The sages say that, the only thing that is permanent is change itself. Therefore, it is a natural cause to experience change, in the life of an individual or organization. The questions to be asked however are when to expect such a change, the mitigating circumstances surrounding it and the impact such a change is likely to bring to individuals and organizations.

The Northern Development Authority (NDA) was established by an act of Parliament, Act 963 of 2017, as a government development agency to succeed the Savannah Accelerated Development Agency (SADA), an agency created by Act 805 of 2010. This transition was envisioned by H.E. Nana Akuffo Addo, the president of the Republic of Ghana, to restructure and better align the authority to his vision and strategy for the development and transformation of northern Ghana.

Dr Alhassan Sulemana Anamzoya - a sociologist, was appointed in 2019 as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NDA, to succeed Dr Abdul Majeed Harun. There were speculations and concerns as to the reasoning for a change in the leadership of NDA, especially considering that it had been in existence for less than three years. More so, when there has not been any official reason for that. The President, regardless, has the ultimate responsibility for the country’s development and therefore has the mandate to assign roles as and when he deems it necessary, all in the interest of furthering the purpose for which the authority was established.

The former CEO, Dr Harun was a deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture under the H.E. John Agyekum Kuffour led government, a position which naturally fit into his education and career as an agricultural economist. That same logic may have applied in his subsequent appointment as CEO of NDA, in addition to his practical competence and experience. The Chief Executive Officer serves at the pleasure of the President, therefore, whenever the needs of the position change and requires a change of personality, skillset or both to harmonize and drive the structures of the authority to more efficiently deliver the expected results, the appointing authority has the responsibility to exercise that discretion.

Dr Anamzoya, prior to his appointment as CEO was on the board of the National Service Scheme. He was also a senior lecturer at the sociology department of the University of Ghana. He has lectured at the University for a cumulative period of fourteen years. During this period, he has been a postdoctoral fellow in residence at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (2013), a visiting scholar at Johannes Wattenberg University (Mainz, Germany), an awardee of postdoctoral fellowship by the American Council of Learned Societies (African Humanities Programme), among others. He has an extensive understanding of the Ghanaian society and the peculiar developmental challenges that plaque this part of the country. The new CEO has outlined that his vision for the authority is to be able to increase wealth creation through sustainable yearlong irrigation farming, support for entrepreneurship and increased support of value addition for the agriculture and food value chain in the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone (NSEZ).

NDA is a vehicle for accelerating development in the NSEZ to help reduce poverty and increase opportunities for the socio-economic transformation of the livelihoods of the people in the area. This can only be achieved by a profound understanding of the needs of the people and motivated by a drive to leave a lasting legacy for the people and the authority, and these are values that Dr Alhassan Sulemana Anamzoya ascribes to.