This year’s Maulud Nabiyi, to wit the celebration of the birthday of the Holy Prophet Mohammed, was held in Kumasi where Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia and former President John Mahama suffered major protocol breaches.
The programme hosted by one of the leading clerics of the Tijanniyya sect, Sheikh Wadudu Cisey, saw both minders of the two politicians sparring over sitting arrangement at the programme.
The minders of the former President refused to have their boss share the dais prepared for both of them, a situation which caused commotion at the Aboabo School Park in the Asokore Mampong municipality in Kumasi.
For them, since the state protocol was responsible for preparing the dais, the minders of the former President could not guarantee the safety of their boss.
The date being one of the important entries in the Islamic calendar in Kumasi had the National Chief Imam and other leading Islamic clerics in attendance.
All proceeded according to the arrangements put up by the organizers until the disagreement ensued over whether or not the Vice-President and the former President should share the dais and indeed sit side-by-side.
Per the plan of the organisers, all the top dignitaries including Vice-President Bawumia, former President Mahama, the Chief Imam and others were supposed to sit together on a special dais mounted at the place.
Surprisingly, even before Mr. Mahama could set foot on the event grounds, some top members of his delegation vehemently objected to the idea of their leader sitting side-by-side with the sitting Vice-President.
Reports indicated that top NDC executive Sofo Azorka, and Alhaji Sani, an executive member of the NDC in the Ashanti Region, allegedly said they could not guarantee the safety of Mr. Mahama should he sit on the dais.
DAILY GUIDE gathered that the organisers had reserved three seats for Mr. Mahama and two leading members of his delegation, to be selected by himself (Mahama) to sit on the dais. This was to show respect to the ex-President.
But this plan by the event organisers did not go down well with Mr. Mahama’s team, who openly complained that they could not trust the arrangement of the state protocol so they would not allow Mr. Mahama to sit on the dais.
There was brief commotion around the dais regarding where exactly at the programme should Mr. Mahama and his delegation sit.
Eventually, Mr. Mahama’s team rejected the offer to sit on the same dais with Dr. Bawumia.
After the brief drama, Mr. Mahama’s team then moved to another dais, where the Deputy Ashanti Regional Chief Imam, Sheikh Alhaji Zakaria, and other respected Muslim clerics and scholars were already comfortably seated.
Surprisingly, as things seemed to have returned to normalcy, there was another drama again.
This time around, Mr. Mahama’s team forced the Ashanti Regional Deputy Chief and other dignitaries to leave the dais for them.
After minutes of heated debate, Sheikh Alhaji Zakari and the other top Muslim scholars, in a show of maturity and ensuring peace for the sacred programme to continue smoothly, left the dais in peace for Mr. Mahama and his team.
Again, another drama surfaced at the programme. Baba Jamal, another top NDC member, who arrived later, became angry, upon learning about his colleagues’ decision to refuse to sit on the dais with the Vice-President.
Baba Jamal, a staunch Muslim, reports suggested, was of the view that it was a big mistake on the part of his colleagues to openly breach the seating arrangement of an important event such as the birthday of the Holy Prophet.
All these happened on the blind side of Mr. Mahama, who arrived at the function later.
The NDC flag bearer was seen exchanging pleasantries with Dr. Bawumia and other dignitaries perhaps unknowing to him what had preceded his arrival.
Information reaching DAILY GUIDE suggests that at a point, Mr. Mahama wanted to leave the venue but for the insistence of the Vice-President’s minders through the host, he remained.
He, however, listened to the speech of the Vice-President who took his time to explain the numerous developmental projects the NPP government was bringing to the Zongos.
Mr. Mahama, in his address, described the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu, as a peacemaker and national icon.
He said he was impressed by how the Chief Imam remained calm even when someone prophesied about his death last year.
According to the NDC leader, the country needs to jealously protect its peace and unity at all times so as to ensure oneness and effective development.
He, therefore, called for a fair and peaceful election in December this year and also said he had plans for the Zongo communities.
On his part, Dr. Bawumia recounted the various programmes by the NPP government to transform the deprived Zongo communities in order to better the lives of the people in the process.
He said through the Zongo Development Fund several landmark projects had taken place in the Zongo areas in the country, urging the people to vote and retain the NPP in political office in December to finish their works.