Some observers have described the outcome of Friday’s polls of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Bolgatanga Central Constituency as a strong ‘warning shot’ to popular lawmaker, Isaac Adongo.
The party was split in two— one camp for Adongo and the other faction perceived to be for prominent lawyer, Abraham Amaliba— in a controversial and prolonged buildup to the polls.
Former Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Emmanuel Akolbire Opam-Brown, finished third behind Amaliba at the NDC primaries that gave Adongo a ticket to Parliament in 2016.
A ‘wounded’ Opam-Brown had indicated in a Starr News interview shortly after the 2015 primaries that he would pick up his fallen crest ahead of the 2020 elections. But trusted sources very close to the former legislator told Starr News Sunday (today) he was yet to determine whether he would contest the 2019 primaries or not.
The rise of the internal factions ahead of the Friday’s polls was, of course, nothing strange. But what observers saw in the constituency two days ago at the Sacred Heart Catholic Social Centre, the grounds for the elections, was new.
The camps brought their banners to the venue, each side indomitably showcasing joint campaign portraits of its aspiring members on walls and on disposable bowls containing food prepared for delegates. It was the first time the constituency had seen such a thing, to expose internal alignments so bold to the public at an electoral challenge. And it was the climax of the petitions that saw the polls delayed until a team led by the party’s General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, lifted the suspension after a peace-making meeting in the constituency.
Whilst some observers consider the height of the showdown at the polls grounds as harmless, others see it otherwise, saying how deep a conflict is allowed to travel is also how deep it will take to patch up the differences later.
Out of the 15 functional positions struggled for at the weekend, Isaac Adongo’s camp captured only 4, representing 27%, with the other 11 positions, representing 73%, taken by the rival camp.
Declared in 2018 the best MP on Ghana’s minority side, Adongo’s articulate take on national issues, especially those bordering on the economy, has brought him a stellar rise to national fame. And whilst his critics say he has done less in 18 months in terms of infrastructure than his predecessor had achieved within the same period, his supporters often argue back it is so because Adongo is disadvantaged with the NDC in opposition today unlike his predecessor who was privileged to be in Parliament when the party was in power for 8 years.
Former MCE ‘bleeds’ again as defeated Secretary ‘resurrects’
Many of the contenders left the overcrowded venue ‘bleeding’ and ‘limping’ after the declaration of results by the Electoral Commission (EC).
Among such casualties was former Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Bolgatanga, Harry Epsona Ayamga, who polled just 33 votes out of the 1,001 valid ballots cast.
Banners of the two rival camps on display at the Constituency congress grounds
This is the second unsuccessful attempt Mr. Ayamga, who had been the party’s constituency chairman for 14 years half of it in rough opposition, has made to regain power as chairman since his sudden dismissal from the office of the MCE in March, 2011.
At the 2014 constituency polls, he garnered 200 votes, representing 45% of the total valid votes cast. With the 33 votes grabbed in the latest elections, representing just 3% of all the acceptable votes in the ballot box, he has had his fingers burnt enough and will not try his hands on that electoral scuffle again. He is said to have declared Saturday (yesterday) on a WhatsApp platform that he had hung up his boots and gloves for good.
George Aduko Ayanore, a retired engineer and former presiding member, won the chairmanship race with 485 votes. George Ayimbire Adabre (incumbent Vice Chairman and said to be Isaac Adongo’s brother) gathered 382 votes and Joseph Nayikuu Gandaa got 88 votes.
Sylvester Yamba Samari Orondo, a 75-year-old debutant who had told delegates he was fully broke but promised to throw them a party if he won, nearly caused an upset as he ‘almost’ overtook Epsona himself, exceeding expectations with the 13 votes he bagged. Orondo is reported to have also told delegates a cow he was pulling to the market to sell so he could raise fund for his campaign escaped on the way, but he promised a get-together if the delegates gave him the mandate.
The delegates also elected Atanga Richard Aduko as Vice Chairman; Roland Atanga Ayoo, who lost his secretary position in 2014, as Secretary; Adongo Jonah Adombila, Deputy Secretary; Ayaeh Fuseini, Treasurer; Jonathan Adanigna Alataaba, Deputy Treasurer; Martin Ayamga Aka-Eeri, Organiser; Robert Anonwaam Asakinaba, Deputy Organiser; David Agorogo, Communications Officer; Aduko Asoneriba, Deputy Communications Officer; Shaibu Mohammed Aminu, Zongo Caucus Coordinator; Prosper Amiyinne, Youth Organiser; Isaac Asore, Deputy Youth Organiser; Joyce Abolga, Women Organiser and Fouzia Nashiru as Deputy Women Organiser.
I will mend the cracks— New Constituency Chairman
Three of the big shots who contested the party’s primaries in 2015— Isaac Adongo, Abraham Amaliba and Emmanuel Opam-Brown Akolbire— joined other dignitaries on the high table as the polls ran from the early morning hours of Friday into the dawn hours of Saturday.
The newly elected chairman is not oblivious of the rift within the constituency. In fact, he said he came into the race mainly to use that position to mend the cracks.
“That is my main objective of even contesting these elections as the chairman. I want to bring all the people within the NDC together. I’m an elderly person and looking at the small, small problems, I hope to clear all those ones.
“I can speak to the elderly ones and I can speak to the youths. And I think they will respect my advice. I’m hopeful that I will unite the party in the Bolgatanga Central Constituency. We have already drawn up an action plan for the constituency, to work in phases from now till 2020. Some of the things we’ll be doing are campaign rallies in all the zones,” he told journalists Friday at the polls grounds.