I have for a while pondered whether to write or not to script, not for anything but for the longstanding perception and sometime undeniable fact that the National Disaster and Management Organization (NADMO) is not but an extension of every ruling government’s wing of sharing largess to its cronies.
This perception continues to linger amongst us largely because its employees, at least for the Upper West Region are mostly patriots of the ruling party as same in the pastime of the National Democratic Congress and because their tenure of office would end as their party exit office, employees rarely put up their best. This’s partly the reason no regional boss of NADMO has made a name for himself in Upper West. But truth is, the current Regional Director, Ahmed Mustapha has started well and would carve a niche for himself should he maintain his current pace of interacting and maintaining the solid relationship with his stakeholders including the Metrological Department and Ghana National Fire Service.
For a little over an hour on my show, Wa Gyaa Yela, Radio Waa’s version of the Morning Show, 6TH July, 2020, Mr. Ahmed Mustapha got me down founded and impressed for some three minutes when in his attempts to explain his role as leader and boss of his organization quoted easily from the new NADMO act of 2016, Act 927. This should not have gotten me thinking as I have over a decade been speaking to organizational leaders both on radio and after programmes. But alas, they usually need a help from either a document or a person-assistance to explain not just someone else’s role but themselves. He easily explained again the objectives of the organization as contained in PART I, 2(1) of the act which states as follows –
2(1) the objective of the Organization is to manage disasters and similar emergencies in the country and
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) the Organization shall —-
(a) prepare national disaster plans for preventing and militating the consequences of disasters;
(b) monitor, evaluate and update national disaster plans;
(c) ensure the establishment of adequate facilities, technical training and the institution of educational programmes to provide public awareness, warning systems and general preparedness for its staff and the general public;
(d) co-ordinate local and international support for disaster or emergency control relief services and reconstruction; and
(f) perform any other functions that are incidental to the functions specified.
INSPIRED again from the NADMO boss was his proposal to PLAN GHANA that has resulted in a project that would build a number of habitations for the people of Bagre, a small flood-prone community in Lawra. As explained by Ahmed Mustapha and on news outlets litany of times in the past, Bagre is usually hard-hit when torrential rains fall. The people get displaced and every property is washed away. Next day, they return again to the shores of the dam to fish. And even government’s intervention of getting them a big garden through a Seven Hundred Thousand Dollar ($700,000) support from the United Nations in order to abandon the low-level area where the effects of flood are felt has not solved the problem. Feasibility studies had not been done before the putting up of the garden but now that it has been done, they have wholeheartedly accepted to occupy the rooms when they are finally put up.
NADMO through its boss has also given warnings to three major areas of Wa – Mangu, Kambali and Konta of being flood-prone. Officers have met with these suburbs to inform them that their places are not fit for human existence. If this is not warning enough, nothing more would be. We don’t expect to see or hear that any or all of these areas are affected with flood. The people must not let these warnings be in vein as no one will sympathize with them should they not take any action by relocating. Much as landlords must take caution and take precautions by not building on water ways, so must tenants also not endanger their lives of patronizing flood-prone areas. If landlords see no tenant in their homes bargaining to sleep, they (landlords) will erect structures are safer places.
The new NADMO law that calls for a close working relation between NADMO and the Local government authority is worth speaking to. Hitherto, Assemblies (Wa Municipal in this case) give permits to builders without having to consult NADMO whose primary concern is to identify flood-prone areas and work towards averting disasters but now that NADMO has a big say in whether or not to grant building permits, landlords who are eventually issued permits would have been deserving of them.
Besides advising residents to be cagey of places they domicile, the NADMO boss, Ahmed Mustapha explains that they on frequent occasions get updates from the Metrological Department. This is good especially when some of us believe the only time the weather experts become useful is the 7PM news on GTV. And even during such periods, we take a break to do other things as we feel their forecast is just imaginary. And for the region, the weather update will best serve its purpose if it’s done on radio. NADMO in collaboration with the Metrological Department should find a platform and update the radio stations for the benefit of the ordinary resident of the region.
Ahmed Mustapha has barely spent three years in offices but he has a good future; one that is unpredictably shinny and illuminating both in the area of disaster management and in politics. His approach to solving the everyday disaster issues of being proactive and not reactive is INSPIRING enough and at most in tandem with the name of the organization as experts of disaster Management. In his words to me, he said, “we will not sit to be hit by a disaster. We will inform our people what to do before they are struck by a disaster.” And for Mr. Ahmed Mustapha to succeed and achieve permanent heights, he should thrive to undergo short courses on Disaster Management.
The proactive NADMO has visited and setup disaster management clubs across all Junior High Schools in Wa Municipality hoping to replicate same across the other districts and municipalities of the region. This will not only help the students with the knowledge of fighting disasters but will help them imbibe in their colleagues same knowledge. In a few years’ time also, we will also come to the realization that NADMO’s initiative of distributing cashew seedlings free of charge to farmers gotten from the Ministry of Agriculture is of prime significance.
The NADMO Boss may be doing everything right at the moment but his biggest test will soon come. We do not pray for disasters to happen, but with our non-compliance to advices on how to curb them, they may come naturally. And when they do, Ahmed Mustapha’s tenacity to political pressure will be tested as to being a true person of the New Patriotic Party. He would be required from some party supporters of his NPP to favour them in the distribution of relief items. He would be required again to not only give preference to his party people but give them the butter part of the bread. He would, who knows if that is not been currently pursued to use his office to on daily basis take unlawful steps that would lift the flag of the NPP. I will never begrudge him for doing things that would put the NPP government in the best of shades, but would dare not spare him if these steps were or are illegal.
We wish to see young men excel whenever they are entrusted with institutions. Their impressive performance will clear the way for other young ones to be trusted with other responsibilities. And for less than a forty-year old Ahmed Mustapha to have taken bolt and decisive steps at ensuring NADMO outperforms other state owned institutions by fulfilling its objectives, all he needs is the support and advice of every single staff of his organization.
Author: Abdul-Laah Dan Hasan