It has emerged that the Northern regional minister, Alhaji Mohammed Muniru-Limuna, was compelled by the presidency to put on hold his parliamentary ambition in order to allow the incumbent MP, Adam Mutawakilu, go for a second term.
DAILY GUIDE has gathered that the minister, currently in Brazil on official duties, prior to his departure from the country, held discussions with President John Mahama on the need to reconsider his decision to contest the Damongo seat. According to deep throat sources, the president was worried the minister’s ambition could create divisions within the party in the area and pave way for the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) to snatch the seat from the National Democratic Congress (NDC). It followed the acrimony that was building up in the constituency among supporters of the incumbent MP and the minister, which, the leadership of the party noted, was a recipe for self-destruction—a situation that could cost the party if not immediately curtailed.
President Mahama, who is a native of Gonjaland and is determined to retain all parliamentary seats within the Gonja Traditional Area for the NDC, therefore summoned the minister and some elders of the party to urge him (minister) to withdraw.
Rahman Ecomog, an aide to the minister and deputy NDC regional communications director, told DAILY GUIDE that top level discussions had gone on regarding the bid of his boss but was reluctant to divulge details.
He disclosed that he was instructed to convey the heartbreaking news of the minister to constituency executives and key actors who were part of the minister’s campaign team, including a group called Friends of Alhaji Muniru (FOAM).
Rahman revealed that the incumbent MP was also informed that his close contender had pulled out of the race.
Some supporters of the party in the area as well as constituency executives expressed disappointment at the withdrawal of the minister and insisted they would not accept the announcement until they heard from the minister himself. But his aide observed that though supporters may have a genuine concern, there is little they can do since the person at the centre of the issue has already decided to backtrack on his bid. Incumbent MP for the Damongo constituency, DAILY GUIDE gathered, has strong ties with the constituents and seems to be their favourite, which could be another factor responsible for the minister’s withdrawal from the race barely a fortnight after launching FOAM.
In a related development, former NDC MP for Tamale North, Alhaji Abukari Sumani, is staging a return to Parliament after losing his seat to an independent candidate, Alhassan Dahamani, in 2012. The former Tamale North legislator, whose defeat was met with wild jubilations within the constituency, has picked nomination forms to contest for the seat broadcast journalist Alhaji Alhassan Suhuyini is also eyeing. Alhaji Sumani, a former Board Chairman of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), until his defeat, was one of the longest serving MPs within the Tamale metropolis. His decision to contest in the upcoming primaries is already being met with fierce resistance from constituents who insist he must bow out of politics honourably or be disgraced.
From Stephen Zoure