The 2016 election campaign of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Upper East region has officially taken off with a directive on supporters to first of all sweep the party clean of internal strife before the polls.
Vice President Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur issued this directive Thursday at the inauguration of the party’s regional election campaign team in Bolgatanga, the regional capital.
“Your responsibility is to resolve all the interpersonal problems that arose from your campaigns to the primaries so that we can put our best foot forward so that we can claim a historic visit for President John Dramani Mahama. So, we are handing over the campaign, its coordination, with the national team to you the members. We believe that you will do us proud,” the Vice President said.
Whilst swearing in the 15-member team, he added: “We are proud of our MPs, of our parliamentary candidates. And we know that they will make a great team. They will be victorious on 7th December. I congratulate you and wish you well.”
NDC to hit 80% at all costs
The event also saw the party announce that its campaign would dwell on the peace the country is enjoying at present under its government, the achievements chalked up so far across the sectors and the need for the electorate to give the party a second term to complete some developmental projects it has initiated.
“Before we were sworn in today, I pledged before President John Dramani Mahama that we were going to hit 80% for the presidential [election] [and] hopefully clear the 15 constituencies. It is a major task but it is not unsurmountable. We hope and believe that [after obtaining] the 66.4% we hit in 2012, we will hit this 80% at all costs [in 2016].
“We are sure we will hit because we’re going to campaign on our track record. This region, the Upper East, between 2009 and 2016, has benefited immensely from the NDC. Critics will not want to agree but the [well-meaning] people have seen and agreed,” the Member of Parliament for Garu, Dominic Azimbe Azumah, who is also the coordinator for the regional campaign squad, told a crowd of party members packed at the conference hall of the Ghana Health Service In-Service Training Centre.
He mentioned the creation of four new districts in the region in 2012, the rural electrification project, the recently awarded Bolgatanga-Bawku-Pulmakom Highway reconstruction project, construction of hospitals in the region and the commencement of work on the 10-million-dollar Tamne Irrigation Dam among the projects he said would deliver a landslide for the party in the region.
The party’s Upper East Regional Secretary, Donatus Akamugre, is the spokesperson to the campaign taskforce. The rest of the team include: Albert Abongo (Upper East Regional Minister), Moses Asaga, Alhaji Mumuni Bolnaba, Emmanuel Akolbire Opam-Brown (MP for Bolga Central), Faustina Abagre, Lardi Bawa, Hajia Zenabu Ayariga, Baba Kumasi, Bernard Bugzor, Dr. Stanislaus Kandingdi, Robert Yeli-Oni, Haruna Issaka and Hajia Christy Alhassan.
NDC, NPP performances from 2008 to 2012 in Upper East
The NDC has dominated presidential elections in the region since 1992, leading its main opponent, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), with what observers persistently have described as “ruthless gaps”.
The NPP’s Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo polled 118, 454 votes (representing 35.25%) as against 188, 405 votes (representing 56.06%) obtained by the NDC’s Professor John Evans Atta Mills in the Upper East Region at the 2008 general elections.
That same year saw the NDC’s parliamentary seats drop from 9 to 8 whilst the NPP increased its seats from 2 to 4. The 2008 presidential run-off passed with NPP getting 117,477 (34.40%) votes and the NDC attracting 223,994 (65.60%) votes.
In 2012, the NPP’s Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo garnered 120, 814 (29.9%) votes in the region with the NDC’s John Dramani Mahama gaining 274,019 (66.44%) votes. The NDC’s seats increased to 12 whilst the NPP’s 4 seats dropped to 2.