The NPP organized Parliamentary Primaries for constituencies with sitting MPs on January 27, 2024, nationwide to elect suitable parliamentary candidates for the December elections.

At the end of this exercise, results were declared and successful candidates have since started campaigning and trying to mend fences and cracks within the NPP to present a united force to win as many seats as possible.

Unfortunately, the parliamentary election in Yendi was inconclusive as the process was trancated during counting for one of the aspirants over allegations of attempted rigging and spoiling of ballot papers for the other contender.

Subsequently, the incumbent MP, whose votes were being counted before the violence erupted, was declared as the winner by the 3rd Vice National Chairman together with some regional executives who said they were acting on behalf of the General Secretary.

Soon afterwards, there was a protest from Hajia Abibata Shani Mahama and her team who expressed surprise about this declaration and vehemently disapproved of it. She presented a petition to the party and spelt out reasons she couldn’t accept that declaration and called for a re-run of the elections since, according to her, the elections were inconclusive.

An EC official granted an interview to Citi fm and said they had not declared any candidate and the General Secretary on that same platform also said they were waiting for reports from their representatives at the region, Police and EC to be able to study and discuss it at NEC before a decision could be taken.

This development has occasioned a seeming tension between the two camps, causing the political temperature to rise to abnormal levels. There have been hot exchanges, media wars and threats. The constituency chairman of the NPP, Alhaji Baba Gazali warned that if those spreading rumours or campaigning for a possible re-run at the polling station or electoral areas don’t stop, the party at the constituency level could apply sanctions since there won’t be any re-run because the incumbent MP has been declared as the winner.

This, however, didn’t go down well with loyalists of Hajia Abibata Shani Mahama, who swiftly went to the same platform, Dasuma Radio, to register their strong opposition and disapproval to the Chairman’s pronouncements.

As if that wasn’t enough, we witnessed an incident where the two camps were gearing up to have two major events or activities on the same day. A group known as Progressive Youth of NPP in Yendi was to have a Peace Walk while another group; Concern Youth of NPP had also scheduled to have a Clean Up Exercise on the same Saturday, March 9, 2024. In view of the tension that still exists between the two camps and the social media banter that continue to fester, it would have been suicidal for these two opposing groups to have their events on the same day. Fortunately, the other group were served with a police notice to hold on to their planned activity and select another suitable date for it for police protection and support. This was graciously heeded to by the organisers. The Progressive Youth of NPP embarked on the Peace Walk successfully without a hitch.

Now, where’s the NPP leadership in all of this? Why has NEC not been able to communicate its decision to the two aspirants and their supporters? Who are the members of the 3 member committee appointed by the NEC to look into the matter? Why hasn’t the committee engaged any of the aspirants to date? What’s their mandate? What are they doing so far? How long are they going to work for?

It’s my respectful view that the leadership of the NPP hasn’t been fair to both aspirants and their supporters and Yendi NPP in general. Their silence and inaction is gradually giving the seat to the NDC because the rift and tension keep growing by the day, thereby further deepening cracks and division in the party.

The seeming stand-off and lack of clarity by way of official announcement or communication of the decision of the party is not helping the party.

Hajia Abibata Shani Mahama Zakaria went into the elections with everything and with all seriousness and determination to win. Therefore, there has to be a proper engagement to fully address her concerns and assure her of the party’s readiness to ensure justice and fairness. The party shouldn’t be afraid to communicate their decision to her and how they expect her to conduct herself afterwards as a true party person. As a patriot with strong roots in the party, I don’t think Hajia Abibata would want to do anything to jeopardise the fortunes of the party.

The Hon MP, Alhaji Farouk Aliu Mahama, is unable to start his campaign in the constituency because of the uncertainty despite the controversial declaration as the Parliamentary Candidate Elect by the 3rd National Vice Chairman alongside the Regional Chairman of the NPP. He is also waiting for the dust to be settled for him to be able to either prepare for a re-run or continue with his campaign.

From the above, one could tell that the current impasse isn’t helping anybody in the party, including the two contenders. It is also weakening the base of the party as some are already contemplating abstaining from voting, which could result in serious voters’ apathy.

The party should be bold in taking a decision on the Yendi parliamentary primaries issue and make public their decision.

A stitch in time saves nine!

By:
Alhaji Abdul-Halim Rubai
Yendi Constituency