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24.03.2004 General News

NPP will clear Bawku and all Upper East seats - Hawa

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Pusiga (UE), March 24, GNA - Madam Hawa Yakubu, Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, declared on Monday that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) would "clear" the seats in the Bawku East district and those of the entire Upper East Region in the forthcoming election.

She said with the problems of the Bawku area now over, the people are united in their resolve to return the NPP to power to pursue its development agenda to improve their living standards.

Madam Yakubu was addressing people of Pusiga who had converged at the Garike registration centre where she had gone to register in the company of the Regional Minister, Mr Mahami Salifu, and the Bawku Municipal Chief Executive, Mr Abdula-Rahman Gumah.

The MP indicated that most women in the area had benefited from loans of the Poverty Alleviation Fund, and would like to extend the mandate of the present government so it can continue to empower them economically.

She, however, declined to say whether she would shift her candidature this time to the newly created constituency at Pusiga, her hometown, or stick to the Bawku Central seat she currently represents in Parliament. "I cannot take a unilateral decision on the issue because I am no longer independent. I now belong to the NPP family and would abide by whatever decision the party would take," she said.

The Regional Minister, on his part, commended people in the Bawku area for an impressive turnout for the on-going registration exercise, and said what he had seen in the course of his monitoring tours confirmed that peace and understanding now prevail in the area. He said although the registration exercise was non-partisan, it was an important national assignment aimed at empowering the people to participate in choosing their leaders and representatives.

Mr Salifu urged women in the area to assert themselves politically rather than having their male counterparts to continue to take important decisions for them. They could do so by getting actively involved in the political events and offering themselves for election to leadership positions.

The Regional Minister who had earlier visited some registration centres in Bawku township, later moved on to Garu and then to Tempane where he was joined by Mr Joseph Akudibilla, MP for Garu-Tempane and Deputy Minister of Defence.

It was realised that the exercise in the newly-created Garu-Tempane district was being hampered by a shortage of camera films. As a result, most centres had become dormant as the absence of photographs had dampened the morale of both registration officials and the local residents.

Mr Salifu called on the Regional Directorate of the Electoral Commission (EC) to take cognisance of the new status of the Garu-Tempane area, and to make adequate logistic provision for it in future national events, rather that having it take its ration from consignments meant for Bawku.

Mr Akudibilla urged the EC to take immediate steps to educate the people adequately on the procedure of vote transfer. He said most of the young people from the area who had taken advantage of the dry season to go down south to work would register there, but would soon return home when the rains start.

"These people have to be made aware that an opportunity exists by which they can transfer their votes from wherever they may have registered to their respective villages during the voting period," he said, adding that if this was not done many qualified voters could be disenfranchised.

The MP further urged EC officials to ensure that problems relating to inadequate supply of registration material, photographic material in particular, are resolved immediately so that as many people as possible would be registered between now and March 29, when the exercise ends.

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