Some chiefs in the Western Region are asking President John Mahama to appoint one of their own as the Minister of the yet-to-be-created Ministry of Gas and Oil Resources.
The chiefs claim they can only trust a son of the Western Region to manage the oil resources in a way that would benefit the indigenes.
One of the chiefs, Awulae Agyamfi Kwame, Omanhene of the Nsien Traditional Area, told Joy News’ Eric Ahianyo that they are tired of the many failed promises of politicians.
He cited a promise allegedly made by then-Vice President John Mahama to cede ten per cent of the oil revenue exclusively to the development of the Western Region, a promise that he said generated much controversy and was eventually broken.
He said that when the chiefs followed up on this promise, some politicians, under the guise of contributing to the matter on the floor of Parliament, insulted the chiefs.
Awulae Agyamfi Kwame recognised that the president has the prerogative to choose ministers but was quick to add that the president must be mindful of regional balance.
He said oil and gas are produced in the Western Region and “we want our son” to be appointed as minister.
Already, the chiefs have a nominee and they are praying that the president will choose former Deputy Energy Minister Emmanuel Kofi Boah as a substantive Minister of Oil and Gas.
However, the chiefs have yet to send a formal petition to the president.
Some stakeholders see the chiefs’ demands as problematic.
Energy economist Mohammed Amin Adam told Joy News’ Samson Lardy Ayenini that the chiefs have a right to lobby but said they must be circumspect.
He argued that lobbying for the son of a particular region to be minister would set a bad precedent for the country, opening up the possibility that other regions with other natural resources would demand that a son of the region be appointed minister of those resources.
Even though he sympathizes with Western Region residents over the poverty that many of them live with, he said that having a son of the region as minister would not necessarily be the best solution to their problems.
He said it was not a son of the Region that found the oil and neither was it a son of the region who decided that a heavy chunk of a 3 million dollar Chinese loan be used for the development of economic activities in the Western Region.
He said it is the president’s prerogative alone to decide who will head the Gas and Oil Ministry.