About this time of the year, two years ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Northern Ghana. Once again, I am here in my capacity as your President and I am looking forward to stay with you for a few days before returning to Accra.
On the 1st of July this year, Ghana emerged as a Republic. Some changes have been made in order to strengthen the administration. One such change was the creation of the Northern Region into two Regions, the Upper Region and Northern Region. Two of your own sons, Mr. E. A. Mahama and Mr. A. Asumda were appointed Regional Commissioners respectively. And for the first time in our history, the North has produced a woman District Commissioner I believe, and indeed, the Convention People’s Party holds that Chieftaincy still has a role to play in the national life of our new Republic. That is why in my declaration as first President of the Republic of Ghana, I stated, "that chieftaincy under our new Constitution is guaranteed and preserved." You have two Regions now and whether you want two Houses of Chiefs, or to continue to have one as it was will be for the Chiefs of the North themselves to decide. Whatever may be your decision on this matter, I know that you all, whether from the Upper Region or Northern Region, will continue to conduct your traditional affairs in the same spirit and dignity as before. Through you we hope to preserve what is best in our cultural tradition. Because of its democratic nature, Chieftaincy in Ghana capable of adapting itself to changing times and circumstances.
I have heard what your Regional Commissioner has just said about the implementation of the Government’s Second Development Plan. Our aim is to raise the standard of living of the people of Ghana and chase away illiteracy, disease and poverty. And I know that this can be achieved through agricultural industrial and scientific developments. Let us work hard to complete our Development Plan before its five year period.
The greatest need of this Region is good drinking water. The Government is doing what it can to assist in this. And whenever the fund is given for these developments, I want all Councillors to ensure that funds are used properly and in the best interest of the people. Never think that Government has got an inexhaustible source of money which can be tapped by cheating, laziness and falsification of accounts. It is never so, has never been so and will not be so. It is the tax, direct and indirect which are collected from the people that go to form Government chest.
Your request for the establishment of a second Builders’ Brigade Camp in this Region has been noted. In this connection, I should wish to inform you that the Government is preparing a scheme under which agricultural projects would be undertaken by the Brigade on a scale far greater than has been the case in the past. When this scheme has been drawn up and about to be implemented, every consideration will be given to the needs of this Region. Regional Commissioner, Chiefs, and people, I am overwhelmed by the very warm welcome you have accorded me yesterday and today. It is a very clear demonstration of the love and support you have for me personally and the Government.