…As he outlines vision for constituency
Hon. Ridwan Dauda Abass, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Sisala East Constituency in the Upper West Region, has outlined his vision of bringing positive change to his constituency, adding that this would raise the quality of life of the people.
In an interview with The Republic in parliament last Friday, on wide range of developmental issues in the Sisala East Constituency, Hon. Abass described education as the bedrock of societal development, hence the need to be given the utmost priority.
Sissala East is one of the constituencies represented in the Parliament of Ghana and is also a district of its own in the Upper West Region of Ghana, created in 2004, with a population of 56,528, representing 8.1 percent of the region’s total population. Males constitute 48.7percent and females represent 51.3 percent.
Its northern neighbour is Burkina Faso, to the north west is the Sissala West constituency and the Wa East is to the south west.
From north to south along the eastern border lie the Chiana-Paga constituency in the Kassena/Nankana District and the Builsa North and Builsa South constituencies in the Builsa District, all within the Upper East Region.
Hon. Abass, who is a broadcaster and businessman, told the paper that, he would give priority to four key sectors, namely education, roads, health and agriculture, during his tenure in office as the people’s representative to parliament.
According to him, education is the only tool to be used to propel development and that, had it not been education he would not have been where he is today, stressing that education remained the bedrock of development that will bridge the gap between the developed and the underdeveloped.
“Education will be my topmost concern if you ask me, so I always encourage children to take their education seriously as it remained the only means to transform their lives and the communities they live in,” Hon. Abass stated.
Access to quality education, the MP pointed out, remains a topmost concern to him as the Member of Parliament for Sisala East and that he would do everything humanly possible to implement measures to improve the quality of basic and high school education in the constituency.
Hon. Abass further explained that no society could not achieve any meaningful development without quality education, hence the effort to facilitate the government and the local authority to provide education facilities in most of the deprived communities in his constituency to enable pupils to have conducive and safe environment for teaching and learning.
He expressed concern over the declining trends in quality education, emphasizing that there was the need to address the low rate of school completion with the dropout rate standing at over 25% and also called for improvement in the quality of education that children attain from educational institutions.
“There are many children in school but the quality of teaching is wanting. There is very little learning, there is the need for students to be focused and study hard because education is the key to success,” he said.
While promising to work hard for improvement of high-quality education in the constituency, Hon. Abass reassured the constituents to lobby government for a number of education facilities for the deprived communities to enable pupils to have conducive and safe environment for teaching and learning.
He reminded parents not to shun their duties of supporting the children’s education, clothing, feeding and providing the primary healthcare to their children.
With respect to the employed population, the Sisala East has about 83.2 percent engaged as skilled agricultural, forestry and fishery workers, 5.3 percent in service and sales, 3.7 percent in craft and related trade, and 0.8 percent are engaged as managers, professionals, and technicians, according to the district profile.
To help farmers transport their produce to the market, the MP said he is engaging the Ministry of Roads and Highways to construct and possibly tar some of the main roads in the area.
He said, the road network is so terrible that, access to schools, farm lands and markets remains a challenge, noting that the poor and deplorable nature of roads is affecting the economic development of the constituency and gave the assurance his government, the New Patriotic Party, would work hard to reduce the impact.
The MP further promised that the NPP government, led by Nana Akufo-Addo, would rehabilitate the deplorable roads in the area which had been neglected by the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) regime to bring relief to residents.
The poor road network has led to farmers getting stuck with their farms produce in the bush, because they cannot take their produce to the nearest markets, as most of the feeder roads leading to farm lands are in a deplorable state.
In the area of health, he pledged to work with the Ministry of Health to ensure that some of the health posts under construction are completed on time.
“Government has started the construction of some health posts in the constituency and some of them are not completed. Before the end of my four years, I will ensure they are completed, mothers and young people should not walk distances to access health care,”he said.
The constituency, he said, lacks water, electricity and security is very porous, hence his determination to lobby the government to extend power and water supply to the deprived communities, stating, “as I lobby the government for water and electricity, I will also with personal resources drill some boreholes in the area.”
Despite embarking on health, education, roads and water projects, the MP is still bothered about the high level of unemployment and the dependency of many people on the area.
He disclosed that, he is embarking on youth empowerment skills training where most of them could be supported in carpentry, wielding/fitting, dressmaking, as well as hook more onto the “Planting for Food and Jobs” Programme (PFJP) in the agriculture sector, among others, that would help reduce poverty.
He stressed that the collapse of the Ghana Cotton Industry had led to the non-cultivation of cotton, which was the main source of employment, hence the people in the constituency were facing a serious unemployment problem.
In agriculture, as high as 84.8 percent of households in the district are engaged in agriculture and per statistics available, nine out of 10 households (94.9%) in the rural areas are agricultural households, while in the urban localities six out of every 10 (56.9%) households are into agriculture.
Most of the households in the district, about 96% are involved in crop farming, and livestock rearing as the district had lost its past glory as the cotton production enclave in the country.
The MP said maize and other cereal crops which is the major food, cultivation would be given attention for improvement as the cotton industry is becoming less attractive to farmers.
On his personal note, Hon. Abass said, he is undertaking a lot of interventions to improve the education among the pupils, stating that since 2012 pupil performance at the Basic Education Certification Examination (BECE) has been very poor and as a result he instituted extra classes for most of the deprived schools.
In addition to that, during this year’s BECE, he provided Math sets and some cash for the candidates to motivate them to improve performance, while plans are far in advance to help the Ghana Education Service in the Sisala East District to improve education system.
“As part of my vision to improve education, I supported the GES with some drums of fuel to help them in mobility to extend their services to most of the deprived schools in the communities to ensure good supervision and also counseling to the teachers and pupils,” he told The Republic.
The lawmaker added that, he had also supported the security services (police) with two motorbikes and fuel to help patrol the communities for crime combat and maintain peace and tranquility in the constituency, as criminals take advantage of the isolated nature of most of the communities to perpetrate crime.
“My greatest achievement after four years is to see that a bigger number of people in Sisala East are able to fend for themselves at household level and they do not sleep hungry, for young people they are walking short distances to school and no woman dies while giving birth,”he said.
According to him, he wants to ensure that no young boy or girl is deprived of high quality education but complete school and contribute to both the social and economic development of Sisala East.
He added, his major preoccupation, therefore, was how to find a lasting solution to the unemployment problem in the constituency and assured that he would not disappoint the people in the constituency, saying, ” my doors are always open to the people to share their concerns and to discuss issues relating to development in the Sisala East.”
Having been exposed to the challenges the people of Sisala East have faced for years while growing up, Hon. Abass saw it fit to stand on parliamentary level to help the constituents by contributing to the economic and social development of the Sisala East constituency.
For that, he said, “My vision is to see people’s lives improve, have access to good healthcare, children have access to education, better roads and empowerment projects in the area,” Hon. Abass said.
The MP has since come up with a master plan to work with the government and the people of Sisala East to develop the area.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/ Felix Engsalige Nyaaba