Prominent markets and business centres such as Agbogbloshie, Timber Market, the Konkomba Yam Market and Katamanto, all located there keep the constituency’s ranking high among its peers in terms of commercial activities.
For instance, the Konkombo Yam Market is regarded as the largest source of yam in the country, whereas Katamanto is undoubtedly the greatest hub for second-hand clothing (popularly called “obroni wa wu”).
From dawn to dusk, all roads lead to the central business district of Accra, the Odododiodio Constituency.
It can best be described as the engine of the Greater Accra Region in terms of the supply of foodstuff as a greater chunk of the yam, fish, meat and vegetables such as tomatoes, onion and cabbage are found in its markets.
The coastal part of the constituency, whose residents are mostly fishermen, is also a hub for tourism, with the Ussher Fort serving as the greatest relic of British colonial rule in the country.
About Odododiodio Geographically, the constituency starts from the James Town beach and goes through the Ring Road South to the Graphic Road, bordering the Klottey Korle, Ablekuma South and Ablekuma Central constituencies.
With a total population of more than 180,000, and a voter population of about 110,000, the constituency comprises major communities such as Old Fadama, James Town (British Accra), Bukom, Arena, Palladium, Adedenkpo and Timber Market.
In terms of the local government structure, it falls within the Ashiedu Keteke sub-metro, with seven electoral areas, including Amamomo, Mudor, Kikan and Korle Didon.
One of the popular places in the constituency is Bukom, which is noted for producing the best boxers for the country.
Located at Ga Mashie and falling within British Accra, Bukom, meaning ‘a well,’ is also referred to as Old Accra because it is believed to be the place where the Ga people first settled upon arrival in Accra.
One name that comes in handy in this community is outspoken boxer Braimah Kamoko, also known as Bukom Banku, who until recently was undefeated in his boxing career.
The women in the fishing community of Bukom are noted to be producers of what can arguably be described as the best ‘kome’ or kenkey.
A number of colonial edifices of historic, cultural and tourist significance, including the James Fort and the colonial-era Lighthouse, the General Post Office, Brazilian House, the Opera Cinema (Opera Square), Salaga Market and the Oxford Street, are also located in this constituency.
Agbona cannot be left out as it is the preferred place for political activities such as the launch of campaigns and manifestoes by political parties in the James Town area.
Old Fadama, a slum community that hosts people from all walks of life and serves as a fertile ground for commercial motorbike business, popularly known as ‘okada’, is a key part of this constituency.
Even though the Odododiodio Constituency has enormous economic potential and stands tall in the country’s political history, its residents face a number of challenges that keep them at the bottom of the social ladder.
These challenges range from inadequate educational infrastructure, poor sanitation, youth unemployment, activities of deviant youth and sprawling slums to the menace posed by commercial motorbike operators.
A multiplicity of factors such as the increasing population in slum communities in the area, high commercial activities and lack of proper waste management mechanisms have made the constituency a receptacle for filth.
While the gutters, markets and shoulders of roads are suffocating with waste of various forms that are dumped indiscriminately, the beaches have also been turned into places for open defecation.
Access to education is another challenge as pressure continues to mount on the educational facilities because of the increasing population.
The lack of public schools in some of the areas, especially at Old Fadama, leaves poor parents at the mercy of private individuals who charge cut-throat fees for the services they render.
For Mr Samuel Malu, one of the youthful opinion leaders at the Amamomo electoral area, it is worrying that business entities in the constituency are refusing to employ the youth within the constituency.
“The entire constituency does not have a hospital. Apart from the Ussher Clinic and the Princess Marie Louis Children’s Hospital, the other health facilities are privately owned, with some of them operating illegally,” he said.
Meanwhile, hundreds of young people engage in menial jobs, including the use of commercial motorbikes, with its attendant problems.
Others have also taken to bad activities such as the illicit use of drugs, prostitution, gambling and petty theft.
From dawn to dusk, young girls, most of whom ought to be in school, are seen carrying heavy loads to earn a living. Head porters, popularly called ‘kayayei’, wander about in the capital city in search of loads to carry for a fee.
Question of where they will sleep at night is not really a bother to them as they are prepared to pass the night in kiosks, verandas and in the open.
Recently, a neighborhood watch committee was inaugurated to support the police to combat crime in the constituency.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Nii Lante Vanderpuye, has taken a number of steps to improve the lives of the people, especially in the area of education, employment opportunities and youth empowerment.
For instance, for the past nine years, he has organised fee-free extra classes for final-year students for about three months before they sit the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) in an attempt to improve upon education.
“I have collaborated with the Asiedu Keteke Sub-Metro Directorate of Education and other stakeholders to bring on board graduates to support the regular teachers to prepare the pupils for about three months before the BECE.
“These efforts are yielding good returns because last year for instance, the circuit supervisors told me that the figures showed that the constituency’s average performance in the BECE had improved remarkably, hitting 70 per cent from 42 per cent in the previous year,” he said.
The MP added that bursaries and scholarships had also been given to students at all levels to support them to go through school and become responsible people in future.
Nii Lantey is, however, worried that despite the frantic efforts he made to secure employment opportunities for the youth in the constituency, most of them lose the opportunity because of negative attitude to work.
“I use my influence and struggle to get employment opportunities for some of the youth in the constituency but sometimes they leave very bad testimonials so businesses prefer to employ people from outside.
Most of the people cannot be employed because they lack formal education and the skills set to work,” he lamented.
On the sanitation situation, Nii Lantey called on the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) to give priority to the Odododiodio Constituency in its initiative to manage waste in the capital city because “it is where we have a concentration of commercial activities that lead to the choking of gutters”.
The government has a number of social policies that seek to improve the lives of the people, especially in deprived communities.
Excellent as these policies may look, the people are yet to feel their impact on the ground.
It is important for basic necessities of life such as water, electricity, accommodation, sanitation facilities and skills development initiatives to be made available for people at the grass roots to empower them and also improve their lives.