The presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is expected to arrive in the Upper East region Friday for a campaign tour of six constituencies considered the strongholds of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The constituencies include Bolgatanga Central, Chiana-Paga, Bongo, Nabdam, Bawku Central and Garu. The flagbearer, according to the party’s communications directorate in the region, will tour the rest of the region’s fifteen constituencies during the second phase of his campaign later in the year.
Party supporters already are in high spirits, like the infectious joy on the eve of a festival, as they await his arrival all over the place. Party’s souvenirs, which had been dormant for some time, have bounced back from commercial hibernation on full display in front of the party’s offices and everywhere as multilingual jingles hype the impending tour on radio airwaves at random intervals across the region.
“His visit is a double-edged sword in the sense that he will attend the funeral of Colonel George Minyila at Navrongo on Saturday. He will tour only six constituencies: Bolgatanga Central, Chiana-Paga, Nabdam, Bawku Central, Garu and Bongo. On Sunday, he will address separate rallies at Chiana-Paga, Nabdam and at the Jubilee Park in Bolgatanga.
"Key among his messages of hope at the rallies will be the ‘one district one factory’ project. We have heard people saying it is not doable. We have brought out policies; people say they are not doable; but somewhere along the line they have made a U-turn and they are copying them,” Edmund Awuni, Head of the party’s Communications Team, told Starr News.
The presidential candidate, who is also scheduled to address the Upper East Regional House of Chiefs Sunday, is expected to end his tour of the region Monday with rallies in Bawku, Garu and Bongo after paying courtesy calls on traditional authorities in the areas.
*NPP’s performance in NDC’s strongholds in 2008
The NPP, since 1992, has never represented Bolgatanga in Ghana’s Parliament. Nana Akufo-Addo obtained 13,554 (27.28%) votes as against 30,941 (62.27%) votes polled by the NDC’s John Evans Atta Mills in Bolgatanga at the 2008 elections. He attracted 9,889 (33.52%) votes whilst Mills got 17,686 (59.95%) in Bongo.
At Chiana-Paga, Nana garnered 8,270 (30.87%) votes with Mills gaining 14,887 (55.58%) votes. The elections at Nabdam saw Akufo-Addo poll 4,655 (42.18%) votes against Mills’ 5,501 (49.84%) ballots. Bawku Central gave Nana 19,933 (50.49%) votes and Mills 18,943 (47.99%). Nana attracted 12,564 (37.53%) at Garu-Tempane with Mills securing 19,477 (58.18%) of the valid votes cast.
The 2008 runoff gave Nana 15,498 (30.24%) votes in Bolgatanga, 10,047 (34.26%) in Bongo, 8,355 (30.88%) in Chiana-Paga, 4,105 (38.56%) in Nabdam, 18,540 (43.79%) in Bawku Central and 11,881 (35.52%) in Garu-Tempane. Mills won the runoff with 35,746 (69.76%) votes in Bolgatanga, 19,276 (65.74%) in Bongo, 18,698 (69.12%) in Chiana-Paga, 6,541 (61.44%) in Nabdam, 23,800 (56.21%) in Bawku Central and 21,572 (64.48%) in Garu-Tempane.
Performance in NDC’s strongholds in 2012
The results of the 2012 presidential election portray the ‘elephant’ as losing grounds in the same six strongholds where the ‘umbrella’ has been strongly pitched since 1992.
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo got 11,027 (22.62%) votes in Bolgatanga Central against President John Dramani Mahama’s 35,142 (72.09%). Bongo gave Nana 9,414 (26.16%) and Mahama 23,185 (64.42%). The NPP attracted 6,659 (18.98%) ballots in Chiana-Paga whilst the NDC obtained 25,815 (73.59%) votes.
At Nabdam, Nana gathered 4,719 (36. 47%) votes with Mahama polling 7,533 (58.21%) votes. The election in Bawku Central saw the NPP gaining 17,974 (40.17%) votes and the NDC 24,707 (55.22%) ballots. The NPP polled 6,509 (31.15%) votes at Garu and the NDC 12,779 (61.16%).
NPP targets 10 seats in Upper East in 2016
The NPP won four parliamentary seats in 2008 at Navrongo Central, Bawku Central, Chiana-Paga and Binduri.
It lost all four seats in 2012 but surprisingly conquered twin strongholds of the NDC- Talensi and Nabdam- capturing the seats the same year for the first time since 1992. A by-election held in Talensi in 2015 after the legislator, Robert Mosore Doameng, voluntarily opted out of parliament for palace, saw the NDC recapture the seat.
The NDC now controls 13 of the 15 seats in the region, with the NPP holding one in Nabdam and the People’s National Convention (PNC) occupying one in the Builsa South Constituency.
Mr. Awuni told Starr News Thursday the NPP was determined to win at least 10 seats at the 2016 polls.
“Since 1992, the NDC has enjoyed popularity or the massive support of the region. But the question one would ask is what has been the reward to the region coming from the NDC as they have ruled for 20 years. What has been the benefit? The region is regretting somehow. We have been interacting with people.
“We don’t think some seats are supposed to be colonised. Any seat can be taken by any political party. We know some seats would be very difficult to grab. But with confidence I can say we are winning at least 10 seats in Upper East,” Mr. Awuni affirmed.
Nana may visit late Adams’ family
It is not clear for now if the presidential candidate will visit the family of the party’s late Upper East Regional Chairman, Adams Mahama, in Bolgatanga during his tour of the region.
Asked if it the flagbearer intended to call in on the family, Mr. Awuni said it was not part of the itinerary but added the presidential candidate might decide to pay a visit to the relations of the departed philanthropist.
“It is not part of the itinerary. You know the last time he came, he visited the family, during the burial ceremony. Beyond that, he visits the family in Accra. He calls them and they interact. So, it is not that they have cut links. You remember we made a promise that we would make sure that Adams’ family, the children, get the same proper education that they would deserve if the man were there. Nana has been in touch with the family. And if he comes and decides to visit them, it is not a problem,” Mr. Awuni stated.