The Northern regional chairman of the New Patriotic Party, Mohammed Baantima Samba, has called for the sack of the chairman of the national Hajj board, Sheikh IC Quaye.
Mr. Samba is accusing the board chair of causing “a lot of mess and disaster in the Hajj” after some 200 party supporters billed to be sponsored to Mecca this year failed to embark on the spiritual journey.
The party chairman said the supporters could not travel after the Hajj board chair refused to issue and endorse their travel documents and also stopped a private airline hired to convey the supporters from Tamale to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The supporters have been left stranded, sparking tension between the two authorities who have resorted to attacking each other on air.
“I have actually lost confidence in the Hajj board especially Sheikh and Farouk. They are causing a lot of mess and disaster in the Hajj board. I thought your Excellency put them there to deliver, to serve the people in Ghana, especially Muslim community but they have failed totally. In fact, I’m highly disappointed,” the chairman slammed the Hajj board on Tamale-based Diamond FM.
Chairman Samba who defeated controversial Bugri Naabu to win the chairmanship position months ago, campaigned on a number of pledges including flying at least four members of the party each from the 31 constituencies in the region. The chairman would hire his own airliner, provide accommodation and all other expenses for the spiritual journey to ensure a smooth travel.
The chairman said in four separate meetings with IC Quaye, he presented the idea to him and sought for his assistance. According to Samba, he told the Hajj board chairman in those meetings that he needed travel documents to facilitate the movement of about 200 party supporters that he had made provisions for to be airlifted to Mecca.
According to him, Sheikh I.C Quaye bought into his idea, but failed him subsequently.
However, chairman Samba said, the Hajj board leader in their last meeting changed his mind and refused to issue travel documents for the party supporters when he came to seek update about the documentations.
“He told me that my brother, I will not give you if you want we wait when the vice president come. He told me that he would never ever give me any service because I connived and condoned with Malik and that Arab man to take his work from him. So I said if you won’t give the 200, give me 100, he denied me. If you cannot give the 100 give me 50, he denied me… Sheikh denied me anything”, Samba said.
The regional chairman accused the Hajj board of selling out all the tickets allocated for party supporters in the three regions of the North and called on the president to fire the chairman.
Efforts to get IC Quaye’s side of the story proved futile.
On Sunday, about 601 prospective pilgrims out of 2,167 expected to travel directly from the Tamale International Airport, were airlifted to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The prospective pilgrims would be flown in seven batches, starting from August 5 to 8.