The general secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, has cautioned people living along the stretch of the Eastern Corridor Road, from the coast to the Burkina Faso border, not to be deceived a second time by the New Patriotic Party (NPP), as the ruling party in its desperation to retain power, is rehashing its failed 2016 election promise to construct the road after four wasteful years in government.
He said the government is using the road it has deliberately abandoned since it assumed power in 2017 yet again, as a bait to entice voters interested in having the road constructed to fall into its trap of grand deception a second time.
Addressing party faithful at the Hohoe Constituency campaign laugh at St Francis Teacher Training College, the NDC general secretary said the moribund NPP government has no intention of constructing the Eastern Corridor Road for purely parochial political reasons and admonished the electorate to be wary of promises by the NPP in order not to fall into its trap again in the 2020 election.
Hear him: “I want to indicate and caution you that if there is any government that will build the Eastern corridor road, it has to be an NDC government. Don’t fall for any lies. In fact, if they intended to build it, they would have made commendable progress under this 4 years. But what have you seen?”
Mr Asiedu Nketia said the NPP went to all lengths to sabotage the Chinese loan constructed by the Atta Mills-led NDC government, half of which was dedicated to the Eastern Corridor Road, saying the “…they [NPP] were telling us in private that this loan will never come and indeed it never came. So how can somebody who was sabotaging the source of funding of a project turn round to come and tell you that if they were in power they would have done it better? That is the bait in the trap.”
He said what has happened to the Eastern Corridor Road over the past 4 years is testimony of the fact of history. According to him, the history behind the idea of the Eastern and Western Corridor Roads shows clearly that the Danquah-Busia political group has been against the whole idea from day one, and that it is not surprising that its offspring, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), is doing everything to sabotage the effort by the NDC to actualise the noble idea.
He said the Eastern and Western Corridor roads were conceptualised by Ghana’s first President, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah but the idea does not sit well with NPP’s political tradition.
According to Mr Asiedu Nketia, “Before you can appreciate who will do the Eastern Corridor Road, you need to understand the history behind the Eastern Corridor Road in the first place. Those of you who have studied the history of this country, you realise that before independence, there were several inter-tribal wars in this territory. Those wars were fought over who controls the trade along the coast. And so you will always hear that Ashantis have invaded the Fantes, Ashantis have invaded this group and that group….all they wanted to do was to have direct access to the trade along the coast.”
“The white men came here not to capture us, they came to trade and that is how come they built castles along the coast and these were supposed to be trading posts. So when the tribal wars settled, with the domination of the Ashanti Kingdom, what they [Ashantis] did was to block every tribe to the northern part of Ashanti from having access to the coast, unless they pass through Ashanti. And that is how come at the time of independence, you saw that there was only one road that led to the coast. So wherever you come from, Upper West, Upper East, North East…. wherever, you must necessarily pass through Kumasi and pass through Akyem before you can come to the coast.
“What this means is domination of trade and businesses. So everybody to the north of Ashanti must buy their goods second hand from the Ashantis. In other words, the Ashantis will come and buy from the coast and resell to everybody to the north. And that is how revenues were earned to build the Ashanti Kingdom.
He said when Dr Kwame Nkrumah became president of this country he had his biggest opposition from the Ashanti and Akyem areas whiles the northern sector gave him maximum support. But anytime Dr Nkrumah had to go to the north, he must of necessity pass through Ashanti, and also anytime his party, the Convention People’s Party (CPP) CPP people would have to come down south, they must of necessity pass through Ashanti.
He said “When the Ashantis mount a blockade, nobody from the northern sector could access the coast and vice versa. That was when Osagyefo decided that there must be two other alternative routes, to the central corridor, to the coast. One was called the Western Corridor and the second one was called the Eastern Corridor road.”
He said the purpose of the western and eastern corridor was inherited by the NDC since Dr Kwame Nkrumah could not implement that projects and that it took the NDC and Prof Mills to start thinking about Western and Eastern corridor many years after the conceptualization.
“So to cut a long story short, NDC believes in breaking down this monopoly over trade and businesses. So that everybody from the north can access the coast without necessarily passing through the central corridor. And that is how Prof Mills decided that let us implement this Osagyefo’s project,” he indicated.
The NDC general secretary said “So when we tackled the Eastern Corridor road and NPP came here campaigning, they wouldn’t tell you they hate the Eastern Corridor Road. But what they told you was that they will be the better people to implement it faster than the NDC was doing. And mind you, there is no trap without a bait. If you want to trap a monkey, you put banana inside the trap. If you want to trap a crocodile, put a chick there. So every trap has a bait. If they had come here to tell you that we don’t believe in the idea of Eastern Corridor because it is going to break the monopoly of our stronghold, where the financiers of NPP are located, if they told you that, you wouldn’t have voted for them.”
He reminded the people that there is no way that the NPP will not stab itself in the back by building the Eastern Corridor that will break the monopoly of trade, business and industries from the central corridor where their financiers located.
He said the Hohoe seat is non-negotiable and that, it is an NDC for the people of the Volta region and Hohoe.
“You cannot belong to a political party that will treat the people of Hohoe as second class citizens and when it comes to elections, you come and dish out monies,” he pointed out.
Source: Desmond Darko || The Catalyst Newspaper