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Hanan Gundadow Abdul-Rahman, Mayor of Tamale.

The new Mayor of Tamale, Mr Hanan Gundadow Abdul-Rahman, has called for a concerted effort by all stakeholders to help improve sanitation facilities in the country. Since his election as Metropolitan Chief Executive of Tamale in late October, Abdul-Rahman has pledge to transform Tamale into a mega metropolis. He is seen by businesses and citizens alike as someone who is leading the city in a very different way and involves all stakeholders in the process.

Abdul-Rahman is championing measures to boost growth of investment in the city as well as promote efforts to improve sanitation in the metropolis. Having helped put Tamale on the world map by his predecessor, AL haji Haruna Friday, Abdul-Rahman said improvement to sanitation in the metropolis and the country at large would be his main priority as Mayor. The new mayor of Tamale, seen as one of the rising stars in Ghanaian politics, said his aim is to help draw attention to citizens who live without access to a toilet at home and stated that, “sanitation forms an integral part of government’s public health development agenda and said, “ as Ghana aims to join high income countries within the next decade, improved sanitation would contribute immensely to the health and well-being of the poor and rural folks who have no access to proper sanitation”. Abdul-Rahman called for the reintroduction of Town Council Health Inspectors of old CPP administration and said those simple interventions by the inspectors during the first republic help reduce the risk of contracting disease.

Abdul-Rahman said that although sanitation in the country improved somewhat under President Rawlings NDC miracle years, it is still estimated that over half of citizens have no proper toilets at home, a situation that he finds very worrying.
Speaking to this writer in his office in downtown Tamale, the newly elected mayor become very emotional when he said, “nearly 70% of the poor folks in my country lack access to toilet and good housing and absence of good sanitation has a very serious impact on their health and social development”. Abdul-Rahman explained that as the country becomes more prosperous, they, as Nkrumaists and Social Democrats, it is their civic duty to improve the living conditions of the poor, especially girl-child, women and children in order to prevent lost lives in disease, malnutrition and poverty. He said in addition to Town Council Health Inspectors’ visits to homes, the second tier would be School Health Visitors, whose sole aim would be to help improve and promote sanitation in schools which would benefit learning and health of children.

Abdul-Rahman said the government focus on sanitation is fundamental to the development of Ghana and stated that the agenda of this government, like the 7 Year Development Plan of yester year, is to develop every part of the country and poverty alleviation, thus ensuring that no one is left behind. Abdul-Rahman did not hide his Nkrumaist credentials, when he quoted directly from the Ghana Young Pioneers Pledge by saying, “I will be guard of workers, farmers and all sections of the community, including the poor under my tenure as mayor”, and stated that the social reconstruction of Ghana is not negotiable. Abdul-Rahman, like this writer, is a son of a Young Pioneer, and lives by the ideals of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Founder of the State of Ghana and Initiator of African Personality. Abdul-Rahman said, “Love of Country demands discipline, obedience, honesty and morality, punctuality, protection of state assets (not burning of the country’s markets and properties) etc…pledge that our fathers made as members of the Ghana Young Pioneers Movement of the old Convention Peoples Party.

The newly elected mayor said as a “son of a Young Pioneer I will never give up the core philosophy of the Ghana Young Pioneers Movement”, (to be in the vanguard for social and economic reconstruction of my Homeland, Ghana). Abdul-Rahman said as the members of the Ghana Young Pioneers (the baby boomers) head into their twilight years, the responsibility falls on the sons and daughters of the Pioneers to take up the leadership mantel and put country before self! Rahman said the duty to serve his country is what made him to run for office – to stand and fight to protect what Nkrumah stood for – Love for country and Country before Self! The 40 years old mayor, was not even born when the first President died, said rising unemployment among the youth, sanitation and infrastructure in the metropolis are challenges that he intends to tackle head on. He said the status of Tamale to be the bread basket of Ghana was an agenda that forms a pivotal part of Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s 7 Year Development Plan and thus Tamale, regardless of the current challenges, is on course to achieve that status.

Rahman’s passion to help develop his hometown and country is phenomenal. Rahman said “although Dr Nkrumah died before I was born, but I know that his policies (educational, social and economic) is what makes our country unique in the sub region – we are more united as a country than most of our neighbouring countries, and that to me is more important, because it gives us the sense of purpose to develop every part of our homeland regardless of tribe and religion”. With youthful educated population, Abdul-Rahman intends to market Tamale’s fast growth by lobbying major businesses and investors to extend their operations to the metropolis by introducing business friendly reforms. Abdul-Rahman said the challenges facing the Metropolis are numerous, but with a dedicated team behind him he would tackle the challenges Tamale faces.