SOLIDARITY MESSAGE OF THE NORTHERN DEVELOPMENT FORUM TO BONABOTO ON THE OCCASION OF THEIR NINTH NATIONAL CONGRESS HELD IN BOLGATANGA ON 29TH DECEMBER, 2014. DELIVERED ON BEHALF OF THE NATIONAL CHAIRMAN – DR. HAKEEM WEMAH BY MR. SAMUEL ZAN AKOLOGO – CO-OPTED EXECUTIVE MEMBER.
Dearly Beloved Brothers and Sisters of BONABOTO, I greet you all with peace and love, on behalf of the entire membership of the Northern Development Forum (NDF). Allow me to wish you all Merry Christmas, knowing that your meeting is taking place within the Christmas Season. The NDF was born on 30th September, 2007 as a non-partisan and a non-sectarian Association dedicated solely to the development of the North. Indeed, from the time it was formed, we worked vigorously, in a non-partisan manner, to promote the establishment of a special program for Northern Ghana’s development. Through the erstwhile NPP to the current NDC administration we worked with all political parties to advocate for the establishment of the Northern Development Fund and now the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA).
From this brief overview of the NDF, allow me now to address some important messages, as Brothers and Sisters, to your entire membership assembled for this ninth National Congress. First of all, you will realize that BONABOTO is much older than the NDF. By this sheer fact of history, I believe that the NDF has lot to learn from you as your organizational formation antedates that of NDF. Moreover, your unique programmes and initiatives like the annual Frafra-Dagaaba Games have been sterling examples of how citizens can contribute towards national peace, unity and cohesion. Our acknowledgement of these efforts is both for our learning but also an assurance to you that the leadership of the NDF will continue to show our solidarity and support to BONABOTO.
Dearly Beloved Brothers and Sisters, kindly allow me once again, to express our appreciation to BONABOTO as collective and to your leadership for the cooperation that has existed between us over the years. Indeed, your members are very active in providing leadership, ideas and resources for the continuous growth of NDF. We thank you most sincerely.
While BONABOTO and the NDF are making every effort to promote peace and development in this country, it is rather regrettable that some tensions and divisions still prevail. Extreme partisan antagonisms, inter-ethnic conflicts and chieftaincy succession feuds threaten to reverse national progress. For an already impoverished Northern Ghana, these situations affect us disproportionately and exacerbate the conditions of our people. That is why we the elites and relatively advantaged than the majority of our people, must do all in our power to change the circumstances that affect our people negatively. There is therefore the need for BONABOTO and the NDF to continue to work together for the advancement of Northern Ghana as a contribution to the overall national effort to bridge the development gaps in Ghana. Development efforts that do not address inequalities are recipes for social and political turbulence. That is why the Northern Ghana development agenda must and should be a national agenda around which there must be undisputable consensus, going forward.
Dearly Beloved Brothers and Sisters, allow me further to offer a cautious advice to those of us who are at the helm of leadership of our two organizations. It will be more helpful if we steer clean away from taking sides in the situations that breed tensions in our communities; including chieftaincy and political parties. It is very difficult to bring people from various divides together when our own affiliation, as leaders, is so overtly public and deliberate. Perhaps we should just leave that to the rank and file of our members so that we the leaders can be the rendezvous for conciliation in times of disputes and disagreements. We can also easily negotiate and dialogue with government on behalf of our people regardless of whatever party is at the reigns of political power, if we do not combine our leadership roles with that of party-politics.
Finally, let me inform you, in one very concrete way, about how the NDF is learning fast from BONABOTO! This year 2014, we held our maiden NDF Family Day on 6th December at the Elwak Stadium in Accra. The three political regions in Northern Ghana were actively represented and demonstrated a spirit of unity in diversity. Indeed, it was very, very beautiful! We are happy to inform you that the event will be institutionalized as an annual activity of the NDF. As we are learning from you, it is our expectation that BONABOTO members will lend support to this event in very special ways.
Once again, accept our congratulations and best wishes for this ninth Congress of your Union. May its outcomes be beneficial to Ghana and the people of Northern Ghana in particular. May the coming year 2015, sustain the peace in our country. And may you all experience prosperity in your endeavours.
Thank you for making the NDF feel so very much a part of this enviable Union of citizens in the Bolgatanga, Nabdam, Bongo and Tongo areas and its environs.
Delivered, on Behalf of Dr Hakeem Wemah by Mr Samuel Zan Akologo (0244318807)