About The Developmental Challenges of Offuman.
Offuman is a predominantly farming community in the Tekyiman-North constituency of the Brong-Ahafo region. The hob for the cultivation of a greater part of the foodstuffs currently being consumed by the country, this township faces some of the most deplorable conditions when it comes to good roads and other amenities. What the people say brings you views from Offuman in Brong Ahafo region of Ghana:
“The keen competition in this place (Offuman) between the NDC and the NPP come with some security implications for the ruling party. Although the NDC did not win the Tekyiman North constituency in the last elections, Offuman contributed immensely to the total votes of the party and anyone can find out from the electoral commission.
Despite the incentives Ameyaw Akumfi, the incumbent NPP MP offered this township in terms of minor renovations and some incentives, Offuman voted massively against him because of the promises which came from the National Democratic Congress in particular reference to the roads and potable drinking water.
The then Vice President now His Excellency President John Dramani Mahama came here and gave us the fullest assurance that the roads leading to Offuman will be constructed but that has not happened. Kofi Wayo came in later and spoke on the behalf of the government that the Offuman road will see of day light. Hannah Bissiw also came and made similar promises but that has also not materialized. This situation has sadly compelled the opinion leaders who once campaigned actively for the NDC party few years ago to turn against it.
The other security implication over this issue is that Offuman serves as the food basket of Brong Ahafo and to a large extent Ghana. On a daily basis, truck loads of foodstuff get stuck in the farms and in the middle of the road especially during the rainy season thereby causing much of the food items to rot before they get to their destinations. This partly accounts for the periodic rise in the cost of food in this country and that is a major problem.
The first National Best Farmer Thomas Ahima comes from Offuman and that is a testament to our farming potential. Tuobodom, Amoma, Buoyem, Autwie, Apenkro and Asubingya where the tomato factory is located support the struggle of Offuman for good road network. Offuman has served the NDC well and it is heart-breaking to watch these people turn against the party in such an angry fashion.”
Sarah Boakye (Trader)
“God in his own wisdom blessed the people of Offuman with a very fertile land which has served as a means of livelihood for people in this community for centuries. The best of Garden eggs, tomato, cassava and yams come from this place and that was how come that one of the National Best Farmers came from here.
We plead with the authorities of the state to come and have a look at the dehumanizing conditions in which we live in this township. All we ask of the state is to put in place the infrastructure that ordinary traders like us cannot put up so that together we manage them.
If the construction of roads and the provision of potable water is a matter of a few millions, we will certainly have raised the money but that is not the case. We do not have the financial capacities to embark on such grand projects and that is why we are calling on the government we have always supported to come to our aid.”
Thomas Bawua (Tekyiman North NDC Vice Chairman)
“In spite of the hard work we as activists of the NDC have done over the past three and a half years in this township, the Municipal Chief Executive and the District Chief Executive of Tekyiman North have not done much to compensate our work.
We promised to bring potable drinking water to this community (Offuman) and many other places but all we have been able to do is to drill bore holes numbering five but not all are working. The contractor we brought in to put up a school building has also abandoned the project so what guts can we command to ask the people to vote for us again.
I led a delegation from here to The Castle, Osu in Accra where we met the Vice President now His Excellency President John Mahama. After putting our case before him, he promised us a bus for the Effah Guakro High School which he fulfilled but the road leading to this big community has not been given any attention and that informs my worry. The poles carrying the electric cables have gone weak and this poses a very serious hazard to people living here at Offuman.
The NDC administration under the leadership of Professor Mills and His Excellency John Mahama have done so well in many parts of the country but it must reach out to many other areas which need urgent attention especially when the party commands a lot of goodwill and sympathy from there.”
Sampani John (Farmer)
“There are many problems currently confronting the people of this community but one of which is overwhelming is the nature of our road. The state of our roads have been very bad for years and at the moment we just have no clue where to turn next.
My father has attended several meetings since I was a little boy over this same issue of the poor nature of the roads at Offuman but nothing has happened after all these years. All of the communities surrounding Offuman have received a lot of projects when it comes to schools, pipe-borne water, hospitals and many more including roads covered with asphalt but not one has come to Offuman an equally hard working community.”
Hannah Serwaa (Farmer)
“The women of Offuman have contributed immensely towards the development of Agriculture in this country and in Brong Ahafo especially but no one has recognized our very hard work.
We toil day and night just to make sure that the people of this country do not go to bed on hungry stomachs but all of this has happened under very challenging conditions. For how long must we cry over the poor state of our roads which is hampering our work as farmers in this constituency.
I plead with President Mahama not only as my President but as my loved one to come and solve this problem the people of Offuman are facing. Many have resolved not to vote for any party any more but whatever might happen, if it is President John Mahama, I will vote and vote again. The man is so humble and respectful and that is the kind of man we need to lead this country.”
Georgina Kodoom (Farm Labourer)
“I have visited many places in Ghana because of the work I used to do and I am convinced that a lot of work is currently taking place and the government has sent relief to many people living in different corners of this country.
However, given the amount of effort we have put into drawing the attention of the government to our predicament in this place, I expect that some development must have started taking place. Travel a few kilometers along this muddy road and you will find many trucks packed along the way. We need the roads badly.”
Jamia Margaret (Trader)
“Offuman is the hub of agricultural activities in the Tekyiman North constituency of the Brong Ahafo region and we take pride in that.
There are some matters which have been a bane of the development of agriculture in this country and I believe the time has come for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to put in place measures to address these issues.
It is very difficult to understand why the communities of this country which undertake large scale agriculture are not given the needed attention. One problem I wish to talk about is the ever worsening condition of educational facilities over here at Offuman and some other places.
How can we live a happy life when our children do not have decent classrooms for study? This unfortunate situation has gotten a number of children to force their way onto the farms when indeed they should be in school. We must find a solution to this crisis. The other problem is our roads. We vote every election year, hoping that somebody will draw attention to our plight but nothing has happened.
When people fall very ill and they have to be transferred from the health facility over here to the main one at Tekyiman, the drivers just refuse to go because the road is bad. How long are we going to live in this deplorable situation?”
Patricia Yeboah (Fish Seller)
“I thank you for coming all the way from Accra to interact with the people of this area. Firstly, I pray that the almighty God will shower his blessings onto the people of Ghana and direct us in all of our ways because nothing can ever be done without the support of God.
The little grievance I have to share is about the situation of water availability in this town. Can you believe that there is only one borehole which serves this entire community and that belongs to an individual? They came and dug some bore-holes and fitted them with pumps but they have never flowed with water.
Our message is very simple. The electoral commission will mount their ballot boxes here on December 7 when the country goes for elections but no one will vote because we are tired.”
Patricia Timah (Rice Seller)
“My brother, what improvement have you found since you arrived here? All of the projects the governments bring to this constituency goes to our neighbours and not the people of Offuman. Why are the DCE and the Municipal Chief Executive treating us as aliens? Have we not worked hard enough to be recognized as paying substantial contribution towards the development of the country? Why this neglect of Offuman?”
Adwoa Bronya (Trader)
“Please tell Uncle John Mahama that I have not forgotten the assurances he gave me when he visited this market that he will make sure that roads covered with asphalt will be constructed in Offuman before I die.
I believe him and I am sure he will not treat us as the others have done. He will disappoint me greatly if he does not carry through with his promises.
As you can see, I am very old and cannot go to the farm but I make some income when the vehicles arrive on time and I am able to sell a few items. The drivers have complained for too long and President Mahama must put his foot down and bring hope to Offuman.”
Amobia Kosua (Groundnut Seller)
“It will take more than a day to recount the hardship that we went through during the raining season. We virtually became prisoners locked up on our farms and in our homes. It was just not possible to travel a mile.
What accounts for the reason the District Chief Executive and the Municipal Chief Executive of this area have decided to treat us with so much disdain is difficult to find out. It was for the state of the roads at Offuman that I decided to leave my farm and campaigned actively for the NDC in the last elections but we have not received any attention.
I have not made up my mind yet but if the situation does not improve before we go for elections, I am very likely not to cast my ballot for any party because all they have managed to give us in threefold are empty promises.”
Kingsley Ahima (Station Master)
“I am the station master here at Offuman local branch of the G.P.R.TU of T.U.C and I can tell you on authority that the major problem which confronts the people of this big and central town is our roads and I pray to the President John Mahama and his administration to do everything within their means to salvage the situation.
We are the chief producers of Gari, Yam, Garden eggs, Cassava and Tomato in this country and it is only appropriate that we are given our fair share of the distribution of national resources.
Lastly, the distance between Tekyiman and Tuobodam is only 4 miles so how can we have district capitals in both places whilst Offuman does not have one? President Mahama must rise above the unnecessary chieftaincy disputes that have plagued this area and stretch his hands to every corner of this area.
We have resolved to give him our fullest support but he must act with courage else these age old disputes will hinder economic progress.”