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 depening.
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 comittee 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: TopNews Ghana.com/Matthias Licho