Stakeholders call for improvement in nation’s electioneering processes


Some stakeholders have called for improvement in the nation’s electioneering processes to ensure credible, free and fair elections in 2027.

They stated this on Thursday at a town hall meeting m in Ibadan to review the 2023 general elections in Nigeria.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that SOS Children’s Village Nigeria organised the meeting with community stakeholders in Akiny?le and Ibadan North Local Government Areas.

The Assistant Secretary, Joint Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), Musa Akinsawe, emphasised the need to increase access for persons with disabilities and involve them in planning during electioneering processes.

He also stressed constant reorientation for electoral officers and continuous voter education.

‘Part of what we are clamouring for is accessibility to electoral venues and convenience in voting.

‘Elections for people living with disabilities must be easily accessible; the ballot box must be where PWDs can vote without being assisted by anyone,” Akinsawe
said.

Also, the Assistant Secretary, National Council for Women Societies, Chief Isimiola Olowoyo, identified the need for increased community engagement to restore eroded cultural values.

Olowoyo said such engagements came up toward the 2023 general elections and that her association would sustain them.

She said this would ensure that the right values were imbibed to translate later to good governance in Nigeria.

According to her, lapses recorded in the last elections, such as inadequate security personnel, should be worked on.

‘They should empower more security officers so that there will be no violence and there were places where electoral materials were not available on time; this should be worked on,’ Olowoyo said.

Representatives of religious bodies and traditional rulers from the two local government areas called for continuous voter registration and increased awareness from the basic education level.

The Programme Officer, SOS Children’s Village Nigeria, Grace Sambo, said communities should lea
rn from past elections and choose their representatives based on competency.

Sambo said ethnicity, tribalism and religion should not be the criteria to elect leaders, adding that sentiments must be thrown away.

Calling for social reengineering, Sambo identified the benefits of peaceful elections and existence to include family stability which would impact children positively.

Also, the state Coordinator, SOS Children’s Village Nigeria, Mr Gabriel Adajie, urged participants to rejuvenate cultural norms that promote value systems in communities.

According to him, poverty and other factors have been weaponised to divide Nigerians, hence the need to change the narrative come 2027.

He noted that the electorates were, in a way, encouraging the political class to continue with the norm in the country.

‘For us to change what is on the ground, we have to make sacrifices. We need to endure hunger so as not to continue to make the same mistakes,’ Adajie said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

ECG attributes absence of load shedding schedule to supply uncertainty

Mr Kwadwo Obeng, the Deputy Managing Director of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) says the company cannot provide a planned load shedding schedule to customers because of uncertainties in power supply.

He said it would be difficult to adhere strictly to the timetable especially when not all outages were a result of fuel supply challenges.

Mr Obeng explained that outages could be a result of planned maintenance, network fault, as well as theft and vandalism.

‘We said that because information of about how much to be shared was erratic, we couldn’t really provide a timetable, because in the morning we could say that we need to shed just 40 (megawatts) at 8 o’ clock. And imagine we prepared a table to shed 40 and by 12 pm that situation changes.

‘We realise that even if we prepare a timetable, there would be lot of inconsistencies. And the worst we want to have as a nation would be for the utility provider to say you would go off and then you don’t go off, or your outage exceeds the stipulated period,’
he said.

He was speaking at a public forum organised by Civil Society Organisations (CSO’S) on how to address the current power challenges facing the country.

Mr Albert Ayirebi-Acquah, a representative of the Independent Power Producers (IPP) who generate about 2339 megawatts said the IPPs have in the past three years generated about 40 per cent of the country’s power needs.

‘Although we don’t have the 2024 power plan, we expect to contribute over 50 per cent of power generated in the country,’ he said

He cited the unavailability of fuel, and failure of government to meet its financial obligations to the IPPs as factors to the ongoing power crisis.

Mr Ayirebi-Acquah said the Cash Waterfall Mechanism (CWM), a system established to collect and pay revenue to power generators, was not a panacea to the constraints in the power sector.

He noted that the IPPs accept that the CWM in its current form as an interim measure that provides some level of certainty and predictability of payment from ECG.

Mr Ayirebi-
Acquah said that it was important for current commitment under CWM be honoured in a timely manner to enable IPPs meet financial obligations.

He also called for a representation of IPPs on the CWM implementation committee to improve transparency, efficiency and ensure due consideration are given to their concerns.

Other stakeholders present at the forum were the Public Utility Regulatory Commission, Volta River Authority and the Ghana Grid Company Limited.

Source: Ghana News Agency

GHS commended for prompt action on patient abandoned in bush

Dr. Bernard Okoe-Boye, the Minister of Health, has commended the Ghana Health Service (GHS) for setting up an investigative committee to look into the case of a patient allegedly abandoned in a bush at Gomoa Ojobi by the Trauma and Specialist Hospital, Winneba.

‘I appreciate the prompt action taken by the Ghana Health Service to constitute a committee to conduct an independent inquiry into the matter, the Minister said in a response letter to the Ghana Health Service.

An earlier letter from the Service addressed to the Health Minister said it had constituted a five-member committee to investigate the incident.

The Medical Director of the Trauma and Specialist Hospital at Winneba in the Central Region has also been temporarily relieved of his post pending outcome of investigations.

An accident victim who died on Monday, was allegedly dumped in the bush by an ambulance from the trauma hospital because her relatives never showed up at hospital.

Dr Okoe-Boye said he was confident that the committee would unc
over the facts surrounding the unfortunate incident and make recommendations to prevent such occurrences in the future.

‘I have taken notice of the decision to direct the Medical Director of the hospital to step aside from his post pending the outcome of the investigation,’ he added.

He directed that the committee should conclude its work and submit a report to the Ministry within 30 days from the date the committee was constituted.

‘Thank you for your efforts to ensure the integrity of the health care system in Ghana,’ he said.

Source: Ghana News Agency

NAPRM-GC to collaborate with AfCFTA National Coordinating Office to empower businesses

Mrs Kathleen Quartey Ayensu, council member, National African Peer Review Mechanism- Governing Council (NAPRM-GC), said the Council will collaborate with the AfCFTA National Coordinating Office in empowering Ghana businesses to leverage the enormous prospects offered by the continental market.

She said though the National Coordinating Office of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was located in Accra, the country had to nurture it domestically so that people would be aware of it and take advantage of it to grow their businesses.

Mrs Ayensu was speaking at a knowledge empowerment workshop for District Oversight Committees (DOCs) of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) in Ho, in the Volta Region on the Targeted Review of Ghana and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

In 2023, NAPRM- GC in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration together with the continental APRM secretariat facilitated the Country Review Mission for the conduct of the Targeted R
eview of Ghana on the theme, ‘Corporate Governance as a Catalyst for the Implementation of AfCFTA in Ghana.’

This targeted review was a focused governance assessment which examined key corporate governance and intra-African trade challenges that must be addressed to facilitate the implementation of the AfCFTA in the country.

The review offers the opportunity to strengthen good governance practices for Micro and Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), the most dominant private sector in Ghana to also access the enormous AfCFTA markets.

This is important because, the Ghana Enterprise Agency (GEA) indicates that the MSMEs sector which is the backbone of the Ghanaian economy is made up of 1.7 million of the estimated 2.1 million businesses in Ghana and employs 2.5 million people with a cumulative contribution of 75 per cent of national GDP.

Therefore, their ability to harness the AfCFTA opportunities will result in increased foreign exchange earnings and national income as well as the creation of vast employmen
t opportunities in Ghana.

Mrs Ayensu said the workshop formed part of NAPRM-GC’s agenda to empower the DOCs with knowledge on the Targeted Review of Ghana on the AfCFTA and corporate governance and their role in facilitating intra-African trade under the AfCFTA initiative.

It aimed to revitalise the DOCs at the districts to enable them to play their role in the dissemination of the targeted review outcomes and in the promotion of citizens ownership and participation in the monitoring and evaluation of the programme of action of the Targeted Review of Ghana report.

Mrs Ayensu, said at the heart of APRM’s success lay the principle of local ownership and participation and the DOCs exemplified this ethos, serving as grassroots advocates for good governance and community development.

The Chairman emphasised the importance of the workshop in enhancing the awareness of the DOCs on the significant role of the APRM in facilitating the implementation of the AfCFTA through the recent targeted review of Ghana.

Sour
ce: Ghana News Agency

Roads Minister inspects ongoing road projects in Northern Region

Mr Francis Asenso-Boakye, Minister for Roads and Highways has inspected some ongoing road projects in the Northern Region to assess progress of work on them.

They included the 168-kilometre Tamale to Tatali Road, 140-km stretch of roads in the Gushegu Municipality, the 5km Pong Tamale to Kpalung to Larigu Road, and the 13km Savelugu by-pass, which were all at various stages of completion.

Mr Asenso-Boakye, in an interaction with the press at the construction site at Yendi, said the roads, when completed, would boost socio-economic activities, ease traffic congestion and long traveling distances for motorists in the areas.

He said: ‘All these trunk roads are going to enhance agricultural activities, promote trade, tourism and generally promote economic development. These are major projects that are going to change the dynamics of Dagbon and the Northern Region.’

He added that ‘We are doing this because we believe that it is going to take us to the next level of development, and so far, throughout my inspec
tion tour, I am so impressed about the progress of work in the region.’

He was optimistic that the Yendi to Tatale Road would be completed by November, this year.

Mr Asenso-Boakye, as part of his inspection tour, also paid courtesy calls on Paramount Chiefs of Karaga, and Gushegu as well as the Overlord of Dagbon, Ya-Na Abukari (II) to brief them about his visit to the region.

Ya-Na Abukari (II) commended the government for initiating the projects in the area.

He appealed to the Minister to take keen interest in the construction of the Kumbungu to Savelugu Road, Jemli to Tidjo to Tampion Road and other strategic roads in some farming communities in the area.

He said, ‘The people of Dagbon are yearning to see these roads constructed to reduce the daily accidents on the roads and increase the socio-economic activities in those areas.’

Source: Ghana News Agency

Green Damongo Project: Damongo to become the greenest city in Ghana

in alignment with the Government’s Green Ghana Project, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, the Lands and Natural Resources Minister and Member of Parliament for Damongo, has initiated ‘Green Damongo Project’ a privately-led tree planting drive in his constituency.

The initiative is intended to plant 32,000 tree seedlings in Damongo and its surrounding areas to beautify the constituency and contribute to the fight against climate change.

Mr Jinapor launched the ‘Green Damongo Project’ at a ceremony in Damongo on Friday, June 14, which saw the MP underscoring his unalloyed commitment to greening Ghana and building a resilient ecosystem.

The first phase of Green Damongo project will involve planting approximately 2,670 trees along major roads in the town and selected sites including the old and new markets, the Agric College junction to Kasha restaurant, from Sawla highway to the RCC, as well as the road from the Military Junction to the hospital.

The second phase will extend over 66 kilometres on each side of the road
between Jojo Pe and Damongo, while the third phase will encompass each side of the road between Damongo and Sieyiri, totaling 83 kilometres.

Tree species selected for the Green Damongo Project include the Savannah Mahogany and Cassia.

Mr Jinapor, in an address, charged the constituents to be custodians of environmental sustainability by embracing the project and assume the responsibility of protecting the environment from harmful practices.

He highlighted the objectives of the Green Damongo project including raising awareness on the need for collective action to restore the degraded landscape in Damongo and instil the values of tree planting and nurturing them to maturity.

‘I stand before you today, in all humility and modesty, to say that, the Green Ghana Day initiative has been wholeheartedly embraced by the entire citizenry and residents of Ghana. As Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, under whose stewardship this project was birthed, I have decided to bring the project home,’ he said.

‘For it i
s said, ‘the power of a great idea is amplified when it is shared with the place that holds your heart.

‘This morning, I am honoured to share with you a vision that is close to my heart and crucial for the future of our community, ‘the Green Damongo Project.’ Ours is a Constituency that is blessed with vibrant people, rich culture, and a promising future.

‘However, to ensure that our future remains bright, we must take concrete steps today to safeguard our environment. One such step is the planting of trees on the medians of our roads.

‘Therefore, it is with great pleasure and deep sense of optimism that I unite with you once again, to launch this significant initiative, in our beloved Constituency. Today, we come together not just as natives and residents of Damongo, but as custodians of our environment, united by a shared responsibility to nurture and protect the natural environment that sustains us,’ Mr Jinapor stated.

The colourful ceremony was attended by several dignitaries including traditional lea
ders, the Municipal Chief Executive for Damongo, Mr Musah Karim Kusobari, and Deputy CEO of Forestry Commission, Mr. Nyadia Sulemana Nelson.

There was a commemorative tree planting to symbolically outdoor the initiative.

Mr Karim Musah, the West Gonja Municipal Chief Executive, paid special tribute to the Lands Minister for the initiative, describing it as a laudable gesture that would go a long to help curb deforestation and land degradation in the area.

He explained that the municipality would ensure the success of the project by forming committees to monitor and nurture the trees planted.

The Green Ghana Project was launched in 2021 by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

It is under the auspices of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Forestry Commission.

The initiative has become a significant action for protecting and enhancing Ghana’s forest cover.

Source: Ghana News Agency

EU consultant says AI, art can play significant roles in food security


Patricia Carvalho, a Policy Support Consultant of the European Union (EU) said science, technology in the form of Artificial Intelligence (AI), arts, and culture have significant roles to play in ensuring food security in Africa.

Carvalho said this via webinar in the course of a media briefing organised to unveil the S-T-ARTS4AFRICA Programme, an art-driven initiative aimed at creating opportunities for African artists to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to proffer solutions.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the S-T-ARTS4AFRICA Programme is an initiative driven in Nigeria by the Gallery of Code, a research, development, and innovation company.

The EU consultant said it would be intriguing to get to the core of what artists could achieve in promoting food security and access to clean water using science and technology tools such as AI.

‘We believe that science, technology, arts, and culture can play a significant role in tackling socio-economic and ecological challenges that are science-relate
d.

‘Through host institutions like the Gallery of Code, using an already existing approach from the European continent, we are connecting local and international artists with regional stakeholders to boost synergy among continents.

‘Currently, there are eight residencies going on in Africa under the S-T-ARTS4AFRICA programme.

‘One of the residencies is in Nigeria. The second one is in Tanzania. The third one is in Senegal, and there are two in Ghana, among others.

‘At the end of the projects, there will be a final event in Senegal to bring all the residency hosts together at a meeting point to connect.

‘It is a short project but not a one-off collaboration, and I believe that lessons will be taken away from it and will be applied across continents,’ she said.

She reaffirmed EU’s commitment to supporting the programme and praised the visual artist that the Gallery of Code is working with to develop an innovative modular storage system for roots and tubers like Yams.

Speaking at the briefing, Mr Oscar E
kponimo, the Managing Director of Gallery of Code, stated that the initiative is a dedicated version of STARTS for Africa, an EU-led intervention in Nigeria.

‘STARTS was initiated in 2016 but now there is a dedicated version for Africa.

‘This is the first phase and the first time this is coming up in Africa and a Nigerian has been selected from among 300 applicants.

‘Jibril Baba, a visual artist, has just been awarded a grant to support his project – a smart technology (model) that will address food storage challenges, boost food production, and curb rising food insecurity gaps in Nigeria,’ he said.

Ekponimo stated that the EU is pushing for innovations, with an artistic perspective because innovation is more practical and impactful when it is artistically driven.

‘Our visual artist that has been selected is to implement a model yam barn that will use artificial intelligence to monitor the change in climate conditions and also check the air quality around the yams, as well as monitor the possibility of s
poilage.

‘This will automatically control food wastage and address food insecurity.

‘This will be the first of it’s kind and the project is still in its early stages,

‘We have just finished the reflection stage and going further to the actualisation stage.

‘I am happy to say that there will be a final exhibition in Nigeria and our artist has also been selected to exhibit at a festival that will be held in Austria early in September,’ he added.

Dr Femi Adeluyi, the National Co-ordinator, National Talent Export Programme (NATEP), a new initiative of the Federal Government, said the project ‘is in full alignment with what the President Bola Tinubu administration seeks to achieve by investing in the creative industry.

‘This is a good model that could be enhanced and made elaborate.

‘Today it’s yams we are focusing on. Tomorrow it could be another agricultural product, and we can leverage this one.

‘We want opportunities where our artists can showcase their skills and our products abroad and then benefit
from such investments.

‘This can enhance our socio-economic strength, and it shows we have a lot of value that we can bring to the table,’ he said.

Speaking on the initiative, Baba said the core of the project ‘is a prototype yam barn; a modular storage system where yams will be slotted into storage spaces and use sensors that can check the climate conditions, and air quality and equally shield the yams from too much sunlight.

‘During our preliminary research we visited different states in the Northeastern part of the country and discovered that out of 1,500 yam tubers harvested, 600 are lost due to lack of a good storage system.’

According to him, the production of the yam barn can help reduce wastage due to spoilage while increasing productivity and strengthening the chances of ensuring food security in Nigeria.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Media commended for promoting naval training school

Commodore Solomon Asiedu-Larbi, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) the Nutekpor Naval Training Command, has commended the media for its role in the promotion of the military institution.

The training command, located in the South Tongu District of the Volta Region, comprises various training institutions of the Ghana Navy.

Collaboration with the media began in 2022 when the then FOC, Commodore Godwin Livinus Bessing, shared with executives of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), the vision of becoming a one-stop-hub for naval education.

The present FOC, who is barely months on the job, appraised the media while on tour of units and relevant institutions in the Volta Region.

‘The reason for being here is to pay a courtesy call on your association following the job you have done in projecting the naval command. The feedback is that you have helped in projecting the naval training command and we want that good job to continue,’ the FOC said.

He said the visit was part of a familiarisation tour of various
units and hoped to strengthen synergies with various stakeholders.

He added: ‘We are here to establish contact with the opinion leaders in the Region and forge a common purpose, identify areas of interest that we can build up and if there are any differences, find a a way of solving it amicably.

‘So, the purpose is to join forces with you to create the peaceful environment that we are currently enjoying, and if they are any hitches anywhere, we find a nice way of solving it.’

Emmanuel Agbaxode, Chairman of the GJA in the Volta and Oti Regions, shared how the past FOC Commodore Bessing had tasked the media to lead the campaign to promote the training command, and pledged the support of the media.

He said the media continued to expand collaboration with the security agencies, set off by a fruitful relationship with the 66 Artillery Regiment, and that the honour of the visit by the new FOC was a ‘testament to the strong bonds of friendship between the GJA and nation’s security agencies.’

‘The visit should l
ead to a more fulfilling relationship,’ he added, and pledged ‘assistance in any manner in ensuring outmost peace, especially this election year.’

The Regional Chairman appealed to the training command to support the Association complete the ongoing Volta Press Center project.

The FOC, during the visit, paid a courtesy call on Dr. Archibald Yao Letsa, the Volta Regional Minister and met with heads of major universities in the Region, including the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS), and the Ho Technical University.

Source: Ghana News Agency