There is absolutely no denying the fact that this whole lawsuit challenging the creation of regions was targeted at stalling the creation of the proposed Oti Region, which has, undoubtedly, received the strongest opposition in this whole conversation of regional reorganization underpinned in Article 5 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic. The said anti-Oti agenda, we also do know, is coming from people in the southern part of the Volta Region, almost all of whom are Ewes including their brothers and sisters in the Diaspora, and it is being spearheaded by their traditional and religious leaders, rather regrettably.
Surprisingly, these people and their leaders do not even hail from the Oti enclave and are therefore in no way affected by the creation of the Oti Region, neither have they called for it. But, they have, both in words and in deeds, openly shown demonstrable commitment to thwarting the effort to create the Oti Region. In case you haven’t followed these developments, let me refresh your memories. First, one Rev. S.S Agidi, a renowned opinion leader in the Ewe community and Moderator of the E.P Church was reported in the Ghanaian Times of January 25, 2018, to have openly declared his hatred for the creation of the proposed Oti Region describing the move as a recipe for chaos and tribal conflict.
Also, the Daily Graphic of Thursday, October 4, 2018, reported on the back page that the chiefs and people of the Asogli State including their warlord, Togbe Adzi Lakle Howusu XII, have vowed to resist any attempt to exclude Ewes from the southern part of the Volta Region from participating in the referendum on the creation of the Oti Region. Again, the Goviefe chief, in addressing some anti-Oti protesters at the Asogli traditional palace on 8th August, 2018, stoked ethnic sentiments by suggesting that Ashantis were behind the Oti agenda and that, they [the Ashantis] should leave the Volta Region and rather go and split their home region if they were interested in splitting regions.
Mention can also be made of a press release by the Anlo Traditional Council at the close of a meeting held at Ave, on October 13, 2018, where they posited that a potential conflict was imminent if government went ahead with the move to create the Oti Region. The latest in the series of opposition was what we saw recently from no less a person than the Agbogbomefia of the Asogli State and President of the National House of Chiefs, Togbe Afede, who, aside stoking tribal sentiments, also purported to raise the question of unconstitutionality regarding the processes that had been followed so far.
To me, it is unfathomable that chiefs and people in the southern part of the Volta Region would think that the carving out of the Oti Region from the Volta Region would affect their traditional authority and reduce the influence of their chiefs. Need I remind them that the creation of new regions or carving out of new regions from existing ones does not affect traditional boundaries? That is why, for instance, we have some chiefs in Volta north and in other regions paying allegiance to the Asantehene and so on. The creation of regions is thus, purely for administrative purposes and has nothing to do with traditional boundaries.
In any case, Togbe Afede and his people know very well that NO SINGLE CHIEF in the entire Oti enclave owes allegiance or has ever owed allegiance to any Ewe chief. So what is their problem? We, the people of Oti, in the exercise of our constitutional rights, as enshrined in Article 5 of the Constitution, called for the creation of the Oti Region, thereby triggering the necessary constitutional processes and thankfully, the Justice Brobbey-led commission of inquiry, after their investigations, agreed with us in pursuance to Article 5(4) of the Constitution.
But of course, Togbe Afede and the other chiefs and people in the southern part of the Volta Region who are in this anti-Oti agenda, would have none of that. So, when they realised they were losing the argument, they decided to go to the Supreme Court, through their Ewe surrogates, in a desperate attempt to curtail the process under the guise of seeking constitutional interpretation. It is certainly the height of absurdity and gross incompetence for them to think that the Supreme Court has the power to twist or alter the very express provisions of Article 5 of the Constitution.
Unfortunately for them, in the Supreme Court, when you go talking tribalism, you will get a 7-0 verdict. When you go talking emotions, you will get a 7-0 verdict. When you go talking religious fanaticism or traditional convenience, you will certainly receive a 7-0 verdict and that was exactly what happened to them. Their suit was not only void ab-initio but also, was so vexatious and pregnant with legal and constitutional absurdities. When you go to court with such stuffs, you will certainly be embarrassed. I commend the respected justices of the Supreme Court for doing the needful and vindicating our constitutional jurisprudence.
Let the naysayers be told that Oti Region is a MUST and SHALL come to pass to the glory of God (Insha Allah).
By Iddi Muhayu-Deen