown off balance in its wake.
Aware the presidential motorcade would wheel through the township, scores of students from the Bawku Senior High School and the Bawku Technical Institute poured onto the highway not just to catch a glimpse of the President but also to drum home their agitations over the feeding grants.
The President, soon after the convoy had stopped around a portion of the highway that separates the two schools, came out from the roof of his car and spoke of government’s commitment so far to the expansion of infrastructure across the schools nationwide.
But the students, who hailed the President over his touted achievements, sounded more concerned about their feeding crisis. As some chorused very loud for the release of the grants without delay, others cried even louder for a school bus. The President, who seemed to hear only those who asked for a bus, got deafening cheers back when he promised to secure one for their school. And that promise was for the Bawku Technical Institute.
The students' outcry over the feeding grants may continue to jingle in the President's ears as he wraps up his tour of the region Tuesday still scheduled to commission at least one project on a senior secondary school campus among other activities.