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Politics Wed, 25 Jul 2007

NPP in Aliu's Backyard Boils

The woes of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Yendi Constituency of the Northern Region, home constituency of Vive President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, keeps deepening as the party is clearly divided into factions between the Vice President and Hon. Alhaji Malik Yakubu, the 2nd Deputy Speaker of Parliament who doubles as the incumbent Member of Parliament (MP) for Yendi. The fierce animosity, which started between the supporters of the two party kingpins in 2003, has not seen any worth describing as an attempt to address the rumpus.

Investigations conducted by Northern Regional Bureau of The Chronicle to ascertain the genesis of the persistent tension in the party revealed that in 2003, because the NPP's Alhaji Malik was the sitting MP, both the Regional and National Executives resolved not to open parliamentary nominations in the constituency unlike the orphan constituencies.

This move, which was described by sections of people as unconstitutional and undemocratic, was protested against by some party members including one Alahssan Yussif and Mahamadu Parishana who eventually fielded one Loukman Iddrisu to contest Malik Yakubu in primaries.

The Vice President, heavily supported the filing of nomination of Mr. Loukman according to internal sources, but eventually, the aspirant lost the primaries to Alhaji Malik Yakubu.

As a result of the development, supporters of Loukman also tagged themselves as supporters of Aliu Mahama and campaigned seriously against Hon. Malik, which intensified the antagonism between the Malik and Aliu camps.

However, the paper gathered from some Constituency Executives (Names withheld) that in September 2005 during the Constituency Delegates Congress, some of the contestants again started using the Vice President whilst others were using Alhaji Malik for their campaigns. This further deepened the tension as followers of the two (Aliu and Malik) saw themselves virtually as enemies.

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But incidentally, almost all those whom the Vice President allegedly supported lost the positions they were vying for and latter threatened to leave the NPP.

On August 17, 2006 those defeated candidates under the influence of one Sule Salifu the Deputy Regional Coordinator of Dr. Amoako Tuffuor's School Feeding Programme and one Abu Zolge, mobilized some few youth and held a press conference in Yendi to announce their resignation from the NPP.

In an interview with the Yendi Constituency Secretary, Mr. Osman Kayaba Issahaku, he confirmed the story and expressed grave worry about the current state of the NPP in Yendi.

According to him, those disgruntled persons, especially Abu Zolge and Sule Salifu who are expressing interest to contest Malik Yakubu in 2008 were the main people fuelling passions and sentiments in the name of supporting the Vice President in his political campaign.

He also mentioned the Constituency Chairman, Alhaji Mahama Dikpung a.k.a Chief Driver, as another party guru who was openly supporting the cause of the Vice President as a result of which there had been some division in the NPP.

Efforts to speak with the Constituency Chairman himself was not successful.

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Mr. Sule Salifu, who is one of those accused to be behind the acts that were causing division in the party in Yendi, confirmed the division in the NPP but insisted that the problem was not between the Vice President and Malik Yakubu but rather the Constituency Chairman and the DCE Mohammed Habib-Tijani.

Mr. Sule who declared his strong association with the Chairman's faction (allegedly for Aliu) said the problem in the party in the constituency could not be solved until the DCE whom he described as the political head, played a neutral role towards the unification of the party.

Meanwhile, nine out of ten of the constituency executives are reportedly against the Vice President due to the unflinching stance taken by the Constituency Chairman.

When contacted, the DCE, Mohammed Tijani said he had nothing bad against the Vice President and the constituency Chairman. According to him, he as DCE had tried to always remain neutral and unveiled that the problem was rather between the Chairman and other executives as well as the Council of Elders of the party in Yendi. He therefore called on the National Executives to move into the matter to reunite the party.

The Chairman, according to sources was exploiting all means possible to drain all the executives and other potential delegates into the Vice President's camp. Those who are failing to comprise have now become his enemies.

Source: Ghanaian Chronicle