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There was a huge development gap between northern and southern Ghana. Since then, successive governments have done their bit to bridge this gap. However, the fact still remains that 52 years after Independence, attempts at bridging this gap appears a mirage. It is the conviction of this article that the uneven development between the north and the south of Ghana are structural issues emanating largely from a colonial policy. Indeed, what is this colonial policy and legacy? Governor Sir F.M Hodgson declared that for the present I therefore cannot too strongly urge the employment of all available resources of the government upon the development of the country south of Kintampo. I would not at present spend upon the northern territories a single penny more than is necessary for their suitable administration and the encouragement of the transit trade. The Northern Territories were therefore deliberately left out of development only to be dealt with in future years.

In 1912, a decade later, Governor Thornburn reiterated this policy: until the Colony and Ashanti have been thoroughly developed, the Northern Territories must be content to await their turn and any extensive programmes designed to render the area more accessible, must be suffered to stand over for a long time to come. Subsequently, by the 1920s, the commissioner for the northern territories in his annual report described the northern people as amiable but backward people, useful as soldiers, policemen and labourers in the mines and cocoa farms, in short fit only to be hewers of wood and drawers of water for their brothers in the Colony and Ashanti.

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