Hon. Edward Kaale-Ewola Dery, Member of Parliament (MP) for Lambussie/Karni Constituency in the Upper West Region, has renewed his pledge with strategic development plans to transform the constituency, which is said to be facing deplorable road network and entrenched poverty.
According to Mr. Dery, under his first term as MP, he had worked hard and chalked some success for the people of Lambussie/Karni, but emphasized there were more to be done.
He cited upgrading of feeder roads, increasing access to water, quality education, access to quality healthcare service as the inevitable priorities, while ensuring resilient investments and modernisation of irrigation agriculture system, as well as youth development support and jobs creation.
The Lambussie/Karni constituency, which is also a district, shares boundaries to the south with Jirapa District, to the east with Sissala West District, to the west with the Nandom District and to the north with Burkina Faso.
Economically, the constituencyis mainly an agricultural enclave, with majority of the population engaged in crop farming, livestock keeping, fishing, weaving, shea butter extraction and other related trading activities.
Some of the major crops cultivated are maize, guinea corn, millet, sorghum and rice and leguminous crops cultivated include groundnuts, cowpea, soybean and bambara beans, whilst livestock includes goats, sheep, cattle, pigs and fowls are reared.
Farming activities are mainly on subsistence basis, rearing of small ruminants, trading and local poultry keeping are some of the main economic activities of the people and serve as their source of income, though commercial farming can be effective if given the necessary support.
There is a vast tract of arable land suitable for large-scale farming and animal production and the presence of valleys also presents the constituency with an opportunity for the construction of dams for dry season farming.
Out of these abundant opportunities in the constituency that, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP, told The Republic exclusively, his major priorities are to increase access to roads, promote quality education and health and as well strengthen the agricultural sector which employs over 80% of the people in the area.
His concerns are that, most of the roads are in deplorable state and those under construction also not completed, stressing that the situation is making lives unbearable for the constituent.
For instance, he said two major highway roads, including the Felmo to Hamile and Lambussie to Zinne roads, which were awarded on contract under the NDC administration have since not been completed.
Specifically, the Hamile to Filemo road is awaiting tarring, while the Lambussie to Zinne road also remains deplorable as the contractor left the project site.
Despite the slowdown in the major roads, Mr. Dery said he is also committing more effort for the Lambussie township roads and other communities to open up the area for improvement of vehicular and people movement to markets and farms.
The agricultural sector, he pointed out, had the potential to transform the lives of the people and boost the local economy, if given the needed attention.
He disclosed plans are far advanced to build a dam in the Lambussie/Karni District through a European Union (EU) support project under the Northern Ghana Rural Irrigation project to ensure that farmers in the constituency get all-year-round farming to improve the living standard in the area.
Mr. Dery told the paper, through his effort, a map of the irrigation dam project viability and feasibility studies were done, hence his strong belief that the people’s economic situation could be better enhanced through massive irrigation investment in the agricultural sector.
He expressed the assurance that when the irrigation project is finally executed he would step up his lobbying to the appropriate sources and authorities to provide tractors, combined harvesters and other essential farm inputs to make the agric business more attractive to the people, especially the youth.
“We have a lot of land, water and human capital to move the agricultural sector to a different level in order to make Lambussie-Karni a central point for all agro businesses,” he said, adding more efforts would be made to develop the road infrastructure to facilitate agricultural and other economic activities.
Mr. Dery, who spoke passionately about the development of the area, revealed that his vision for the education sector was to ensure massive infrastructure (classrooms, teachers’ accommodation and libraries) to enhance quality teaching and learning.
Already, he said the constituency has benefited from five education facilities for basic schools, including two junior high schools(JHS) and three kindergarten blocks at Nabaala and Sentu communities respectively, furniture also provided to some basic schools and promised to lobby the current government for more.
He however cited inadequate teachers as the biggest challenge to quality education in the constituency, stating that, “it is so worrying when you see one teacher handling a basic school from class 1-6 with over 112 pupils.”
While promising to continue to support the needy but brilliant students,the Lambussie lawmaker said he would also have discuss with authorities of the Ghana Education Service (GES) to find an interim solution to the inadequate teacher- to- pupil ratio to improve performance.
He added that, the positive thing was that the National School Feeding Programne (NSFP) has led to the increment of pupil enrollment jn schools in the constituency but teachers shortage remained the biggest challenged.
The constituency, he stated, has also benefited from the previous NDC administration 200 Community Day Senior High Schools project and admission of students has started as tuition takes effect from the academic year in September, this year.
On that score, Mr. Dery observed that the best legacy any leader could leave for the society was to ensure that educational opportunities were created to enhance human resource development.
Touching on access to water, the MP said, several communities in the Lambussie-Karni Constituency had benefited from 42 boreholes under the Community Water and Sanitation System project, of which 40 of them are completed, while four are yet to be completed to reduce the incidence of water problems in the constituency.
Before he took office as MP in 2012, he said, “there was huge problem in accessing water, especially during the dry season, but today the story is not the same.”
“As I speak, communities like Piina and others in the constituency have benefited from some boreholes, water is now easily accessible for both domestic use and animals, but, as I said, we need more as some of the distant communities still do not have access to drinking water,” he said.
Regarding healthcare delivery, the Deputy Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee ofPparliament said the constituency had benefited from the Community Health Improvement Services (CHIPS) compound facilities, but some are not completed, while more effort was being made to get a clinic.
He told the paper his only worry was that most of the health facilities were not captured in the 2017 government budget, but quick to say, he would continue to employ more holistic plans to bring healthcare delivery to the constituency, stressing that his main concerns are,” to create a brighter future for our people.”
Asked how he intends to support the youth in the constituency, judging by the fact that the people are predominately subsistence farmers, Mr. Dery said, before he was elected as MP, statistics from the region indicated that the constituency was the poorest recipient of the Youth Employment Agency (YEA).
But within his first term in 2013 to 2016, and through his hard work and lobbying skills, most of the youth who had completed schools with good qualifications have had some jobs in the YEA, which, he added, has helped reduce poverty among the people.
He however expressed thanks to his constituents, especially the chiefs, the immediate past district chief executive (DCE), the women, the youth and all citizens of Lambussie-Karni for their support and believing in him as their representation in parliament.
He further urged the constituents to stay calm and not allow themselves to be distracted or allow politics to divide them, stating, “what is most important for us as people of Lambussie now is how to develop our communities which have been underdeveloped for years.”
He also reiterated his commitment to cooperate and to work cordially with the newly appointed DCE for Lambussie-Karni District to ensure that the district gets its fair share of the national cake.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba