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NPP Parliamentary Nominations Heat Up 4/11/2007
According to the Statesman newspaper, as at press time yesterday, at least three candidates of the ruling New Patriotic Party had filed their nominations to contest in the primary for the Bawku Central parliamentary seat in the 2008 general elections. Also shaping up to be probably the youngest candidate in next year''s election is Television and radio political pundit, Samuel "Abu” Jinapor Abdulai, who turns 24 on April 22.

Information reaching the Statesman is that there is mounting pressure on Abu to contest for the ruling party at Yapei-Kusawgu. The Northern region seat has been consistently held since 1992 by Amadu Seidu of the National Democratic Congress, with two NPP candidates taking between themelves to be repeatedly beaten by the same MP.

In compliance with the ruling party’s directive for the early opening of parliamentary primary nominations where the NPP has no sitting MP, nominations were also opened across the country. National Organiser Lord Commey told The Statesman the nationwide party exercise, which was scheduled to end yesterday but has been extended due to petitions received from some aspirants for an extension, affected all constituencies without NPP MPs with the exception of alliance seats held by the Convention People’s Party and People’s National Convention.

Of the 230 seats in Parliament, the NPP has 128 seats, the NDC 94, PNC 4, CPP 3, and one independent, Labik Joseph Yaani of Bunkpurugu/Yunyoo. The NPP has 8 of the 23 seats in the Northern region. The young, dynamic and proactive avid defender of the NPP, Abu, is seen as the party’s best hope of making a historic win at Yapei-Kusawgu. But, responding to the pressure on him to stand, the young man said he felt "quite young" and was still in the process of consultation.

He recently returned from a trip to the constituency, upon an invitation by senior party members in the constituency, who urged the young man to lead them in breaking the losing jinx. Further west of the constituency is another hopeful, Daramani S Adamu. This leading NPP contestant in the Bawku Central race to the Statesman that he joined the race because he thinks the constituency "deserves better representation." The seat is currently held by the NDC’s Mahama Ayariga, who defeated the late Hawa Yakubu in the 2004 election. Mr Adamu, who is also First Vice-Chairman of the UK and Ireland branch of the party, attributes the party’s defeat in 2004 to an internal dispute, saying, "that paved the way for Ayariga."

He notes that the Bawku seat is rooted in the NPP tradition and could be likened to Bantama and Manhyia (both in the Ashanti region, considered to be the NPP’s stronghold), "where it does not matter whoever is selected to represent the party." Brimming with confidence, Mr Adamu told the newspaper that now that NPP has learnt its lessons, "Bawku Central is safe for the NPP come 2008 because of the people’s dissatisfaction with the performance of the sitting MP."

He said the constituents were particularly frustrated by the MP’s inability to parlay his privileged position to lobby for the greater development of the constituency. "Lots of things could have been done that have not been done, and the quest for a quality candidate for Bawku Central is long over due," he stressed. Instead, Mr Ayariga is regarded by his constituents as being more interested in appearing on radio and TV shows, he alleged. On his chances of winning both the NPP slot and the general elections, Mr Adamu boasted that his support base cuts across the political divide and expressed surprise over the overwhelming support that the constituency has given and continues to give him.

He disclosed that he has relocated back home to participate in active politics with a view to bringing succour to the people. According to the aspirant, he decided to quietly file his nomination without fun fare due to the respect he had for the late Hawa Yakubu, who passed away on March 20 and is yet to be buried.

The Statesman

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