The incumbent Northern Regional Chairman of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Awudu Sorfo Azorka, popularly known as “Chief Azorka”, has stated that he was very confident of retaining his position in the upcoming Regional Delegates Conference of the party, in spite of stiff opposition from five other strong contestants.Chief Azorka, who was the former Regional 1st Vice Chairman, automatically ascended the substantive position after the death of the late Regional Chairman, Alhaji Sumani Zakari, and is now aiming to retain his position.
This time round, Chief Azorka, who commands a lot of support from majority of the NDC youth in the Northern Region, will have to convincingly defeat the five popular party gurus, who are Alhaji Ibrahim Libron (former Regional Youth Organiser), Alhassan Ibrahim Boham (owner of the popular Alhassan Hotel), Alhaji Ibrahim Mobila (Godfather of Haruna Iddrisu, MP for Tamale South), Alhaji Mohammed Zakari (son of the late Regional Chairman, Alhaji Sumani Zakari) and one Alhaji Alhassan Kpenaa.
Speaking in an interview with The Chronicle at his residence, the incumbent NDC Regional Chairman, who was flanked by a large number of enthusiastic NDC youth, said his decision to contest the position was largely influenced by numerous calls from the majority of the youth and some leading members of the party across the 31 constituencies in the region.
According to him, his avowed intention is to win about 98% votes for the NDC in both the parliamentary and presidential polls, and retain President John Dramani Mahama in the 2016 general elections.
He maintained that the next general elections required visionary, committed, influential and selfless leaders to move the supporters at the grassroots to rally behind the party for victory in all the 10 regions of Ghana.
Chief Azorka noted that the NDC lost 10 of the parliamentary seats in the Northern Region to the opposition New Patriotic Party on the basis of the hate, disunity and lack of support from other party members who lost in the last regional election.
He, therefore, called for the need for all persons contesting the election this time round, to place the interest of the party first, and accept the outcome of the upcoming congress, in order to retain the NDC in power.
The incumbent NDC Regional Chairman pledged to rally behind any candidate who would emerge as winner in the election, and encouraged the rest to do same in an event that he won.
He indicated that the Northern Region, irrespective of the general belief that the nation is in economic hardships, had benefited a number of development projects, most of which had been completed, with others still ongoing.
Citing the ongoing upgrading and expansion of the Tamale Teaching Hospital, the upgrading and expansion of the Tamale Airport into an international airport, the construction of seven new modern markets in Tamale, construction of polyclinics and schools, provision of electricity, water and sanitation facilities, and the construction of the Fufulso-Sawla road and Eastern Corridor Roads among others, as some of the projects undertaken by the ruling NDC government.
Chief Azorka said that his administration would use those projects as their main campaign messages for 2016.
According to him, all the projects mentioned were executed in his time, therefore, he would be the best person to articulate and explain their usefulness to the people than the other five candidates.
He, therefore, appealed to the delegates to vote massively for him in the coming election to enable him continue to carry along the youth to rally behind the party.
The leader of the Azorka Campaign, Mohammed Zacious, also told The Chronicle that the youth of the NDC had thrown their weight behind Chief Azorka, because of his numerous support for them.
According to him, Chief Azorka, when the party was in opposition, mobilised most of the youth and financed their education into the senior high and tertiary schools.
Those who wanted to be self-employed, he said, were given the needed financial support to start up their own businesses.
Mr. Zacious emphasised that the youth of the NDC did not just resolve to join Azorka’s campaign by accident, but because they had realised the need to reciprocate the support he had given them over the years.
“I can tell you with all confidence that almost every NDC youth in Tamale, and most parts of Northern Region, owe Azorka a great deal of gratitude, and those of us who are not, and will never be ungrateful to him, will continue to support Azorka even in his old age.”
Meanwhile, all the six contestants, according to the Northern Regional Treasurer of the NDC, Rashid Tanko Computer, are paying a filing fee of GH¢800 each.