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Chiefs, Opinion Leaders School on APRM

2007-03-02 11:31:27
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The Chairman of Ghana’s African Peer Review Mechanism Governing Council (APRM-GC), Professor S K Agyapong, on Wednesday stressed the need for attitudinal change on the part of Ghanaians if the nation is to attain its developmental aspirations.

He said: "We have to discard this attitude of self-centredness, which has become so pervasive in our society today and put our nation, our communities first in our everyday endeavours," and urged traditional authorities to play a leading role in the crusade.

Professor Agyapong made the call at a one-day dissemination workshop on the APRM organised in Bolgatanga for over 60 participants comprising chiefs, elders, traditional council registrars and women opinion leaders in the Upper East Region.

The Professor also cited the poor time consciousness of Ghanaians and the tendency for incoming governments to throw overboard all programmes, plans, ideas and ongoing projects of the previous regime as other negative trends that had to be changed, as they caused untold financial loss to the nation.

He said: "In most instances, the projects and ideas were abandoned not because they were not laudable but just for the mere reason that they were initiated by a perceived rival regime," adding "let us learn to preserve rather than destroy."

Professor Agyapong also expressed concern about the rate of environmental degradation in the Upper East and Upper West regions and appealed to traditional rulers in the area to mobilise their communities to undertake tree planting on a massive scale when the rains set in, indicating that government would be prepared to support them with logistics.

The Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Boniface Gambila, observed that traditional rulers had been worthy partners of government since the colonial era and that on the nation’s march towards good governance the inclusion of chiefs was a matter of great importance.

He stressed the need to provide the various traditional council secretariats with qualified professionals and the requisite work tools, saying that this would not only make them more effective in the discharge of their roles but would also enable them to contribute meaningfully to national progress.

He said: "Time has come to strengthen the capacity of traditional rulers and empower them to provide quality leadership in their communities, and the nation as a whole."

Mr Gambila urged chiefs in the area to ensure that community resources were efficiently harnessed and utilised for the collective benefit of the people.

In a welcoming address Bishop Paul Bemile, Member of the APRM-GC, explained that the purpose of the workshop was to present the highlights of the Country Review Report to stakeholders in the Region and to solicit the support of traditional rulers and other opinion leaders in monitoring the implementation of the APRM Programme of Action.

He announced that the National Governing Council would from this year promote the formation of District APRM oversight committees to educate the populace on the implementation and monitoring of the Programme of Action.

"Indeed, Ghana has become a model of emulation in the implementation of the APRM in Africa," he said, adding that the Governing Council had shared Ghana’s experience at the African Governance Forum and other countries both within and outside Africa.

Other members of the National Governing Council present at the workshop included Dr S K B Asante, Dr Francis Appiah, Executive Secretary and Mr Sam Cudjoe, Principal Programme Officer of NAPRM.

In his closing remarks Mr Robert Ajene, a retired educationist who chaired the function, noted that even though Ghana’s decentralisation programme had gone on for more than two decades now, power was still effectively centralised in Accra.

He said: "State officials still spend precious time and public funds travelling to Accra to pursue matters that could have been conveniently handled at the regional level, all at the expense of the tax payer."

Mr Ajene urged government to take measures to ensure the effective implementation of the decentralisation policy.

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