Feature By Samuel Adadi Akapule
There is no doubt that when it comes to counting people who stood tall and has contributed tremendously to the development of the National Democratic Congress(NDC) Party then, Mr Stephen Atubiga is one them and that cannot be ruled out. To appoint Mr. Stephen Atubiga as the District Chief Executive (DCE) for the newly created Binduri District just may be all that is needed for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to boost up its 2008 presidential lead and recapture the parliamentary seat in December, 2012. An NDC radio social commentator in Bolgatanga once said:
“Appointing Atubiga as DCE for Binduri is the greatest threat to the NPP. Realising his wits, opponents from the NPP and from the camp of former President Rawlings have attempted but in vain to pluck him from the NDC. He turned down every enticement.”
At Binduri, the appointment of a DCE should not hinge only on “who deserves it” but also “whose popularity obviously constitutes the greatest threat to strong political opponents”.
Besides the administrative skills, academic height and party contribution required of candidates for a position like the DCE office, their popularity is paramount and is measured by how far a great number of people are willing to listen to them no matter what they tell them, particularly in an election. A careful study, coupled with interviews by this Writer at Binduri and in the Upper East Region points at the 37-year-old Stephen Atubiga as the most advisable candidate for that slot of the DCE in the area.
A quick but deep look at the energy, creativity, availability, vision, smooth human relations and practical passion demonstrated in his dealings with ordinary people and the NDC, even when he thinks no one is watching, may say it all.
*A MAN OF THE PARTY AND A MAN OF THE PEOPLE
Mr. Atubiga, 37, is an unquestionable electoral mascot, widely credited with reviving the NDC in the Binduri Constituency and pumping confidence in the supporters since his return from the United States of America years back.
At the time the popularity of Professor Mills still was partially eclipsed by the name ‘J.J Rawlings’ at Binduri, Mr. Atubiga, before the 2008 elections, printed a poster of Professor Mills and the running mate, Mr. John Mahama, and spread copies of the poster like confetti. That intervention effort paid off. Beyond that, he provided a cash of Gh¢1,000 (one thousand Ghana cedis) to the constituency to open its first ever bank account and had for several months kept the account streaming with ready money for party activities. He has also furnished the party with brand new motorbikes to enable it
.3 reclaim the seat that slipped from the NDC in 2008 reportedly due to the lack of efficient means of transport for the 2008 campaign.
Mr. Atubiga is said to have pulled back to the NDC hundreds of defectors who joined the New Patriotic Party (NPP) before the 2008 elections and, perhaps, none has explained the NDC’s Green Book at the doorsteps of grassroots more than Stephen at every ward in the constituency. Back in the United States, and throughout the eight years of the NDC in opposition, he was the spokesperson and patron of NDC’s Virginia Branch, swinging between Highlife Radio and Akwaaba Radio to broadcast what the party stood for. He was a notable member of the NDC’s fund-raising committee in Virginia for the 2008 Election. And he published several online articles for the party, using the pseudonym ‘Alhaji Alex Acholatse’.
After he vied for the NDC’s parliamentary ticket for the 2012 Election and lost to Mr. Ben Noah Azure by just two votes, he announced his intention to go solo, citing foul play; but he rescinded that decision before sunset. Thereafter, he teamed up with Ben Noah to form a formidable campaign squad for 2012, a move still seen by many today as “a demonstration of the submissiveness of a child”.
In an effort to increase the NDC seats in Parliament in December especially from the “orphan constituencies”, he is also said to be on the campaign teams of the Deputy Minister of Education, Mr. Mahama Ayariga, at Bawku Central; the Upper East Regional Minister, Mr. Mark Owen, at Navrongo Central; and the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr. Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, at Fanteakwa. Scores of school-going youth have remained in the classroom through his charity, and a number of young people, either idle or busy, he has empowered. The assistance he has extended to widows is widely known, and his endless courtesy calls on opinion leaders and chiefs on behalf of the NDC have earned him a rare slot as the “Darling Boy” of the Binduri monarchs.
*WHAT STEPHEN ATUBIGA IS WORTH FOR DECEMBER
Among those aspiring to the office of the Binduri District Chief Executive, Mr. Atubiga stands out very clear as a resourceful and magnetic talisman, or man of the people, who has the key to everybody’s heart because he has everybody at heart.
As an employer in the United States himself and having exhibited awesome job creation ideas on several public platforms with the media, even some NPP supporters at Binduri have voiced out fears that positioning such a charismatic person like Stephen Atubiga as DCE would further decimate the NPP’s presidential fortunes and end the party’s dream of retaining Mr. Stephen Armstrong Yakubu as MP for Binduri.
Although Mr. Atubiga, with 90 votes, finished behind Mr. Azure who polled 92 votes in the primaries, he seems to command the popular votes at Binduri. Appointing him as DCE automatically will bring on board his teeming fans for President Mills and Ben Noah Azure. He will be a smart choice to save needless troubles.
*A FLEETING GLIMPSE OF NDC’S STRENGHT AT BINDURI SINCE 1992
Victories in both presidential and parliamentary elections in the Binduri Constituency, since 1992 and until 2008, had swung very wide the NDC’s way. Mr. Fortunate Atubiga (father of Mr. Stephen Atubiga) of the NDC assumed the seat unchallenged as the opposition parties boycotted the parliamentary elections nationwide in 1992. In 1996, he garnered 10,704 votes for the NDC whilst Asaana Dunstan Ayaribilla of the People’s National Convention (PNC) polled 5,806 votes, NPP’s Issahaku Mustapha 2,654 votes and Francis Aboko Ayariga of the People’s Convention Party (PCP) 1,209 votes. Mr. Fortunate Atubiga retired from active politics in 2000,
paving way for Mr. Bernard Akugri Achigado who sat chiefly in the NDC colours for just four years. In the 2000 presidential election, the NDC obtained 16,427 (82.5%) votes whilst the NPP gained 3,495 (17.5%) votes.
Mr. Mark Anthony Awuni, husband to Mrs. Lucy Awuni (Deputy Upper East Regional Minister), grabbed the NDC baton with 9,797 votes in the 2004 parliamentary elections that saw the NPP’s Stephen Armstrong Yakubu pick up 6,216 votes, Charles Aboyella (independent candidate) with 3,727 votes and Barichie Tilata Yakubu of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) taking home 199 votes. The 2004 elections saw the NDC win the presidential election with 14,383 (72.5%) votes. The NPP had 4,273 (21.5%) votes.
The NPP’s Stephen Armstrong Yakubu ended the NDC’s 16-year reign at Binduri with 9,103 votes. Mark Anthony Awuni dropped to 8,357 votes whilst Azure Cyrian Ayendago of the PNC had 292 votes, Barichie T. Yakubu of the CPP 103 votes, Elias Ayeebo of the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) 75 votes and Peter Ndezure of the Democratic People’s Party (DPP) obtained no vote. In that same election, the NDC polled presidential 11,072 (62.66%) votes and the NPP 5,987 (33.88%) votes.