The Upper East Regional Communications Team of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has launched a counterattack at the National Democratic Congress (NDC), saying the recent claims made by the opposition party over an Astro-turf sports park project in the regional capital were not only fabricated but also aimed at inciting the public against the governing party.
Just last Monday, November 5, the Upper East Regional Communications Secretariat of the NDC told Ghanaians through a news conference that government had defrauded taxpayers by awarding $250,000 (Gh¢1, 250, 000) to give the popular Bolgatanga Mobil Park an Astro-turf facelift but ended up only fencing the pitch and putting withered grass on it for goats to feast on.
But in a reprisal press confab organised in the regional capital exactly one week later, the NPP’s team of communicators spared no word in defending the Ministry of Inner-City and Zongo Development who conceived that project and awarded it among a number similar projects sparsely dotted around the country.
“The ministry was not expected to construct an Astro-turf at Bolga Mobil Park. The biggest question is: what is the motive behind this wicked propaganda? It’s obvious that our brothers from the NDC are seeking to play the keyboard of people’s emotions, but the agenda has fallen flat on the face of the evidence provided. Since the Fourth Republic, this is what NDC has been doing— trying to incite the people against NPP.
“The scope of work in the contract involves re-vegetation, fencing, reserve-player seats, goalposts and floodlights at a cost of Gh¢499,500.00. The project does not include changing rooms, reception or dressing room. The contract for the project in question is in Ghana cedis and not dollars. We, therefore, wish to state that, just like Bolgatanga, the ministry has similar projects in Salaga, Yeji, Tafo and Oda,” said the team in a statement presented by acting Communications Director, Issah Sanusi.
NPP surprised NDC now a ‘Caring Voice’ for Upper East
The public knew the NPP would fight back after the NDC held its presser last week. The ruling party’s Deputy Upper East Regional Secretary, Elvis Figo Awonekai, had dropped a strong hint, hours after the NDC’s meeting with the press had ended, about a coming retaliation.
And as the teeming members the NPP’s communications directorate fought on Monday, they dissociated the project in Bolgatanga from a similar one being executed about 30 kilometres away at Navrongo, saying the former was initiated by the Ministry of Inner-City and Zongo Development and the latter was a sole idea of “the Ministry of Youth and Sports and Wembley Sports Construction”.
“The Ministry of Inner Cities and Zongo Development has not constructed any Astro-turf in Navrongo,” they stressed.
They also expressed shock the NDC looked more interested in pointing at the ‘speck’ in the eyes of the NPP than in showing remorse about the ‘log’ in its own eyes.
“It is astonishing today [that] this group of people is pretending to be speaking for the people of Bolga. Unlike the NPP, the NDC deceived the good people of Bolgatanga with numerous and mouthwatering projects [which] turned out to be fiasco.
“Examples of these projects include construction of Bolga Sports Complex, Bolga Polyclinic, Regional Hospital [and] Pwalugu Hydro Project. The sod was cut for the commencement of the projects but they never saw the light of day. Professor Mills cut sod for the Bolgatanga Sports Complex; not a single block was laid. The same people could not commence one project and complete it [but are] today shamefully exposing themselves,” the NPP jabbed back.
NPP blasts NDC over Kyebi, Walewale Comments
The ‘turf war’ drew more fire as members of the team responded to questions posed by journalists at Monday’s conference.
One of the communicators, Kamal Seidu, strongly rubbished comments made by the NDC last week which suggested President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia cared little about the Upper East region by constructing Astro-turf parks at their hometowns— Kyebi and Walewale respectively— but only upgraded the parks in Bolgatanga and Navrongo to green-grass facilities.
“Others are even saying there is a runway at the Walewale Sports Complex. The [facility] is in front of my house. There is nothing like that. The media can go there, do their own checks and come back. What happened to the Pwalugu Hydro Power Project money the NDC diverted to the Eastern Corridor Road Project?
“The difference between NDC and NPP is like from here to the United States of America. If Nana Addo did not like the people of the Upper East region, I don’t think the region would have benefited from free education,” said the Walewale-born communicator.
Whilst making it known that the party’s Upper East Regional Chairman, Lawyer Anthony Namoo, had left the region for Accra for meetings linked to the project, the party’s Deputy Regional Secretary (mentioned earlier) announced plans were underway to construct a sports complex for the region at Bawku.
“As I’m talking to you, because of this issue and other pertinent ones, the Regional Chairman left here yesterday (Sunday) and is currently in Accra. He would be meeting the ministry with regard to this. We have requested a volleyball court and other components to be added to this.
“Let me also say that as a secretariat, we have also made follow-ups. Upper East will get a sports complex. It will be sited in Bawku, to be precise. Under Nana Addo Government, it will be done in Bawku. It’s in the pipeline,” Mr. Awonekai disclosed.
The Upper East Regional Youth Organiser of the NPP, Latif Solomon, slammed the NDC, saying it uncaringly had never put up any projects in the zongo communities where it usually got more votes than the NPP. He also criticised the NDC strongly for “collapsing the Pwalugu Tomato Factory in 2010” after the NPP had revived it in 2007 and, whilst the factory was in a redundant state, still made its “Regional Secretary” as a board chairman of the collapsed factory.
“What I want to add is that the project (Astro-turf park) has not been handed over. You cannot go to the tailor if you have given your cloth to be sewn and it hasn’t been handed over to you, you have not paid for it, then, you are complaining that it hasn’t been well sewn. Until it is finished and handed over to you and you think the specifications are not right, you can now come in.
“Our opponents, the NDC, are trying to run faster than their shadows. We cannot start talking about value for money when the project has not been handed over, when it has not been put to use,” another communicator, Osman Kariyamah, hit back.