Supporters of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Tamale have welcomed the decision by the party to hold its national delegates congress in the northern regional capital in April this year.
The National Council of the party arrived at the decision at a meeting last Tuesday in Accra, where they also fixed the congress date (April 12 this year). In all, about 5,600 delegates are expected to participate in the congress.
According to the NPP Members of Parliament, the centralised election would cost about GH¢686,000 and not the GH¢1,200 million as earlier proposed by the national executive of the party.
Abdul-Fatawu Iddrisu, a member of NPP, described the choice of Tamale as very strategic “since it would go a long way to rebrand our party as national in character. NPP has often been tagged as an Akan party by our opponents. Therefore, the selection of the north this time round would shame our detractors.”
Saaka Mohammed, also a party member, said the decision was timely and unique since it was the first time the NPP was holding such an important event in the northern sector of the country.
“Apart from uniting members, they would also be able to share their experiences as they interact with our people here,” he said.
He further observed that “it would help re-awaken the awareness that the UP had its roots in the north following the heroic contributions from personalities such as Dombo, Tolon Na Yakubu, J.H. Braimah and several others.”
Hajia Rahinatu Abu, who described herself as a staunch supporter of the NPP, said: “I was full of joy over the news last Tuesday and would, therefore, like to thank the leadership of the “Wabgu” elephant party for such a wise decision.
“The hosting of the congress in the metropolis will not only offer economic benefit to the people but will also afford the leadership of our great party to fraternise with our people to help change their perception about the NPP that it is an Akan-based party,” she added.
A guest house proprietor, who gave his name as Johnny, expressed the hope that the industry would cash in on the hundreds of visitors who would be trooping into the area in April for the congress.
“I must be frank with you. During the African Cup of Nations in 2008 and the NDC congress, we made some money following the huge number of visitors to the metropolis,” he claimed.
Other service providers such as taxi drivers and food vendors equally expressed excitement over the decision by the party to have the congress on their doorstep as they also hoped it would improve their fortunes.
The Northern Regional Chairman of the NPP, Mr Daniel Bugre Naabu, who was equally elated over the decision said: “it will send signals to all those who have been mischievous in their assertions that the party belongs to only Akans to change their perceptions.”
He said even though there was strong lobbying at the party’s meeting in Accra last Tuesday to hold the congress in Sunyani, “we eventually had our way because we were able to convince the other proponents that it was important to hold it in Tamale as a sign of honour to all our Northern brothers and sisters who also contributed significantly to the formation and growth of the UP tradition over the years,”
Touching on the venue for the congress, the chairman indicated that, “we are yet to determine that in our subsequent meetings as we prepare towards the successful hosting of the august occasion that would not only attract the delegates but observers within and outside the country.”