The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in accordance with Article 5 of the Constitution, has inaugurated a 9-Member Commission of Inquiry to inquire into the need and substantial demand, and to make recommendations on all the factors involved in the creation of a region or alteration of regional boundaries.
The 9-Member Commission is chaired by Justice S.A. Brobbey, a retired Supreme Court Judge, and has Dr. Grace Bediako, Maulvi Mohammed Bin-Salih, Prof. Kwasi Kwafo Adarkwa, Gladys Tetteh, Robert Ajene, David Wellington Essaw, Prof. George Owusu, and Ms. Josephine Hughes as its members.
President Akufo-Addo, pursuant to paragraph 3 of Constitutional Instrument, No. 105, gazetted on Thursday, 12th October, 2017, also appointed Mr. Jacob Saah, a lawyer with great interest in this aspect of our governance, as the Secretary to the Commission.
The inauguration of the Commission of Inquiry was conducted at the Presidency on Thursday, 19th October, 2017.
It will be recalled that on 26th June, 2017, President Akufo-Addo referred the petitions from persons and organisations in the Western, Volta, Brong Ahafo and Northern Regions to the Council of State for advice.
Subsequently, on 15th August, 2017, the Council of State, after a thorough examination of the matter, unanimously stated that, in its view, there was the need and substantial demand for the creation of new regions, and advised the President to proceed with the processes involving the creation of new Regions.
The next step of the process was for the President to appoint a Commission of Inquiry, which he has done by Constitutional Instrument, No. 105, gazetted on Thursday, 12th October, 2017.
The Terms of Reference of the Commission of Inquiry, according to the President, are set out in paragraph 4 of C.I. 105: They are: to inquire, pursuant to the petitions, into the need and substantial demand for the creation of new regions and, thereby, the alteration of Western Region, Brong Ahafo Region, Northern Region and Volta Region; to make recommendations to the President, based on its findings, on the creation of a region or alteration of regional boundaries; and to specify the issues to be determined by referendum and the places where the referendum should be held, where it makes recommendations for the creation of new regions and alteration of regional boundaries.
President Akufo-Addo noted that the Members of the Commission of Inquiry have been carefully selected, based on their diverse backgrounds and experiences that relate to the issue, and was grateful to them for accepting to perform this public service.
“I have no doubt that they will execute this constitutional duty to the very best of their abilities, and I am fully convinced that they would rise to the occasion, and exhibit professionalism in the discharge of their duties”, he added.
The President urged Ghanaians to ignore information or speculation being circulated on the alleged demarcation, naming or sitting of regional capitals.
“Indeed, there have not been any predetermined regional boundaries, specific names given to any region to be created, and siting of regional capitals by my Government. These are matters that are, properly, within the remit of the Commission, and will be dealt by them, and form part of their recommendations,” he added.
In the event that this Commission, through its consultations with the people, comes to the conclusion that there is a need and substantial demand for the creation of new regions or alteration of regional boundaries, President Akufo-Addo noted that he is required by Article 5 (4) of the Constitution to refer their recommendations to the Electoral Commission for the conduct of a Referendum in the specified areas, on the issues set forth by the Commission.
“The Electoral Commission must, then, conduct a Referendum, at which at least 50% of the persons entitled to vote cast their votes, and, of the votes cast, at least 80% cast in favour of the demand for the creation of a Region to succeed. At the end of the day, it is the will of the people that will determine the outcome,” he said.
Thus far, a number of relevant institutions, including the Regional Houses of Chiefs in the four Regions, Heads of Departments and Agencies in the four Regions under the auspices of the Offices of the Regional Coordinating Councils, Commissioners and key staff of the National Commission for Civic Education, Members of Parliament from the four Regions and the Leadership of the Electoral Commission have been sensitised.
President Akufo-Addo assured the Ghanaian people that the relevant constitutional provisions in this entire matter would be followed to the letter.