From the far corner of the largely peri-urban setting in the Upper West Region, the Nadowli-Kaleo Constituency was brought into prominence by Alban Sumani Kingsford Bagbin, the seven-time Member of Parliament (MP) for the area.
As his time as a legislator was brought to a close in January 2021, when Mr Bagbin declined to contest the seat for the eighth time, it coincided with his elevation — albeit in dramatic fashion — to the Speakership of Parliament.
In more ways than one, Mr Bagbin became the ambassador of the constituency on account of his ever-present character in Ghana’s politics across the entire span of the Fourth Republic.
The constituency is one of 11 parliamentary territories in the region. It was created from the original Nadowli Constituency which was split into two in 2012 with Nadowli-West as the other constituency. Cited in the middle of the region, the constituency is also the district capital of the Nadowli-Kaleo District and is bordered on its West by Burkina Faso. It is bordered to the South by the Wa Municipality, on the North by Jirapa and Lambussie-Karni, and to the East by Daffiama/Bussie/Issa districts.
The Nadowli-Kaleo Constituency has a total area of 2,594 square kilometres and a population of 77,057 out of which 40,064 are females and 36,993 are males. The distance between the district and the regional capital, Wa, covers about 40 kilometres and its location promotes international trade between the district and neighbouring Burkina Faso.
Going by the national standard for the definition of an urban settlement, none of the settlements in the Nadowli District has attained an urban status. Only 15 out of the 144 communities have populations above 2,000.
Some notable towns in the Constituency are Sankana, Sombo and Serekpere. Others are Charikpong, Umbo, Goli, Kalsegra and Tangasie. The rest are Takpo, Dapuori, Duong, Nanville, Yiziere and Kaniyi.
The district is typically a rural economy with approximately 85 per cent of the population engaged in agriculture which is the dominant industry in the area. The remaining percentage is engaged in micro-business enterprises, agro-processing, welding, fabrication, handicraft, among others.
Over 50 per cent of the population is self-employed and over 86 per cent of the people are resident in rural areas. Micro and small enterprises are considered the backbone of the district’s economy, and those operating in the area are engaged in farm-based business such as mushroom cultivation. Others are pre and post-harvest activities such as animal traction and crop drying, agro-processing, including processing of cereals, vegetables, seeds.
The rest are industrial activities such as soap making, baking, confectionery, traditional craft such as textiles, leatherworks and handicraft.
The area has vast arable land along the Black Volta River which can be cultivated on a large scale. However, farmers along the river undertake dry season crop production and have great interest and experience in managing dry season farming. Given the available land and water resources, there is great potential for large-scale irrigation by both small scale and commercial farmers.
Tourism has contributed in a major way to the development of most regions in the country. The Central, Greater Accra, Eastern and Volta regions, to mention but a few, have all benefited greatly from the industry. The contribution of tourism to the development of the Nadowli-Kaleo Constituency may dwindle if frantic effort is not made to revamp the various tourist attraction sites.
The main tourist attractions in the constituency include historical heritage and eco-tourism products. These include the Sankana caves, Ombo Wura rocky hills and Duong bone-setting clinic. The others are Falantan Anthills and Zukpiri Community Resource Management Area. The rest are the Royal Mausoleums, Crocodile Pond and Sombo footprints.
Despite the enormous potential of the contribution of tourism to national development, the sector in this constituency has not enjoyed much government investment. As a result the area has lost out to most constituencies as tourist attraction centres. The tourism potentials are rare but their preservation and development should be taken much more seriously. Tourism is no doubt important to the communities in the constituency that seek development. Tourism in the region has not enjoyed much attention as it should, and as such the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture should work closely to assist the traditional authorities and district assembly to revamp the sector.
According to the MP for Nadowli-Kaleo Constituency who succeeded Speaker Bagbin, Anthony Mwinkaara Sumah, he came to meet a herculean task since the Speaker occupied the seat for so many years. Mr Sumah said he had to hit the ground at a fast pace by setting up various committees to assist him to meet the aspirations of the people.
For the past two years, he has been able to lobby and execute a lot of projects and programmes in the various sectors to the value of over billion cedis to move the constituency forward.
In education, apart from the initial seed capital of GH¢100,000 towards their tertiary education scholarship fund in 2021, the MP said he had so far spent GH¢230,000 as scholarship for 169 tertiary students. Besides this, he has also supported some basic schools with furniture, books, extra tuition, cement, iron rods, roofing sheets and other logistics to the tune of about GH¢89,000 towards the construction of a classroom block for Tendaama Junior High School to upgrade infrastructure in the sector.
On health, Mr Sumah said in collaboration with the Nadowli District Hospital he organised and funded eye screening for teachers and students, provided the 123 teachers with spectacles, free cataract surgeries to the tune of GH¢5,750. Apart from this, he has equipped four Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) with palpation beds, supported some individuals with the payment of medical bills to the tune of GH¢5,000 as well as renewal for over 1,000 people under the National Health Insurance Scheme. The MP said he supported the Penetobo, Tangasie and Takyirpie delivery units with over GH¢41,500 towards the completion of the clinics in the constituency.
A trader and a resident, Eva Taafaale, appealed to the government to connect all the communities in the constituency to the national grid. Aside from that, more streetlights should be installed in the communities.
Ms Taafaale was of the view that the connection of communities to the national grid would pave the way for many developmental projects such as skills training as well as improving academic performance in the area.
This, she said was part of the government’s obligation to give opportunities to the citizens, especially women, to develop their potential to earn or increase their income in the deprived areas.
A farmer and a resident, Cynthia Gamur, appealed to the government to rehabilitate their road network to ease their plight, especially pregnant women and patients.
She said that due to the deplorable nature of the roads it made travelling expensive and tiresome.
Ms Gamur explained that except for the Wa- Hamile highway that passed through the constituency, only one of the roads had been tarred, and as such most of the communities did not have roads leading to them. She explained that during the dry season, dust engulfed the whole town making it difficult for them to be in both their shops and homes. Apart from that during the rainy season, heavy rains made the area muddy and sometimes impassable.
The Jang Naa (Chief of Doung), Naa Alhassan Musah, appealed to the government, benevolent organisations and individuals to come to the aid of the people of Doung to rehabilitate part of the dam which was washed off during the floods in 2021.
The Nadowli-Kaleo District Chief Executive (DCE), Katherine Lankono Tieyirr, said the assembly had been able to complete several projects which had touched the lives of the people in the constituency.
She mentioned the establishment of an all-girls model Junior High School (JHS) at Sankana in November 2017.
Ms Tieyirr explained that “by sending a girl to school, she is far more likely to ensure that her children also received education. As many claimed, investing in a girl’s education is investing in a nation”. On the average, she said for every year a girl stayed at school, her marriage was delayed. She further said, as a beneficiary of an exclusive all-female secondary education, she felt it was her responsibility to establish one.
The DCE also mentioned the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit she established at the Nadowli District Hospital in 2018. As a mother herself, she pitied women who had to watch their premature babies die due to no proper system to cater for them. So this has been “a project and from these women will no longer see their babies die after several months of pregnancy”.
She said on realising the rich agricultural potential in the area, she lobbied for the construction of the Doung multi-purpose irrigation dam project to enable them to do an all-year farming and promote livestock farming. Now her only worry was that part of the multi-purpose irrigation dam was washed away during the floods caused by the spillage of the Bagri dam and torrential rainfall that occurred in August 2021.
She explained that investment in commercial production would provide jobs for the youth while other unemployed youth may undertake dry season crop production as a business venture if irrigation was developed.
She said land user agreements had already been signed between the Department of Agriculture and land owners along the banks for large scale agricultural production. Apart from that the Northern Rural Growth Programme (NRGP) has conducted an assessment of the area and consequently recommended it suitable for large scale crop production. This, therefore, required an initial investment of about GH¢1.5million to be expended for the development of irrigation infrastructure in the area, adding that once developed, it was expected that many more farmers would engage in dry season production of vegetables, cereals and legumes to increase production and enhance their livelihood.
Ms Tieyirr mentioned finance as the biggest challenge affecting the development of the district. She named for instance the need to resource women to enable them to enter viable ventures to improve their sources of income to cater for themselves and their children. On this score, she noted that with financial assistance, the women could have gone into the rearing of livestock to ensure the sustainability of the livestock market at Tangasie.
She also mentioned that tiger nuts and other legumes, including potatoes, thrived in the district, contributing to the largest share of the overall agricultural production in the region. However, they lacked a good market, she said.
Ms Tieyirr prayed for the implementation of the Gulf of Guinea Northern Regional Social Cohesion Project (SOCO) which will bring a lot of development to the area. It is funded by the World Bank. She appealed for the expansion of the rural electrification project that was yet to reach 60 out of the 144 communities in the constituency.
Source: Daily Graphic