The Northern Regional Minister-designate, Abdallah Abubakari, was Wednesday questioned extensively by some members of the Appointments Committee of Parliament about his ‘political acrobatics’ and whether he could be trusted as the new regional minister.
Mr Abdallah Abubakari stood on the ticket of the People’s National Convention (PNC) to contest the 2008 and 2012 general elections in the Walewale constituency of the region but crossed over to the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) in February, 2013.
The nomination of Abdallah Abubakari, who is now the NDC parliamentary candidate for Walewale, is seen by many as a political strategy by President John Mahama to win the seat, currently being occupied by New Patriotic Party’s, Dr Sagre Bambangi.
This is probably because the vice presidential candidate of the NPP, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, also comes from that area and helped to mount a robust political campaign together with the parliamentary candidate in 2012 to win the Walewale seat for the first time.
The new national chairman of the PNC, Bernard Mornah, has been crying foul over such de-camping, heavily criticising President John Mahama for intentionally trying to make his (Mornah’s) party impotent and ineffective by poaching some of the best materials through political appointments.
The MP for Manhyia South, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, who is a member of the committee, asked how Mr Abdallah Abubakari felt, having been plucked from nowhere to be the new regional minister when people who had toiled and suffered all this while for the NDC and also have very rich educational backgrounds were not considered.
The regional minister-designate in his answer, said even though he considers himself relatively new in the party, he believes the president saw something in him that made him (president) to appoint him (Abubakari).
“I think the president might have known that I could serve the people better that was why he appointed me,” the minister-designate noted.
Explaining why he crossed over to the NDC, he said there was a clarion call on him by the people in the constituency to switch to the NDC and that it was not difficult for him to switch since he is also a social democrat.
He noted that after extensive consultations with the PNC members in the constituency, they also agreed that he should join the NDC.
The NPP MP for Bekwai and member of the Committee, Joseph Osei-Owusu, suggested to the regional minister-designate that he joined the NDC because of his burning desire to enter parliament, but Abdallah Abubakari said he came into politics to serve his people in whatever capacity available.
When he was questioned about how he would deal with the rising tension in the Dagbon area of the region where the Abudus and the Andanis have issued out threats of attacks over the supposed funeral of a king from the Abudu gate, the regional minister-designate indicated that he would strongly support the roadmap that had been put in place by eminent chiefs led the Asantehene, Osei Tutu II, to resolve the conflict. He added that he would ensure that there is always adequate presence of security personnel at the place to avert any clashes.
He was also questioned about how he would ensure that funds allocated to the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) are not misappropriated by officers of the Authority.
He indicated that it was unfortunate that funds of SADA were being misappropriated and promised to do his best to ensure that SADA effectively complements the development of the region.
The Central Regional minister-designate, Kweku Ricketts-Hagan, who also appeared before the Appointments Committee, was questioned about some mini-buses he had acquired which have his pictures embossed on them to transport school children in his constituency to school on daily basis.
The Committee members wondered whether it was not a conflict of interest and wanted to know the means by which he acquired those buses.
He was asked to produce documents covering the procurement of the vehicles.
Mr Kweku Ricketts-Hagan promised the committee that when given the nod he would harness the resources of the region and through the Central Regional Development Commission (CEDECOM), improve tourism and agriculture in the region.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr