Having realized “marginalization” as a key word in the development agenda at county and national levels, citizens hailing from Zahn Chiefdom in Nimba County are poised to drive their own development instead of relying on Government to meet their needs.
Zahn is a part of the original Saclepea Mahn District and has 13 towns, and the headquarters is Duo Town, near the banks of St. John River, which separates Nimba from Bong County.
The town is currently a part of electoral district #8 that is represented by Larry P. Younquoi, who has been reelected for the second time in the 54th Legislature.
Eric Myers, a citizen of Zahn, speaking to the Daily Observer following a meeting on March 31 on the campus of the Paynesville Community School, said the Chiefdom is lagging behind because of the mindset of the people, which seems to indicate that only Government has to implement development for every sector of the country.
“In the United States where I live, community members sit in caucus, make their development plans, and work towards them before Government can come in with help from the taxes. But our people here just feel that Government should bring development to them before they can improve their lives. No! They must plan and begin implementation before calling on Government to intervene,” Myers said.
Myers has persuaded his kinsmen to join hands under one group, the Zahn Loleawon Development Organization, (ZALDO) to collectively advocate for what Government needs to do for them.
According to him, the Chiefdom ought to receive not less than US$18,000 from a social development fund provided by Arcelor Mittal for passage of the railroad in that chiefdom. The rail facilitates the transport of iron ore Mittal exploits from Mount Tokadi and now Gangra, in the old mining town of Yekepa.
He emphasized that without togetherness and a need to speak with one voice, Government will not listen to a single person, but will consider such an advocate as a mere individual who may be seeking personal interest.
In the hope of consolidating the organization financially, Myers disclosed soliciting US$8,000 from humanitarian Christians in the United States, and has urged the people of Zahn to use it for its intended purpose.
“People in that part of the land build on trust, and if they give anything to you, they expect to see the intended result; or they lose confidence in you if they do not see what you say you would do with it,” he added.
Steve Quoi, also a citizen of Zahn and one of the organizers of the meeting, said they were under one umbrella organization in the past, but money generated for development purposes was tampered with by the leaders at the time.
This, according to him, led many to withdraw from supporting the organization and undermined its unity.
Peter Dolo, one of the prominent sons of that chiefdom, said the intent of their newly-established organization may not only be centered on Zahn but the entire Nimba County.
Dolo said when resources are available, they will extend to the rest of the County with the vision being “unity in diversity.”
Zahn is the chiefdom from which a lawmaker emerged in Nimba County. During sitting of the 52nd Legislature, Jackson Fiindor, hailing from Duoo, was elected as a Representative for Nimba Electoral District #5.
Zahn citizens, having had this opportunity, say they did not benefit from the government under the representation of Fiindor, because as a chiefdom with approximately 20,000 people, it continues to lag behind in terms of basic public facilities, including high schools, clinics and good roads.