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Charles Bintin Recaptures Saboba Seat

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Charles Binipom Bintin, former Member of Parliament for Saboba constituency of the Northern Region in the erstwhile New Patriotic Party (NPP) government, has recaptured the seat from Joseph Nikpe Bukari of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the last Wednesday’s parliamentary election.

In 2004, Mr. Bintin snatched the seat from NDC’s Moses Nayon Bilijo when he {Bintin} raked 10,441 representing 51.56% with Nayon polling 7,892 representing 38.97%. However, Mr. Bintin was booted out in 2008 by the incumbent MP, Mr. Nikpe.

Mr. Nikpe retained the seat in 2012 until Mr. Bintin made a boisterous come back and unseated him on December 7, 2016. He obtained 14,345 votes representing 49.25% while the incumbent MP polled 9,738 votes representing 33.44%. Joseph Amuzu Ngmangnag, an independent candidate who emerged from the NDC managed 4,482 representing 15.39% with Abdul Aziz of the Convention People’s Party picking only 101 votes representing 0.35%.

Joseph Nikpe, MP, Saboba

Joseph Nikpe, MP, Saboba

For the first time in the political history of Saboba constituency, the voting pattern changed entirely in favour of the NPP as the electorate voted hugely for both presidential and parliamentary candidates of the opposition party.

In the presidential race, the outcome was like this; NDC 12,311 representing 42.25%, NPP 15,607 representing 53.56%, PPP 109 representing 0.37%, NDP, 28 representing 0.10%, CPP, 83 representing 0.28%, PNC, 132 representing 0.45% and Independent, 328 representing 0.10%.

In 2008, John Atta –Mills, NDC’s then presidential candidate polled 10,361 resenting 50.43% to beat Nana Akufo-Addo of the NPP who polled 8,923 resenting 43.43%. In the parliamentary race that same year, Bukari Nikpe Joseph of the NDC received 10,331 votes representing 49.58% to beat Charles Binipom Bintin of the NPP who gathered 8,944 votes representing 42.92%.

In the 2012 presidential race, John Mahama of the NDC polled 13,350 representing 51.23% while Nana Akufo-Addo of the NPP polled 12,374 representing 47.49%. In the parliamentary race that same year, Bukari Nikpe Joseph of the NDC obtained 13,409 representing 51.09%. He beat Charles Binipom Bintin of the NPP who obtained 12,733 representing 48.51%.

On November 12, 2016, TopNews Ghana published a story under the headline ‘NDC Seat in Saboba Under Threat.’ This publication was after some conscientious analysis of the political atmosphere as at then and at the same time, political antecedent of the constituency.

The publication indicated the cracks in the NDC led to Mr. Amuzu’s decision to contest as an independent candidate and that had put the seat under threat. From the analysis of 2012 and 2016 parliamentary votes, Mr. Nikpe lost 3,671 in 2016 culminating in his loss. Mr. Bintin on the other hand, maximized his votes by 1,612 leading to his victory.

Below is the full story published on November 12, 2016

The woes of Joseph Bukari Nikpe, the Member of Parliament for Saboba Constituency in the Northern Region on the ticket of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) seem to be far from over barely three weeks to the December 7 polls as cracks in the party keep deepening.

The development is of concern to the rank and file of the NDC some of whom fear could cause the MP to lose the seat. The incumbent MP, Mr. Nipke faces stiff opposition from Charles Binipom Bintin, a former minister for Local Government and Rural Development and Joseph Amuzu Ngmangnag, former Northern Regional Vice-chairman of the NDC who resigned to contest as an independent candidate.

The woes of the NDC in that constituency begun during the vetting of the party’s parliamentary aspirants in 2015 when the vetting committee disqualified Mr. Amuzu.

The disqualified aspirant and his sympathizers got offended by the move and accused the incumbent MP of masterminding his disqualification. The accusation the MP has denied.
A planned demonstration by Mr. Amuzu and his supporters was foiled by the police who claimed the grounds were not safe for a demonstration.

Mr. Amuzu tried everything possible to get a hearing to take part in the primaries but all to no avail. He therefore resigned as the regional Vice-chairman to contest as an independent candidate. Prior to his resignation, the party’s disciplinary committee had accused the constituency chairman; Nkunabon Robert of mooting Mr. Amuzu’s candidature and subsequently suspended him. Checks by TopNews Ghana in the constituency have revealed that the suspended chairman has thrown his weight behind the independent candidate but still campaigning for President John Mahama.
What has worsened the situation is the directive by the general secretary of the NDC, John Aseidu Nketia that all who are contesting as independent candidates are barred from campaigning for the President and the NDC or using the name or symbols of the party to campaign.

Amuzu and his supporters who were campaigning for Mr. Mahama have decided to stop and rather make friends with the NPP’s Nana Addo.

Saboba had been traditional seat for the NDC until 2004 when Charles Bintin snatched the seat from the NDC. He however lost it to the incumbent MP in 2008.

Jigur Victor, a spokesperson for the independent candidate has told TopNews Ghana Mr. Amuzu was very instrumental in the victory of Mr. Nipke in 2012 and will make sure he brings him back home.
As it is now, the three giants are battling it out in a race that seems unpredictable. Because, while the choice of Nikpe will be based largely on his performance as the MP for the past 8 years, Amuzu will count on the support he is drawing from the camps of Nikpe and Charles to snatch the seat. Charles Bintin on the other hand, is seeking to take advantage of the glaring division in the NDC for his return to parliament.

Sandwiched by the two candidates with one coming from within his party, Mr. Nikpe, just like anybody else who would have found themselves in his shoes should have every course to worry about especially when his party chairman and treasurer do not back his candidature.

The breakaway Amuzu. Will the majority of the electorate understand, believe and accept him and choose him over Nikpe and Charles? What about Charles? Has he been able to convinced the electorate to trust him to be the kind of MP they want?

Meanwhile, there is a forth force; CPP’s Abdul Aziz Issah. He is a new entrant and so little is known about him. But certainly, the mandate is the people’s.

Our checks have shown that constituents, who are dissatisfied with the works of former MP Charles Bintin and incumbent MP Joseph Nikpe, will prefer to cast their votes for Amuzu. However, whether those votes will be enough to send him to parliament is a matter to be determined on December 7.

Source: www.TopNews Ghana.com/Matthias Licho

From our analysis of the situation then, it was clear Amuzu’s decision to contest was born out of bitterness emanating from his disqualification by the vetting committee. He and his supporters then vowed to ensure the MP did not return to parliament. In attempts to achieve this, they went to the length and breathe of the constituency to campaign vigorously. Knowing the narrow gap Nikpe used to beat Bintin in the last election, it was obvious they knew the consequences of their action – to cause the incumbent MP’s defeat by splitting his votes.

In fact, they achieved that and certainly so, they were happy he lost because Saboba was electrified as supporters of Amuzu went agog with wild jubilations in the streets of Saboba after the declaration of Mr. Bintin as the MP-elect.

Mr. Bintin has served as District Chief Executive for Saboba, MP, Deputy Northern Regional Minister and subsequently as the minister for Local Government and Rural Development and therefore his return, he is expected to bring a lot of experience and lessons learnt in all these positions if he wants to serve and stay in office for long.

He should also expect a stiff come back of Mr. Nikpe or a possible stronger candidate from the NDC, any other party or perhaps, an independent candidate in 2020.

Source: www.TopNewsGhana.com/Licho Mathias

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