Dozens of supporters of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Nalerigu/Gambaga constituency of the North East Region took to the street June 5, 2020, to demand the reinstatement of one of the parliamentary aspirants, Peter Wuni Baaga, who was indefinitely suspended in May by the party regional executives.
The demonstrators, some of who traveled from distant villages in the constituency, marched from the regional capital to Gambaga, holding placards and chanting “No Peter, No Vote” as they called on the national leadership to overturn the suspension or face their wrath.
The protesters said the attempts by the Regional Chairman with support from some unseen hands at the presidency to disqualify the aspirant were in bad faith and warned there would be consequences on the fortunes of the party in the upcoming elections.
The said aspirant was suspended from the party and subsequently fired from his job as a Deputy Director of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) by the presidency, after he granted an interview on radio alleging amongst others, that the NPP rigged the 2004 parliamentary elections that sent Hajia Alimah Mahama to parliament for the first time.
He was also alleged to have said, the Regional Chairman, Nurudeen Fuseini and other executives had connived with the Municipal Chief Executive of the area, to smuggle dozens of fertilisers and other inputs for the Planting for Food and Jobs programme out of the region to neighboring Burkina Faso.
His allegations were to counter Hajia Alimah Mahama’s claims which she allegedly said, Mr Wuni Baaga, while in office as District Chief Executive in 2005 diverted funds meant for infrastructure projects at the Nalerigu Nursing Midwifery College.
Following his suspension from the party and subsequent dismissal from government, a series of defections hit the party in the constituency as over 200 supporters quit to join the opposition NDC party.
The party grassroots in the hinterlands as well as the youth base across the major zones of the constituency also voiced their disapproval and disagreed with the regional chairman’s decision.
At Friday’s demonstration, supporters of the party described the suspension as illegal and a witch hunt.
Addressing the media in Gambaga, lead organizer of the protest, Musah Jalel, said information has reached them that the party national leadership was plotting to disqualify Peter Wuni Baaga from the elections.
He said such a decision, which he described as bogus, would damage the electoral fortunes of the party in the December polls.
“We are not surprise about the actions and inactions of NPP leadership of our constituency”, Jalil said in a prepared statement.
“We have through our investigation discovered that, the attempts to unleash this heinous and barbaric treatment to Hon. Peter is premeditated even before the vetting of the parliamentary primaries.”
“We have full facts about attempts to have disqualified Hon. Peter in the vetting process. It is evidence and again on records that, the President of the Republic begun the orchestration to stop Hon. Peter from the contest. They were intimidated to bucking out of the contest or lose their job; and really true to the words of the President, he was sacked from his job, just a week after his suspension from the party”.
He then issued a 24-hour ultimatum to the Disciplinary Committee party to reinstate Peter Wuni or face their wrath.
“We are telling Nana Addo and the NPP that they either reinstate Hon. Peter to also contest the primaries or forget the seat of Nalerigu/Gambaga constituency.”
Fighting within the NPP in the constituency has allegedly mounted since 2004 in a struggle for power and influence between those loyal to Hajia Alimah and others who say they have been betrayed and targeted in a witch-hunt aided by the presidency.
As many as three aspirants, including Peter Wuni Baaga, are challenging to unseat the incumbent MP, Hajia Alimah Mahama to represent the party in the constituency for the general elections in December.
Hajia Alima Mahama and Peter Wuni Baaga called the two modern pioneers of the NPP in Mamprugu. They were allies but fell out after President Akufo-Addo became the flagbearer and leader of the party. Since then, the relationship between the two individuals has descended to new lows.