Former President John Dramani Mahama has described the current state of the E-blocks his government was constructing nationwide under a community day school project before he lost power in 2016 as “a disgrace” to Ghana’s reputation.
He told eminent traditional chiefs in a meeting held on Tuesday in the Upper East Region that the unfinished buildings had been abandoned by the current government and asked them to lend their weight as “the moral voices of society” to calls being made by the citizenry on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to continue and complete the projects.
“When we decided to build community day schools, the Upper East Region got its fair share of the community day schools― the E-blocks. Governance is supposed to be a continuum. And so when a government takes over from the other, it continues what the previous government was doing. When I came into office, as best as I could, the projects that we had inherited from the preceding government, we tried to continue them. Some we concluded, some we finished [and] others were moved to another level so that another government can also continue based on the resource envelope that was available to us.
“And so, I’ll urge that you continue to urge on this President that the E-blocks that are standing, they are a disgrace to our national reputation. Because as I have said before, it’s not my Education Minister here, Naana Opoku-Agyemang, who was my running-mate in 2020, who financed them out of her pockets. Or it wasn’t me who financed them out of my pocket. It was the taxpayer’s money― your money and my money that we used to put up those blocks. Some are near completion. Others are at various stages and they’ve just been abandoned. And today, we don’t have enough capacity in secondary school. The children are not getting enough contact time with their teachers,” he stated.
The Tuesday’s meeting at the Upper East Regional House of Chiefs was part of the activities outlined for his thank-you visit to the region at the back of the 2020 polls he contested as presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
“And it’s not only schools. It is road projects, it is hospital projects― we should continue them so that our people can benefit from the money that has been invested in those places. And because you are the moral voices of our society, when you talk, your voice goes far.
“And so, in the issue of development and things, I think you shouldn’t keep quiet. You should continue to draw government’s attention to taxpayer’s money that is being wasted by the numerous abandoned projects that we have in your traditional areas,” urged the former Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Mahama’s “beautiful attributes” raised Ghana’s image― House of Chiefs
Members of Parliament (MPs) from the NDC side in the region and former top government officials including former Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, and the party’s 2020 vice-presidential candidate, Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, were present.
Addressing the gathering, the President of the Upper East Regional House of Chiefs and Paramount Chief of Chiana, Pe Ditundini Adiali Thomas-More, spoke well of Mahama, describing him as a preacher and an embodiment of peace.
“The thought and the decision to factor this august house into your programme really delights us so much. In fact, it shows respect for the traditional authorities in this country. We acknowledge your calm composure whilst you were a sitting president and out of office. The [definite] observation is that you do not only preach peace but you are also an epitome of peace.
“Even in the face of extreme provocation, you always have a way of diffusing tension. Your handling of the recent election petition ruling spoke volumes of the type of person you are. Conflicts retard development and we must collectively guard against anything that can plunge this nation into chaos. These beautiful attributes of yours have placed this country on a higher pedestal when it comes to democratic governance,” he said.
The paramount chief also went scriptural, likening the thank-you tour by Mahama (despite not achieving his ultimate presidency goal at the 2020 polls) to the gratitude shown to Jesus Christ in the Bible by only one amongst some ten lepers he cured.
“Indeed, thanksgivings are biblical as our Lord Jesus Christ in Luke 15:17 had cause to ask the whereabouts of the other nine lepers he cured the previous day when only one out of the ten came to thank him.
“Your Excellency, this region remains very thankful to you for the numerous developmental projects and infrastructure seen during your tenure as President. Wherever you find yourself in this unpredictable life, remember you have a second home. That is the Upper East Region,” stated the Regional House of Chiefs’ President who doubles as a member of the National House of Chiefs.