For reasons yet to be known, President Akufo-Addo skipped Navrongo for Paga on his two-day tour of the Upper East Region, but several determined-looking supporters of Joseph Kofi Adda, the lawmaker for Navrongo Central, travelled to the busy border town and delivered a burning message as the President was addressing an open-air gathering on Thursday evening.
Dressed in political shirts branded with campaign portraits of Akufo-Addo and Kofi Adda, they announced to the world with raw wrath that division had befallen the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) at Navrongo and strongly warned President Akufo-Addo to keep his distance from the ill-omened situation in that constituency and wait for ‘pleasant fallouts’ from the deepening breakup by December 7, 2020— the Election Day.
They told the press at the gathering that after the Minister for Aviation lost his re-election bid to the Upper East Regional Minister, Tangoba Abayage, at the June primary elections, the winning side wrote off the army of supporters behind the veteran legislator as though they did not matter going into the 2020 main elections.
“All is not well in Navrongo Central. We have a divided front. There is no respect for Honourable Joseph Kofi Adda and his supporters. The parliamentary candidate, Honourable Paulina Abayage, does not give respect to the incumbent MP. The chairman, the first vice, almost all the constituency executives, except just two of them, but the rest, they don’t even show respect to the grassroots. They sidelined us. They have hijacked the party.
“The seat is meant for NDC but it’s because of the personality of Honourable Joseph Kofi Adda. We like him because he is the type that we want. He sacrifices; he doesn’t even care going hungry whilst giving what is in his pocket. Just within these four years, if you are going to enumerate the number of projects that Honourable Joseph Kofi Adda has done, you would be surprised. He works with the grassroots,” the NPP’s Coordinator for the Akumbisi-Gerebisi Electoral Area, Desire Ayariga, said with fury.
The party’s Chairman for the Pungu Central Electoral Area, Gilbert Baase, emphasised: “The President should have won in Navrongo this time around but we don’t think it’s going to be possible. The President should have won massively if Kofi Adda was to move along with him. Even as we speak, there are some who don’t even know that Kofi is not going again. They’ve sidelined us in everything. Kofi Adda is a household name. We are supposed to use Kofi Adda to campaign. Nobody knows Nana in Navrongo. Whoever Kofi Adda carries along is the one we vote for.”
NDC has won the seat in advance— Adda’s supporters
From 1996 to 2016, the NPP has won the parliamentary seat five times and its main contender—the National Democratic Congress (NDC)— twice. Adda has contested five times with four wins, the former Minister of Energy losing only once to former Minister of Defence, Mark Owen Woyongo, in 2012.
Asked if it was possible for the NPP to redeem the seat from slipping back to the NDC with just eight weeks to the 2020 polls, the leaders of the Adda devotees told newsmen on Thursday it was beyond late.
“It is not just about too late alone; there is nothing we can do. If we as delegates, as coordinators think that it is too late, you can imagine. We want Nana (President Akufo-Addo) to stay aside [and] just watch us. Whatever happens, we are NPP members. He should just watch us. That may save him. He should just stay aside and allow anything that happens to happen; it may still work in his favour— for him. If he (the President) throws his support behind whoever, it means Navrongo would shift back to NDC.
“So, for Nana, he should just stay aside and look at what is going to happen. Whatever happens, he should just watch us. We will get the feedback to him. But we will not tell you what is going to happen. If Nana would stay away and allow Navrongo people to deal with their internal matters, we would come out with something. That will be fine for NPP. Things have gone wrong in Navrongo; but we’ll correct them. Nana should just stay aside and allow things to unfold,” Baase stressed.
Local observers have construed the comments coming from the pro-Adda NPP voters, who say they have continued to suffer victimisation in the constituency since the Adda bloc lost the June primaries to the Abayage faction, as a hint that the former Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources might resurface on the ballot paper as an independent candidate for the December 7 polls. And the supporters confidently showing up at Paga on Thursday for the function in Adda-branded campaign shirts makes the public suspicion even more emphatic that a joint campaign for Adda and Akufo-Addo is not just likely but perhaps already in progress on the quiet for now.
“The NDC has won the seat in advance. There is no unity in Navrongo Central. Everything is going haphazardly. When she (the Regional Minister) won, it was NDC people who were jubilating. They themselves couldn’t jubilate,” added Desire Ayariga.
The NDC’s parliamentary candidate, Samson Tangombu Chiragia, had told journalists with obvious delight in June moments after the Electoral Commission (EC) had declared the results of the NPP primaries: “It is a sad day for them. The candidate (Joseph Kofi Adda) that they could have used to win the election, they have sacked that candidate.”