There is a groundswell of protests in the Upper East Region against some moves to secure a second nomination for the acting District Chief Executive (DCE) of Binduri, Ayinga Abagri.
The protesters, who registered their disapproval as supporters of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and natives of Binduri at a news conference in the regional capital, Bolgatanga, say the pro-Abagri moves are being executed by a group of “much-uninformed” young men and women hired with “big money” to hype Abagri for another four years as DCE.
Explaining the reason for their divergent stance, they told the press on Tuesday that Abagri used his position as a DCE to sabotage the presidential and the parliamentary campaigns of his own party (the NPP) at the 2020 polls in the Binduri Constituency.
“Mr Ayinga Abagri worked behind the scenes to undermine the party’s campaign in the constituency. Several things can be mentioned to support the position that Mr Ayinga Abagri actually worked against the campaign of the party in the constituency. For instance, it was clear that Mr Ayinga Abagri did all he could to thwart the efforts of the Assemblyman for the Binduri Electoral Area to ensure that the Binduri Electoral Area gets a fair share of the district assembly’s development projects. Mr Ayinga Abagri knows very well that in the Constituency, the Binduri Electoral Area has always voted massively for the NPP. The Binduri Electoral Area is often referred to as the “world bank” of the NPP in the Constituency. Over the 4 years of the first term of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, nothing was brought to the Binduri Electoral Area.
“It took the efforts of some key political leaders from Binduri and the PC (Parliamentary Candidate) at the time to forcefully get an important bridge constructed over the Bumbuugu River that links Binduri to Bazua (which is on the major Bawku-Bolga trunk road). A primary school building that has been dangerously standing as a school for the last fifteen years was also forcefully awarded on contract for reconstruction, but the contractor has not gone beyond foundation level for unknown reasons. The construction of the Binduri market stores also stalled after it was erected to lintel level. All three projects (Binduri-Bazua Road Bridge, Binduri Primary School Building and the Binduri Market Stores) were all started in August-September 2020 after enormous pressure was brought to bear on the then-PC. As we address you today, there is a halt on the work on the Binduri Primary School and the Binduri Market Stores,” said a statement read at the conference by the representative of the Concerned Party Elders and Patrons in Binduri, Philip Ayamba.
“We shall resist his choice if Akufo-Addo ignores us”— Protesters
There had been instances where concerned sections of the citizenry had put certain petitions before governments but their concerns had been overlooked.
According to the anti-Abagri protesters, the government would have some resistance to deal with if the President ignored their interests.
“Friends, we need to be blunt and call a spade a spade. Mr Ayinga Abagri has sadly sidelined the party’s constituency executives who now are toothless as far as decision-making is concerned. You call party executives and none is ready to speak about the concerns of party people in the constituency. And people who do not know what is happening in the district and constituency are asking the President to elevate the non-performing, party-killing DCE to a higher position or retain him as DCE?
“Let it be known that in the very unlikely situation that the President nominates Mr Ayinga Abagri for the position as DCE for Binduri in the President’s second term in government, we the good people of Binduri shall very strongly resist the President’s choice with all due respect to His Excellency. Mr Ayinga Abagri has let us down very seriously. Let the truth be told, Mr Abagri has let the people of Binduri and the NPP as a party down,” their statement emphasised.
The group also presented a chart at the conference, showing how the NPP reportedly performed poorly at Nayoko— a polling station where Abagri is said have been casting his votes at general elections in the Binduri Constituency. As stated by the chart, the NPP got 239 votes in the 2016 presidential election at that polling station whilst its main opponent, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), obtained 306 votes. That same year, the NPP secured 135 votes at the parliamentary election against the NDC’s 421 votes.
At the same polling station, the NPP captured 264 votes against some 279 votes the NDC garnered at the presidential polls in 2020. The same election year saw the NPP attract 160 votes with the NDC gaining 470 votes at the parliamentary election. The results, the group argues, are enough pointer showing that Abagri as a DCE never made the NPP appealing to the electorate— contrary to the “unmerited” credit being accorded him by his “hired sympathisers” for the party’s victory at the 2020 parliamentary election.
Protesters reveal list of factors behind NPP’s victory
To prove their claims that the acting DCE did not contribute to the NPP’s parliamentary success in the constituency, the anti-Abagri campaigners also itemised some dynamics they said aided the NPP to unseat the NDC in Parliament.
“Ladies and Gentlemen of the media, the real contributors to the electoral victory of Honourable Abdulai Abanga (the new Member of Parliament for Binduri) are: the unity which the Party Elders and Patrons, most of whom hail from the Binduri Central, brought to bear on the campaign; key party individuals who have always played significant roles in the affairs of the NPP in the Binduri Constituency; the resolute youth from the Binduri Community who, after heeding to the advice of some committed patrons of the party, decided to very strongly come out to campaign for both the President and the then parliamentary candidate, Hon. Abdulai Abanga, and the highly commendable role played by various Election and Votes Collation Days’ party agents including most especially the IT Co-ordination Team,” said the group.
Whilst expressing their gratitude to President Akufo-Addo for nominating a native of the Binduri District, Stephen Yakubu, as Minister-designate for the Upper East Region and assuring the President that the nominee would not disappoint him, the protesters also entreated the NPP’s General Secretary, John Boadu, to dispatch a research team to Binduri “to come and find out what is on the ground”.
“We in Binduri need to rise up. If this is not done, we are afraid that even to retain the seat in 2024 is like a dream that shall never come true,” the statement stressed.
By Edward Adeti, Upper East Region, Daily Mail GH