Issac Ashai Odamttem, the new president of the National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG) and mayor of Tema city shares with us his ambition as head of this association and his aspiration to see NALAG playing an important role in UCLG Africa.
You are the new president of NALAG and it is your first meeting with the executive committee board of UCLG Africa (Rabat, 10 May 2016). How do you appreciate this meeting?
Candidly, I think that it is indeed a high-level meeting. It’s a meeting that is well constituted. I saw the depth of knowledge and experience shared and the quality of presentations that we made at this executive committee meeting. It just reinforced my aspiration and what I told I was coming to experience. I think it is welded and I believe Africa as come of age.
What is your ambition for your National Association NALAG?
I have gone around have seen what the light of the General Secretary of UCLG Africa and the light of the president of the organization, Khalifa Ababacar Sall are doing in their respective regions and duties. I think that for us in Ghana, I would say in the past we have been a bit lateral, I want to see NALAG taking the challenge, giving what I have experience in this executive committee meeting. NALAG is actually repositioning itself and is going to get stronger because we have a very strong decentralization system. Ghana decentralization process has been given to us by the continuous his development at the level where it is located in our laws and NALAG is well placed now to deepen decentralization in Ghana. That is the core focus of my tender. I want to see: effective decentralization, more participatory local governance, more inclusiveness and above all I want to see local economy development in all the 216 districts, municipal and metropolitan areas in Ghana.
How UCLG Africa can help you reach this goal?
Looking at the structure of UCLG Africa, the regional Panafrican settings, the 5 regional settings I think are well placed for experience sharing. We stand to benefit from what the central African group, the North African, the East and South and the West African. It is also important that even within the West African Sub region we are able to top the rich experiences of our sister associations. The fact that the West African Regional office of UCLG Africa is seated in Ghana for me is an advantage. Advantage in the sense that , we would have to support them with a very good enabling working environment in term of infrastructure and we should be able to leverage on that to get the support of the back stopping service of UCLG Africa to the benefit of Ghana.
I think if we look at how UCLG Africa is moving now, Ghana has better chance of getting support. Allocation should be an advantage for UCLG Africa, because we are centrally position in the country travel time from Ghana to every part of Africa is better than any other part of the continent and this it why we make available. I release that getting the regional office headquarters, was key to this meeting and Ghana will do everything possible to support UCLG Africa.
What NALAG plan for celebration of African Day of Decentralization on 10 August?
We are ready for that. I recall an initial meeting to discuss African Day of Decentralization. We are looking for activities we did during July by then we talk that event we start in July we must commemorate the activities and make it for or coincide to the 10 August activities of the African Day of Decentralization. We just would take advantage of it, because NALAG has an annual NALAG week, which I think will be ideal for us to synchronize what NALAG is doing with the African Day of Decentralization. Trust me, NALAG will feature prominently in the celebration of African Day of Decentralization.
Do you have some information about the processes of ratification of African Charter of decentralization, by Ghana?
I don’t have the exact position in term of what times this ratification will happen, but antecedent and activities that have happen over the period would lent trident to the fact that Ghana is likely to ratify this chapter. Now our president is the co-chair of sustainable development goals and Habitat III. That is to tell you how much the government is interested in global and African related activities, especially those that are helping us to achieve sustainable development goals.
Your last word
I want to thank the secretariat of the UCLG Africa. They have done a good job. Looking at the effort, they are putting in to creating a formidable association. It take a lot of effort to bring an association to this level, it take a lot of effort to ensure that regional offices are running and I think that I will take this opportunity to thank the secretary general and the staff.