Gambaga, The Capital Of East Mamprusi Municipal, Be Considered Capital For The Newly Created North E
Once upon a time in the history of the then Gold Coast, and in its governance landscape, was been administer into a three colonial territorial boundaries, thus; (the Gold coast colony, become a British colony in 1874, the Asante, become a British colony in 1901 and the Northern Territory, become a British protectorate in 1901) which was later on, after world war I (1914 – 1918) added a fourth, under mandate from the league of Nations, the western part of former German Togoland in 1919, and then after Independence, it was reorganised into Regions, started with five (Northern, Ashanti, Western, Eastern and Volta) regions.
Then, on 4th April 1959, the Osagyefo carved out Brong Ahafo Region from the Western/Northern Ashanti and the Prag/Yeji areas of Northern (Brong Ahafo Region ACT 1960). Then again on 1st July 1960, Northern was been split into two, thus, Northern and Upper Regions (the Regions of Ghana ACT 1960). And also in July 1970, the Western Region was divided into two, thus; Western and Central Regions. Then on 23rd July 1982, the PNDC created the Greater Accra Region from the Eastern Region (PNDCL 26). And last but not the least, the PNDC again divided the Upper Region into two, Upper East and Upper West Regions (PNDCL 41). Bening (1999) and by Oliver Davies last updated 14 -11-2013.
The initial Gold Coast colony, comprises contemporary times (Western, Central, Eastern, Greater Accra with a small portion of the Volta), whilst the Asante, comprising (Ashanti and Brong Ahafo Regions) and that of the Northern Territory, comprising (Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions).
Today and in contemporary times, Ghana is been divided into ten Administrative Regions, with each region having its own Constituencies and MMDA’s at the local level as governance. And population on its ascendency, calls for additional regions to speed up development and to bring governance closer to its people, hence, creation of additional six more regions from the current ten Administrative regions.
This in the history of Ghana is the second referendum since 1992 and will add six more administrative regions to the existing ten. These six new regions are; Oti Region from the current Volta region, Western North from the current Western Region, Ahafo and Brong East from the current Brong Ahafo Region, North East and Savanna Regions from the current Northern Region.
Based on this, there is a town which already renders Administrative Services and other important services to the entire championing districts for the North East Region, which I write to bring into public consumption and consideration especially to authorities and technocrats to the said town which is already a Municipal capital in heading it’s regional capital status.
And eventhough am not counting my chickens before they are hatched, there is equally no doubt that, when you are going to shot a wide animal, you lien by a tree, and the Town to lien on for the North East Regional capital status with ease in economising our limited resources with minimising cost, where all the districts to the said region can have easy access to its capital and its facilities, is no other town than Gambaga, the capital of the East Mamprusi Municipal.
1.2 The need and districts calling for the North East Region:
The current Northern Region have twenty-eight MMDA’s together with the creation of the additional two new districts (Nantong and Yunyoo-Nasuan). Thus, One Metropolitan, eight Municipals and nineteen District Assemblies. This huge number of MMDA’S and with its vast land size couple with other issues, puts pressure on farthest districts accessing the regional capital with it’s facilities in Tamale impossible, hence, creating two additional regions from it.
One of such proposed regions is the North East Region from the current Northern Region. And with already Six Administrative Districts (East Mamprusi Municipal, West Mamprusi Municipal, Mamprugu Moaduri, Yunyoo-Nasuan, Bunkpurugu-Nakpanduri and Cheriponi districts) collectively singing and dancing to its praises. Among these districts, the East Mamprusi Municipal is the first/oldest and parent Municipal, while the Yunyoo-Nasuan district is the youngest district of the North East Region. The first four of these districts are dominantly the Mamprusi’s districts, which am proposing Gambaga which is the heart of Mamprugu and the Administrative capital of East Mamprusi Municipal to head its regional capital.
rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I am of the view that the number of MMDA’S constituting a region is not of priority in that, primarily, creation of regions is to put MMDA’s into sizeable number that can be managed, coordinated, monitored and evaluated efficiently and effectively, either than that, there won’t even be the need for creation of regions in the first place. Besides, if the entire country could be zoned into three territorial boundaries in its governance landscape like mentioned above, then Six administrative districts are equally good and fit for the start of a region.
Sight should not be lost off that, the creation of regions is deeply rooted in History, Traditional, Ethnic and Cultural allegiance, Physiographic and Political considerations, among others, hence, it will be prudent, these and many others be considered and a priority to authorities/technocrats in considering and selecting administrative capitals for the country nationwide.
1.3 Gambaga down the memory lane in its socio-political Administration:
Just as the telling of stories refreshes the brain as a bath is to the body, will I, though not a native of Gambaga, but someone with a bit background of History, Geography and Human Settlement Planning, will help with skeletal account on the down memory lane of the socio-political administration of Gambaga my proposed town for the capital of the North East Region.
On the one hand, Gambaga was the first administrative capital of the then Northern Territory between December 1897 – 1907. The Northern Territory in contemporary times comprise Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions. Since Gambaga was in the North-Eastern corner of the Territory, with other parts finding it difficult and or impossible accessing its capital like Wa and its environs in current days Upper West Region and the likes due to the distance, was the major reason for a change to a more centred town in heading the headquarters, a decision which three towns (Savelugu, Tamale and Yendi) were proposed, of which Tamale was considered more centred, hence changing the headquarters from Gambaga to Tamale. The change of the headquarters from Gambaga to Tamale coincided at the time the colonial administration/Military regime was been replaced into a civilian regime in 1907 and a year later in 1908, Tamale was official opened as the new Territorial headquarters. And once changing to civilian administration, brought the concept of Political Administrations/local governance, and Gambaga thus turned capital to the newly South Mamprusi District. Then again, when the then West Mamprusi district was carved from it in 1988, it became East Mamprusi District, and later in 2004, another new district (Bunkpurugu-Yunyoo) was also carved from the East Mamprusi District, and early this year (2018), it was upgraded into a Municipal Status. What is more and interesting is that, in all these changing trends in the political administrative landscape, Gambaga as capital remains unchanged since time immoral. One will therefore not be far from right that Gambaga tasted all in the local governance landscape for been a (territorial, District, and Municipal capital’s) except a Metropolitan.
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. can thereby be liken to the Biblical saying, where Jesus said “… you are Peter, and on this rock I will establish my Church …, Matthew 16:18”, in that, Gambaga the capital of East Mamprusi Municipal is the parent municipal on which all these districts for the North East Region are carved from, thus; West Mamprusi in 1988, Bunkpurugu district in 2004, Grandmother to Mamprugu Moaduri in 2012 when it was carved from West Mamprusi, and lately grandmother to Yunyoo-Nasuan district in 2018 carved from the Bunkpurugu-Nakpanduri district.
Again, and on the other hand, and even before colonialism to this new era of governance, it will be recalled that, after the demised of the great Naa Gbewa in Pusiga in the Upper East Region, his descendants and children, key among them including Tohugu, Mamtambu and Sitobu all fled to Gambaga, where Tohugu being the eldest son continued the Mamprugu kingdom his father (Naa Gbewa) established, and later on, Mamtambu and Sitobu migrated from Gambaga and founded the Dagbon and Nanum kingdoms respectively. This thereby made Gambaga the seat of Mamprugu with successful kings enskinned there, until colonialism came in, when Gambaga made an administrative capital of the Northern Territory, that the then king, Naa Atabia left Gambaga to Nalerigu, a suburb of Gambaga and established the seat of Mamprugu (the Nayiri) and paved way in Gambaga to be political administrative capital.
This change of Mamprugu capital from Gambaga to Nalerigu by Naa Atabia did not entirely change Gambaga’s status quo, in that, Gambaga still maintained some of its status quo like;
? been a commercial town, where trader’s stopped to sell thier wares. And to meet with thier food requirements, animals were slaughtered and hence, the origin of the office of the Chief Butcher in Gambaga, by Peter Yidana on page 58 of his book titled, The History of Mamprugu from AD 1400 to 1957. This is still relevant in that, the “Chief Butcher” – “Nakonaa” in the local palance, still resides in Gambaga and a section of Gambaga named “Nakohugu-fong”.
? been a Religious (Islamic) herb, by having the chief Imam of Mamprugu under Imam Baba, whose generosity and on humanitarian grounds founded/established the Gambaga “witches camp” after pleading mercy to a woman by name Adisa from Simbaa in the Upper East Region, when she was being accused a witch in Nalerigu, and was to be banished in thier usual place Gbandazua (a hill in between Gambaga-Nalerigu), by Peter Atogewe Wedam 9:17 am wednesday, January 21st 2009. The witches camp and the Chief Imam of Mamprugu up to date are still relevant and functioning in Gambaga as well.
? What of it been the Traditional capital of Mamprugu kingdom on the one hand and the Northern Territory and now the capital of East Mamprusi Municipal Assembly, on the other hand is not an exception, and among others.
All these status quo of Gambaga then, are still relevant in Gambaga today and has not completely lost its glory even in this contemporary times of ours.
1.4 Why Gambaga be considered capital for the North East Region:
Apart from Gambaga’s historical background above, is also, it’s Administrative Services rendered across the length and breadth of the entire districts for the North East Region, of which Gambaga, undisputedly added to its collection, can be upgraded to a Regional capital status. Among major reasons for proposing Gambaga as capital for the North East Region, have I categorised my findings into three thematic areas, thus; ?The Centrality of Gambaga to other districts of the North East Region, ?The Administrative services Gambaga renders to these districts, and lastly ? It’s already Infrastructure offices and Government Accommodations.
1.4.1 The Centrality of Gambaga (capital of EMMA) to the other districts:
Gambaga, the capital of East Mamprusi Municipal is not only the oldest, nor the mother to all the districts, thus; (mother to West Mamprusi Municipal, mother district to Bunkpurugu-Nakpanduri and a grandmother to Mamprugu Moaduri in 2012 from West Mamprusi and also grandmother to Yunyoo-Nasuan in 2018 from Bunkpurugu), but that; Gambaga is strategically located and centred to all the districts for the North East Region, a major reason why the then capital was transferred from Gambaga to Tamale.
with a keen look at the map of the North East Region, one can clearly with or without geographical background, say that, the East Mamprusi Municipal of which Gambaga is its capital, is the centre to the other championing districts, thus, Mamprugu Moaduri District and West Mamprusi Municipal to its west, whilst Bunkpurugu-Nakpanduri, Yunyoo-Nasuan and Cheriponi districts to it’s East. With Gambaga the capital of East Mamprusi Municipal strategic location, and with proximity advantage to the other districts implies that, all these championing districts, can have easy access to its capital and its facilities, should Gambaga be considered capital to the North East Region. This centrality of Gambaga, thereby implies that, all the districts can easily have access with ease to its regional capital – Gambaga. Memories should not be forgetting as to why the then capital of the Northern Territory moved from Gambaga to Tamale, was because; Tamale was more centred than Gambaga, and lessons should be learned from, for when the frog in front falls, others behind takes great caution.
Traditionally, the entire Mamprugu traditional Kingdom have one King – the “Nayiri”. Coincidentally, all the five out of the six Administrative Districts for the North East Region are been enskinned by him. He has his council of elders who advise him. And he is being supported by his paramount chiefs, divisional and other sub-chiefs under him in the kingship of Mamprugu. Among some of his vital chiefs with their respective traditional areas are, the Wulugu Traditional Area with headquarters at Kpasenkpe, the Soo Traditional Area with headquarters at Janga, the Kurugu Traditional Area with headquarters at Kurugu and the Wungu Traditional Area with headquarters at Wungu who also enskins chiefs in the Mamprugu Moaduri district as well. All these four traditional areas are located in the West Mamprusi Municipal. Also is Yunyoo Traditional Area with headquarters at Yunyoo in the newly created Yunyoo-Nasuan district, Bunkpurugu Traditional Area in the Bunkpurugu-Nakpanduri district. These paramouncies are doted across the entire North East Region, and the “Nayiri” who enskins all these, even extend beyond the districts for the North East Region and goes a long way covering other paramouncies like the Zuarungu Naaba, Tongu Naaba, Sakuti etc (all in the Upper East Region). Source: Page 4 of the East Mamprusi District Assembly profile by the District Planning and Coordinating Unit, November, 2014.
All these traditional areas as mentioned above in both the North East and Upper East Regions, are all answerable to the king of Mamprugu – the “Nayiri”, with his seat in Nalerigu a suburb of Gambaga, thus; Nalerigu the traditional capital seat of the overlord of Mamprugu and Gambaga the Political Administrative capital, all in the East Mamprusi Municipal.
Truth must be told that, due to the administrative role of Gambaga, was the major reason why the then king, Naa Atabia of blessed memory, left Gambaga to Nalerigu and established the seat of Mamprugu. This in his wisdom and to ensure effective administration (both traditional and political administrative/local governance) in his kingdom, paved way in Gambaga for the administrative purpose, and relocating of Mamprugu capital from Gambaga to Nalerigu for traditional purpose, thereby making him the tenth king of Mamprugu and the first king in Nalerigu. And since then till date, Gambaga the former remains political Administrative capital and Nalerigu the later, remains the traditional capital of Mamprugu Traditional Kingdom, all in the East Mamprusi Municipal.
1.4.2 Some of the Administrative services Gambaga renders to these districts:
What is more, and which brings me to my second thematic area why Gambaga should be considered the capital of the North East Region is the undisputed fact that, Gambaga, the Administrative capital of the East Mamprusi Municipal, already renders some administrative services to the entire districts for the North East Region. Key among these are;
Divisional Police Command in Gambaga which oversees the other districts and Municipalities in the North East Region, and the Municipal Police Headquarters all located in Gambaga. I must be frank that, eventhough almost all these districts in the North East region have their respective district police stations, they are all answerable to the Divisional Police Command in Gambaga, except Cheriponi District. And not only is Gambaga the Divisional Police Command residing, but that, it is the only Municipal with a standard Police Barracks accommodating it’s staff, with still abundant green field left in the barracks and can still embark on constructional works should the need arise for.
The Gambaga Prison Service. It’s is the only prisons service in the entire North East Region. This, just like the divisional police command, also has both infrastructural and accommodation facilities in Gambaga, notable among them are their new site and their old site, popularly termed “warders line” all located in Gambaga. I must state that the Gambaga Prison’s was where Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was imprisoned in cell number four, bed two, and is still preserved and intact till date in the Gambaga Prisons. Even though some of these infrastructure/accommodation facilities might be at deployable stage due to pressure and oldest in Northern Ghana, they can be renovated to facilitate their work.
SSNIT Office complex in Gambaga. And just like the other two securities above (Police and Prisons Service, the SSNIT Office complex in Gambaga which is the only main SSNIT Office, supervises the entire North East Region. It has both modern standard office complex and a standard SSNIT flat to accommodate even more staff.
The Ghana Telecom facility, the Audit Service, the Ghana Highway Authority, just to mention a few and many others are not exceptions that Gambaga supervises in the North East Region.
1.4.3 It’s Infrastructure/offices and Government Accommodations:
My last thematic area for my justification of Gambaga been the capital to the North East Region is the area of its infrastructure/government offices and accommodation facilities to government workers.
Gambaga once the first capital to the Northern Territory and also one of the oldest Administrative capital, have accommodation facilities in welcoming more government workers. Categorisation of such accommodation facilities are; the Low Cost Houses, the junior staff Quarter’s, the hospital quarters, the Government Bungalows, the two Assembly Guest houses like the NORRIP and the Assembly Guest houses and many others all located and functioning in Gambaga.
That of the above mentioned security agencies and their respective barracks in each Service as well as the SSNIT FLAT is not an exception and in any of these categories of accommodations, there is still both vast brown and green fields for future expansion should the need arise. All these structural accommodations located in Gambaga Township gives Gambaga an upper hand for been considered capital to the North East Region.
Truth must be told that with government accommodation facilities in Gambaga is NOT a challenge at all, because even some retire officers still lives in some of these government buildings, a fact that cannot be disputed to people who knows Gambaga well and not only from a development/ technical point of view but an objective view point.
It will therefore be appropriate and judiciously utilising our scarce resources so as to meet other equally pressing needs and in this regard, will from unbiased point of view, as a way forward recommends Gambaga’s already;
Existing Municipal Administrative blocks and related decentralised departments all in Gambaga Township, to kick start as temporal office space for the North East Regional Coordinating Council.
Also, the SSNIT Office complex, the Divisional Police Command, the Audit Service, the Prison’s Service, the Ghana Highway, the Post and Telecommunication (P and T) in Gambaga, which already has oversight responsibilities to the other districts, can simply be upgraded to Regional facilities.
Better still, and Security wise, the Divisional Police Command, the Prison’s, the Fire and Ambulance services all in Gambaga can be developed as Regional Commands.
Again, the previous Military Training Camp popularly known as “soldier zoori” in the local parlance in Gambaga, which trained military personnel like former president Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings and others, which is still intact in Gambaga, can be developed to enhance Regional Security training/operation.
All these available facilities/resources in Gambaga will go a long way to minimise the cost a regional capital comes with than to search for a town, acquiring lands and to some extent compensations where the need be, pulling social amenities and what of you and the likes, could channel into other sectors in the region. the
I must say that any of the above districts for the North East Region can head it’s regional capital and have no derogative nor bias to any of these districts, for I am a native, born and bred in Guabuliga in the West Mamprusi Municipality and has my maternal home in Nalerigu in the East Mamprusi Municipality and haven’t worked in contract basis in all these districts in the North East Region, and from my Planning background and from the major three thematic areas elucidated above, coupled with other vital reasons of Gambaga, pose for it to be elevated to head the capital for the North East Region, hence, for whom the cup fit, let him wear it.
From the above justifications and many others, suits Gambaga most qualified for the North East Regional capital, and in the light of this, it will not be a misplaced priority such a great town be honoured a regional capital status. And since Gambaga will not be travelling on such a road for the first time, (first capital of the Northern Territory, District and now Municipal), the likelihood potholes that might arise will be avoided, hence, the road that is good, can absolutely be used for the second time.
And Gambaga the administrative capital of East Mamprusi Municipal, been centrally located to all these districts, it’s already rendering Administrative Services to all the other districts and also having the accommodation facilities will facilitate the affairs as a regional capital kick off.
xx. before I end, Gambaga an administrative capital since colonial era till date, implies it’s consistency for the Regional capital status, and when the wood – insect gathers sticks on its own head, it carries them, so Gambaga be considered capital, to the North East Region.
as historians has it “Egypt is the Nile and the Nile is Egypt “, likewise, “Gambaga as capital of North East Region and North East Regional capital – Gambaga”. Let’s therefore, give what belongs to Caesar to Caesar and what belongs to God to God.
n. East Region “e jaari” (welcome). Long live Mamprugu, Long live East Region, Long live Ghana.
Source: Modern Ghana