For several weeks now, some youths in the Volta Region following a Facebook post made by an Event Emcee and television personality, Korku Lumor have been campaigning for their roads to be fixed.
A movement which began on social media has over the past weeks received a high level of attention from media houses both in the Volta Region and in Accra.
Volta One TV, Joy News, Accra FM, Class FM, Global FM, Ho FM, West FM, Swiss FM, and several others have all offered their platforms to the campaigners to voice out their grievances.
Today, at about 1:00 PM, the campaigners led by Lawyer Adugu, Bismark Tay, Elvis Bomasa and the entire team released a press statement detailing their motive and expectation of which has become known today as fix volta roads campaign.
Read the statement below 👇👇👇👇👇👇
FIX VOLTA ROADS CAMPAIGN
C/O P O BOX MA 470, HO – V/R
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org || Convener: Dr Alphonse Dzakpasu
Contact: 0247 820 738 || Secretary: Andrews Adugu Esq.
4th September, 2019
Good afternoon distinguished ladies and gentlemen of the press and the public.
I wish to welcome and thank you all for making time to be here for this all-important press conference.
Why are we here?
We are gathered here today because of the sorry state in which the roads of the Volta Region are. For far too long, some major roads in our region have become more of death traps to lives and businesses than anything else. Calls upon calls from the people and stories upon stories by journalists over the years have not been able to get the authorities to act and fix these roads. There have been far too many promises probably than the total mileage of the roads but still, the roads have not been fixed.
Enough is enough. We cannot sit idle anymore and watch in despair as our roads continue to claim our lives, worsen our health conditions, destroy our businesses, vehicles and rob our country the needed revenue for development. We want Volta roads fixed now!
Who are we?
We are the fixed Volta Roads Campaign. A movement comprising over 1,000 individual professionals from diverse fields who reside, work and or have a close connection with the Volta Region and have felt the negative impact of these bad roads for so long. For the avoidance of doubt, let me state clearly that we are non-partisan, non-ethnocentric and definitely not funded or influenced by anyone or anything other than the sorry state of our roads.
What got us here?
Barely three weeks ago, one of the illustrious sons of this region, Korku Lumor, a PR and TV Personality who uses the Ho to Accra road quite frequently, got very angry after one such use of the road. He decided to share his frustration on social media and apparently, we were all unhappy about the sorry state of our roads. It became obvious we’ve all had enough of the negative effects of our roads and hence we all got connected by our frustration to form a formidable movement to demand action from government to fix our roads now. This is the power of one single voice and a testament to what can happen when people respond to the call to be citizens rather than spectators.
According to the MTTU, road traffic accidents in the Volta Region alone in 2016 claimed the lives of 147 people while leaving 633 injured to various degrees. Interestingly, for the same year, the number of deaths caused by world renowned deadly HIV / AIDS stood at 213.
Also, with the untapped and under-developed tourism of the region, one wonders how much is currently being generated from our tourist sites as against how much could have been generated. With the huge potentials of tourist sites such as Afadjato, Wli waterfalls, Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary, Likpe caves, Adaklu Mountain, Mount Gemi, etc in addition to the beautiful hotels in the region, we can only say that we have robbed ourselves as a country of the huge foreign exchange and local tourism revenue by not fixing the linking roads to these tourist sites.
If you talk to commercial drivers who ply our roads, they will probably tell you that they spend more money on maintenance than they pay their vehicle owners in terms of sales. Market women and other business owners will tell you the unthinkable loses and cost they incur as a result of our bad roads.
Health professionals will tell you the number of worsened health conditions and lives that are lost as a result of the nature of our roads. The list is endless because the condition of the road speaks for themselves.
For how long do we have to put up with this? For how long do we have to accept bad roads as part of our culture as Voltarians? We also deserve good roads. We pay taxes and we are definitely a part of this beautiful country, Ghana.
The effects of the state of the roads
More specifically, the sorry state of our roads affects us individually and collectively in these four areas: health, socio-economic development, education and tourism
The bad nature of the roads makes it difficult to ensure that patients who are referred to Ho Teaching Hospital are in safe condition before getting to the hospital. Also, some Health professionals are unwilling to accept postings to the locations with the bad roads in this region.
The Ho Teaching hospital and other health facilities are struggling with the required specialists because of the bad nature of the roads. Furthermore, the nature of the roads create more health problems for road users and complications for patients who ply the roads to seek health care. Mortalities and morbidities are on a serious increase because of accidents which are as a result of pot holes and in some cases, man holes.
The bad nature of the roads does not encourage people to move to sell their wares at commercial towns and markets such as Hohoe, Kpeve, etc. The alternative routes are more expensive to ply since there is increased cost of maintenance for vehicles and fuel. It also takes a longer time to get to destinations in the middle and northern belts of the region.
In addition, there is loss of potential revenue to the state because people are unwilling to do business in the region with such bad roads.
Volta region and by extension Oti Region has high number of secondary and tertiary institutions in areas with these bad roads. We have Colleges of Education, nurses and midwifery training schools, university campuses among others. Potential staff and students are reluctant to go to these schools because of the bad nature of the roads.
Volta Region has a lot of tourist sites that can generate huge revenue for the country. The roads leading to majority of these tourist sites are in very deplorable states. Afadzato, Wli waterfall, Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary, Likpe Caves, are among the many tourism goldmines waiting to be explored fully. The fixing of these roads will bring in more tourists, boost the local economy and encourage more investments. All these will boost the overall GDP of the country. It will also reduce unemployment and rural urban migration.
The promises that never got fulfilled
As stated earlier, there have been probably more promises to fix our roads than the mileage of the roads. Take for instance on Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, President Akuffo Addo while experiencing the ordeal on the Eastern corridor roads, promised that the road will be in fixed. The road Minister who was also on the journey with the President promised that the entire Eastern Corridor road will be completed before the end of President Akufo Addo’s first term in office. Today, that road is far from fixed and the first term is almost over. Also, somewhere November 2018, the Volta Regional Minister, Dr Archibald Letsa, was on here by this very Ho to Sokode dual carriage road and promised that the road will be fixed. We are currently standing on that road and we can all see its sorry state.
Before the 2016 elections, former president John Mahama and most of the MPs whose constituencies lie along these roads gave promises upon promises but no show. This has been the sad situation for us in the Volta Region. Government upon government just keeps promising and now we want to ask President Akuffo Addo to be different and just fix Volta roads now.
Our Petition to the President
As of yesterday, 3rd September, 2019 at exactly 12:01pm, a formal petition was delivered to the President at the Jubilee House to fix our roads. The petition was signed by our convener, Dr Alphonse Dzakpasu and Secretary, Lawyer Andrews Dodzi Adugu in addition to more than 1,000 campaigners online. The petition was equally copied and delivered to the Minister of Roads and Highways as well as the Volta Regional Minister and the media.
Deadline for start of works
In our petition to the president, we have given government up to 15th of September, 2019 to get contractors on site and begin work on three specific roads:
Juapong to Ho,
Asikuma to Jasikan and
Ho to Aflao roads.
We believe with the many assurances promised in the past, processes for work to resume on these roads can take 2 weeks to be completed. We are tired of the promises. All we want is action now!
If our demands are not met
As stated in our petition, if by the 15th of September, 2019 work has not resumed on the three specific roads, government would have given us no choice than to respond to the demand by our highly motivated colleague campaigners to embark on massive and series of lawful demonstrations across the country and even beyond. We do hope we don’t get there but we are prepared for it.
What happens when our demands are met?
We are optimistic that our President will save the lives of the people of this Region by fixing these roads. When work begins, we will definitely show appreciation for the commencement of work and completion. With the help of relevant professionals in this movement, we will track and monitor progress and quality of work being done. As much us we want the roads fixed now, we will not accept shoddy work.
Call for more support
It has been said that there is strength in numbers and rightly so. The sorry state of our roads affects the lives of all of us individually and collectively. We believe it is time we all come together and demand action.
We are therefore calling on the following professional bodies, unions and associations to not only endorse this campaign but to support and join the call for action to fix Volta roads now. We therefore call on:
The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Volta
The Ghana Medical Association (GMA), Volta
The Ghana Bar Association (GBA), Volta
Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Volta
The National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Volta
The Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT), Volta
Nurses and Midwifery Council, Volta
The Association of Surveyors, Volta
GPRTU and PROTOA, Volta
National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS), Volta
SRC’s of HTU, UHAS, EPUC and all Colleges of Education, Nursing and Midwifery Training colleges in the Volta Region
Market Women Associations
All other professional bodies and unions.
As stated earlier, we are non-partisan, neither do not we owe any allegiance to any individual, group or party. We will therefore not tolerate any individual, political party or group who will like to take advantage of this campaign for any ulterior, selfish and parochial reason. We will resist that in a very strong way.
We wish to appreciate the individual and collective efforts of our thousands of campaigners and sympathizers across the region and beyond, for all their efforts and sacrifices for the love of the region and the protection of our lives. We urge everyone to remain resolute and committed to the cause. We will definitely get Volta roads fixed.
Also, we thank the media houses in Ho and other parts of the region and beyond for giving us the platform to clarify our intentions and gather support for this campaign. We hope for even more support going forward.
We equally wish to thank the Volta GJA and all media persons present. Your support and stories over the years do not go unnoticed. We are in this together and we appreciate your efforts and professionalism. We seek for more collaboration for the greater good of our region and Ghana as a whole.
We wish to thank everyone gathered here for the honour of your presence and the assurance of your support of this campaign.
We want to appeal to everyone to use your voice and your power to support this campaign. Follow the campaign on social media at #fixvoltaroadsnow. Don’t sit on the fence. Share pictures and videos of your experiences on the roads and use the hashtags. Call in and have your say during our media engagements. We also call on government to develop a national policy on roads linking all regional capitals and major commercial towns in the various regions. Whatever you do, make your voice heard and demand action now.
Thank you all.
DR ALPHONSE DZAKPASU ANDREWS DODZI ADUGU Esq.