It may have taken strong words of caution from Rex Asanga, one of the disappointed 26 candidates who had sought to serve as either Municipal or District Chief Executives in the Akufo-Addo Government, to avert what could have been another chaotic demonstration in the Upper East region over the recent MDCE nominations.
His supporters, several thousands strong, had registered their protests after his name failed to appear on the list of nominees President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo made public Wednesday.
The displeasure among his fans was anticipated as the disappointment is the latest in reported four failed attempts by Mr. Asanga, 60, to serve in different public offices since 2016. The accomplished rural development and project management expert lost his parliamentary bid at the 2016 polls when he stood on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Bolgatanga Central Constituency. He was reported to have, at separate times and in vain, strived for the positions of the Upper East Regional Minister and the Deputy Upper East Regional Minister.
In a statement issued Thursday through his aide, Elvis Figo Awonekai, Mr. Asanga, whom many say is overqualified for the position of a Municipal Chief Executive and is well liked across the various political parties, said: “I urge all of you not to let these temporary setbacks, however many they may seem, to discourage you or shake your love and commitment to the NPP. I was also disappointed myself but as someone with unshakable faith in God, I am confident that there is always a purpose for everything that happens to us- good or bad.”
I spent my sleep-time calming grieving supporters- Asanga
The statement, issued to media houses hours after an outpouring of grief on local radio stations by fans who would have loved to be popping champagne in the streets at the time, also reveals that the soft-spoken politician spared his bedtime to keep the regional capital together.
“I spent quite a lot of my sleep-time last night trying to calm some of you down and to urge you not to do anything that will bring our great party’s name into disrepute. I still would like to plead with all of you to act with decorum and to accept the President’s nomination no matter how you feel about it.
“I would not like Bolgatanga Municipality to be added to the statistics of unacceptable behaviour by party supporters as a way of registering sentiments. Remember that I, like any of you, [am] just like a drop of water, in fact a mist, and not the whole part, in this larger and great NPP party,” he stressed.
“Accept my congratulations”- Asanga to MCE nominee
Mr. Asanga is the first disappointed MDCE aspirant in the region to come up with a statement after Wednesday’s nominations that sparked both celebrations and demonstrations across the country. And he is the first in all of the region’s 13 municipalities and districts to openly pledge his support for the eventual nominee.
He wrapped up his statement, saying: “Let’s all try to give the President’s nominee, Hon. Joseph Amiyure, the MCE nominee, our support so that we can improve the living conditions of the people of the municipality. Hon. Joseph Amiyure, accept my congratulations [on] your nomination as MCE. I am willing to contribute in whatever way I can to the development of our municipality.”
Rex Asanga polled 15, 610 votes, representing 32.04%, at the 2016 general elections. He finished behind Isaac Adongo, who obtained 25,042 (51.41%) votes to win the parliamentary seat for the National Democratic Congress (NDC). Thomas Akurugu of the People’s National Convention (PNC) placed third with 7,431(15.25%) votes. Samson Akolgo, standing for the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), garnered 288 (0.59%) votes; Latifa Abdul-Rahman of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) attracted 174 (0.36%) votes and Richard Ayamga, representing the All People’s Congress (APC), secured 169 (0.35%) ballots.
Chaos heralded Wednesday’s nominations in the Bawku West District on Tuesday with military troops dispatched to the troubled district where angry party supporters vandalised structures and burnt tyres to express their dislike for a speculated nominee, Victoria Ayamba, who turned out to be the President’s choice the following day. The nomination of David Afoko was met with turmoil in the Builsa North District where angry men, wearing red bands, poured into the streets and vandalised the office of the party in the area.