President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called on chiefs from the Northern Region to speedily settle all chieftaincy, land and ethnic disputes to accelerate the development and progress of the area.
He made a passionate appeal to eminent traditional rulers handling the 15-year-old Dagbon chieftaincy crises to find an amicable and lasting solution to the conflict, to enable the people of Yendi install a new Ya Na, during the Damba Festival in December.
President Akufo-Addo made the call when the Regent of Gonjaland, Tun Tumba Yagbong Wura Boresa Sulemana, and the Overlord of the Mamprugu Traditional Area, Nayiri Naa Bohigu Abdullai Mahami Sheriga paid separate calls on him at the Flagstaff House.
The traditional rulers were there to congratulate him on his victory at the December 2016 polls and for his ascension to the highest office of the land, as well as table their concerns to him for redress.
Emphatic on the need for peace and tranquility in the north, President Akufo-Addo said those areas of the country were the most deprived and that the continuous engagement in conflict of any kind would deny the area of the expected development that his administration had lined out in policies and programmes for the entire country.
The President expressed confidence in the eminent chiefs, including the Asantehene, Otumfuor Osei Tutu II, negotiating peace in Dabgon, would find a solution that would bring closure to the conflict in the area.
He said the time had come for all to work together to find a lasting solution, thus, government would support any decision the chiefs arrived at to deal with the issue.
"My understanding is that now, the possibilities for it (peace) are very strong. Peace in Dagbon doesn’t just involve Dagbon. It involves the whole Ghana. It is a matter of high national priority to get Dagbon to succeed.
"We are prepared to support fully, any formula that you (traditional leaders) think will bring lasting peace,” President Akufo-Addo said adding that it was in the interest of Dagbon and the entire Ghana that there was a roadmap that all could support to bring peace to the area.
“I would love to see that this year, by the time of the Damba Festival in December, there is a new Ya Na in Yendi. I am counting on you to help this to happen," he said, and urged the chiefs and people of the area to support the eminent rulers to solve the problem.
On a request by the traditional rulers for the creation of a new region from the Northern Region due to its large size that made it difficult to settle land and chieftaincy issues, President Akufo-Addo explained that all due processes to the realisation of those plans were well afoot.
He asked the chiefs and leaders to educate their people to actively participate in the process leading to the creation of the new region, saying; “There is work to be done. So you chiefs would have to use your influence to get your people to support the move.”
He told them that based on the advice from the Council of State to proceed to create the new region, he would constitute a Commission of Enquiry, latest by next week, to start taking views from the people on their demand for new regions.
Based on the work and recommendation of the Committee, and “if everything goes well, by May next year, there could be a referendum if there is a broad demand for the creation of new regions,” he said.
President AKufo-Addo promised the chiefs and people of Dagbon that the Government would construct a teachers' training college in the area to improve the quality of basic education there.
He said the promises he made to Ghanaians to win last years' election were not made just to win votes but to transform the lives and fortunes of Ghanaians.
The two leaders, in separate addresses, commended the President for his commitment to implement policies such as the Free Senior High School, One District One Factory, and One Village One Dam and wished him well.
They express their commitment to support the President and his Government to improve the living condition of the people in their respective traditional areas.