Sixty-one-year-old development worker and candidate of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) Moses Amadu Yahaya dealt the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) a devastating blow during last Tuesday’s Kumbungu by-election in the Northern Region.
Mr. Yahaya, who hitherto was not given a dog’s chance to win the seat, sprang a surprise, as he beat the NDC candidate, Alhaji Imoro Yakubu Kakpagu, by over 2000 votes.
Alhaji Yakubu Kakpagu was the MP before former Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammed Mumuni took over in the 2012 polls. His comeback was however met with a disaster in Tuesday’s bye-election.
The main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) boycotted Tuesday’s polls, urging its supporters to throw their weights behind the CPP candidate.
With this victory, the CPP, which failed to secure a seat in Parliament after the December polls, now has one to its credit.
The Member of Parliament (MP) elect polled 13,209 of the valid votes cast, while his contender, who was earlier tipped to win the seat, secured 11,894 votes.
By the outcome, Alhaji Imoro Yakubu Kakpagu had lost his bid to become the MP for the area for the second time after residents, mostly members of his party, accused him of a litany of unfulfilled promises during his tenure as a legislator.
However, the CPP candidate, as a private individual, had been able to lobby for 136 boreholes for the 116 communities in the area, connected seven communities with pipe borne water, provided micro-credit to women’s groups, organized free extra classes for students in the communities and also organized several clean up exercises in the area.
These, they indicated, had made him more popular than the other two candidates and it therefore came as no surprise when he won the seat at the close of polls.
Moses Amadu Yahaya, an assemblyman in the area, had been in touch with the people and had his footprints all over the constituency in terms of development.
Speaking to DAILY GUIDE, Mr. Yahaya thanked the chiefs and people of the area for giving him their support and promised to live up to expectation.
According to him, his association with various International Non-Governmental Organizations would further be enhanced to bring meaningful development to deprived communities in and around the Kumbungu district.
Though a staunch Christian, he indicated that his selfless service to the people had won him their hearts despite the fact that the area was Muslim-dominated, assuring the people of his commitment to their welfare.
On his career, he disclosed that he started off as a development officer with the Ghanaian Danish Community Programme between 1996 and 2006.
The MP-elect stated that it was while working with this international NGO that he was confronted with the challenges of the area and was touched by the plight of residents in the various communities in areas of sanitation, health and education and had to work towards resolving them.
When the programme folded up, he got the opportunity to work with Kings Village, another international NGO that also focuses on education and health.
Here again, he proved his worth and facilitated the provision of potable water, construction of schools and improvement in sanitation, which led to him being assigned the acting Country Director when his former boss went on a long leave, until his election.
He told DAILY GUIDE his sustained relations with the British Army assisted by 58AI, a UK based organization, made it possible for him to drill 67 boreholes for 32 communities.
By virtue of his commitment and hard work, he observed, his name was common among various agencies in the UK and elsewhere in Canada.
According to him, “If you serve the people you serve Christ”, promising an open and transparent leadership, devoid of huge unimaginable promises.
“I Will at all times abide by what I tell my people and will not act like the others,” he remarked.
Meanwhile, the NDC has started licking its wounds and is blaming its candidate for the painful defeat, but he is also alleging that the poor turnout affected the outcome.
Voter apathy was said to have affected turnout of the by-election, making the work of the Electoral Commission and security officers easy as they had less voters to deal with.
Political pundits earlier predicted the low interest in the by-election and said they were sceptical if the general turnout would hit 45% of the total number of registered voters in all the 74 polling stations.
Presiding officers of some polling stations as at midday were comfortably relaxed since residents failed to show up to exercise their franchise despite the deployment of District Chief Executives (DCEs) to some communities to encourage them to come out and vote.
Some residents told DAILY GUIDE, when contacted, that they did not see the need to actively partake in the by-election since it would only benefit the winning candidate, which would not improve their lives.
Many of them who were spotted sitting under sheds and playing “ludo” or “oware” games disclosed that promises made to them prior to the previous elections were yet to fulfilled and once that was not done, they could not be part of the new process.
Others however insisted that the timing was very wrong, taking into account the imminent farming season and the need to till their farmlands ahead of cultivation, observing that their involvement in the entire process could not affect the outcome in any way.
The Kumbungu constituency is regarded as one of the strongholds of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the region following the party’s continued electoral victories in the area.
The seat however became vacant after incumbent MP and former Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammed Mumuni vacated it to take up the post of Secretary General of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), paving the way for a by-election.
Candidates from the Convention People’s Party (CPP), the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) contested the seat.
The constituency, according to the Northern Regional Director of the Electoral Commission, Sylvester Kanyi, has 74 polling stations with 39,478 registered voters.
It was unclear if the MP-elect would opt for either the majority or minority side but when contacted, he said he would take that decision in consultation with the party’s hierarchy, which played a pivotal role in his victory.
From Stephen Zoure, Tamale