Ghanaian President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has promised to elevate one of the country’s gateway, the Aflao border, into a major tourist destination in the country and in West Africa.
According to modernghana.com, in late Summer, 23rd August 2021, to be precise, the President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, repeated his promise he made to the chiefs and people of Ketu South that Aflao would be elevated into a major tourist hub and city.
At the meeting, the President, who is known to be a one nation right of the centre conservative, emphatically told the chiefs and those present that, the current state of Aflao is totally unacceptable and pledge to elevate Aflao to rival Lomé, the Togolese capital, which borders Aflao.
The President said turning Aflao into a major tourist destination would change the dynamics of the regional geo-politics in the ECOWAS sub region. With the above in mind, according to those close to the President, informed his decision to nominate Maxwell Lugudor, a security expert and native of Aflao, seen as one of the youthful rising stars in the NPP, to reflect his desire to complete the elevation of Aflao as part of his legacy.
This writer sat down with Maxwell Lugudor, Municipal Chief Executive of Ketu South, in his office, in downtown Aflao, to discuss issues raised by the President and other various issues facing the municipality. Ironically, Maxwell Lugudor, is a protégé of the President, and comes from the same wing of the party as the President, the centre right, of the New Patriotic Party and is a one nation conservative.
The youthful security expert, said the population of Aflao is growing due to its position as a major border town, and that comes with various socio-economic problems, which he said, could threaten the peace and stability of the Municipality and the country as a whole, if the infrastructure and other amenities are not improved.
Aflao, which is the second gateway to Ghana and the busiest land border, is the most populous border town in the country, with lush white sand beaches and fertile mash land for rice and other cereal production.
According to some of the issues raised by Lugudor, includes, security, housing, sea defence, roads, education and health infrastructure etc.
Aflao is the 2nd largest city in the Volta Region after the regional capital, Ho. However, due to its strategic location, (shares border with Lomé and is only 2 hours drive to Accra, the Capital city of Ghana and 2 hours drive to Ho, the Regional Capital), attracts people from all over the country and the Ecowas region.
When he was elected the new Municipal Chief Executive of Ketu South Municipal Assembly, Maxwell Lugudor made an impassionate speech to the Assemble, the chiefs and the people of the municipality and Aflao in particular, when he said, “I will need all hands-on deck to fight the war against poverty, deal with the issues of health, water, sanitation, education as well as infrastructure development, we all one people with common destiny”.
Lugudor told this writer that among the immediate major challenges he faces as the Municipal Chief Executive is security. He said Aflao is the gateway to Ghana and the experience one has at the border determines how the country looks like. He said the porous nature of the border and large influx of citizens and foreigners to Aflao is affecting the security of the municipality and the country as a whole.
Lugudor said as the population of Aflao is projected to hit a million people within the next decade, the need to provide good housing and other major infrastructure development becomes more pressing. He echoed the President’s promise of turning Aflao into a major traveller’s destination to rival or surpassed Lomé, when he said, “Peter, as a second gateway to Ghana after Kotoka International Airport, we need to make Aflao very attractive to both tourists and investors by beautifying the city, provide better and quality infrastructure such as roads, housing, office space, hotels, health and educational facilities”.
He particularly mentioned the tidal waves that is wreaking havoc on the coastal villages in the municipality and said the government has given the sea defence of the municipality and along the coast of Ghana, a priority.
Lugudor said the sea front of Aflao would be developed and turned into a top tourist attraction, with hotels, recreational amenities, shopping mall, offices and apartments. He has already started to engage with local, foreign and diaspora investors to come and invest in Ketu South Municipality.
He said already a group of Municipal Chief Executives are planning to visit Europe, North America and Austrasia to meet with the African Diaspora and other investors to encourage them to come invest in Ghana.
When this writer informed him that right after crossing the border into Lomé, the Togolese have started the dualization of their sea front roads, all the way to the Republic of Benin border, and the sea front towns being developed, Lugudor said, “already it is the agenda of the NPP government to dualized all the major highways connecting the regional capitals and the major border towns and cities, including Aflao”. He said the road from Aflao to Accra, through to the Ivorian border, forms part of the West African super highway and, yes, it would be dualized.
When this writer reminded him that the dualization of the Togolese part of the West African Super Highway, works are ongoing, and the elevation of the sea front towns is also being done, visibly shaken and with misty eyes, Lugudor said, “Look Peter, I started to lobby for such development from the very first day I was nominated by the President and elected by the municipal Assembly, just like you, we all want this country to developed”.
The former deputy secretary of the NPP and one of the rising stars in Ghanaian politics, Maxwell Lugudor, is a man in a hurry to fulfil his childhood dream of turning his hometown, Aflao, in the biggest tourist destination in West Africa.
Most predict that Lugudor is among the batch of youth in politics destined to take over the leadership of the country in the next decade. Their dedication and work ethics cannot be questioned, however, with monetarization of politics, would these young leaders be tempted or influenced by money and/or would they stick to their core values, just like the independence leaders, that is, to serve and help uplift their fellow citizens from poverty.
The youth of Ghana would be looking up to the likes of Maxwell Lugudor to help develop the country.