The Paramount Chief of the Western Nzema Traditional Area in the Western Region, Awulae Annor Adjaye III, has dissociated himself from a gang of three chiefs of the area who have kicked against President Nana Akufo-Addo’s appointment of Dr Ben Asante as acting CEO of Ghana National Gas Company Limited.
The three chiefs of the Nzemamanle Council held a press conference a few weeks ago at which they said they preferred Prof Saku Sagary Nokoe occupying that position to Dr Asante.
Speaking on the issue for the first time, Awulae Annor Adjaye III said the opposition to Dr Asante’s appointment is tribalistic and bodes ill consequences for the country.
He made the comments at Benyin in the Jomoro District of the Western Region, when Dr Asante paid a courtesy call on him. He has, therefore, broken ranks with the other three chiefs and pledged support for Nana Akufo-Addo’s appointee.
Dr. Ben Asante had in sometime last week visited the Paramount Chief of the Eastern Nzema Traditional Area, Awulae Amehere Kpanyinli III, who also declared his support for his appointment. For now, it is becoming evident that the earlier opposition declared by the Paramount Chief of the Nsein Traditional Area, Awuale Agyefi Kwame, and Awulae Angamatu Agyan II, Paramount Chief of Bamianko, was not the position of all the seven chiefs on the Nzemamanle Council.
Dr Ben K. D. Asante is an engineer with over 25 years of experience in the oil and gas industry. He was the technical Director of Ghana’s first Gas Infrastructure project and also developed the gas infrastructure master plan for Ghana in 2008.
He has also served as a consultant to the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and provided engineering services, project management and technical support for various projects across the world including UAE, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Mexico, Russia, Thailand and USA. He has worked for major companies including Nova/TransCanada and Enron and Jacobs Engineering.
Dr. Ben Asante is a product of Mfantsipim school and holds a BSc in Chemical Engineering (KNUST, Ghana), and an MSc in Chemical Engineering from the University of Calgary, Canada. He also has a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College, London /University of Calgary and has taught gas processing and pipeline engineering at Imperial College, UK and KNUST, Ghana.
Meanwhile, pressure group Nzema Youth Advocating for Change & Development (NYAC&D) has stated that the people of Nzema, where the Ghana Gas plant is situated, are not against the Dr Asante’s appointment.
At a press conference held at Half-Assini in the Jomoro district of the region on Monday, the group called on the three chiefs as well as individuals resisting Dr Asante’s appointment to rescind their stance and support Dr Asante to deliver.
The three chiefs fighting Dr Asante’s appointment are led by Awulae Kwame Agyemfi.
But reading their statement, the group’s leader, David Ackah-Miezah, said it was not in the interest of national cohesion for President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to grant that demand.
He described the demand by the chiefs as “regressive, divisive and corrosive that must not be countenanced because of its propensity to heighten tribal tension in our country.”
Mr Ackah-Miezah said the stance taken by the three chiefs did not represent the majority views of the people of Nzema, having catalogued a number of other chiefs and ethnic Nzema youth groups who have come out to disagree with the three chiefs.
“We the youth of Nzema regret the conduct exhibited by Awulaemo (the chiefs) using the Nzema Maanle Council because that attitude is not embedded in our Nzema culture and values being inculcated in us to accept and work with everyone without discrimination and prejudice,” he said, adding that: “Dr Kwame Nkrumah, who was the embodiment of the Nzema culture, beautifully demonstrated that a nation does not attain greatness on the back of tribalism, but rather in the arms of nationalism.”
NYAC&D also observed that having an ethnic Nzema as head of Ghana Gas was not the way to solve the problems confronting the people of Nzema since the immediate past CEO was an Nzema but that did not solve the problems in Nzema.