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04.04.2006 General News

Tamale Central bye-election today

By Accra Daily Mail
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Accra Daily Mail -- Is today`s Tamale Central bye-election crucial? Obviously to the NDC and CPP it is, to the NPP it is not - that is not directly. The NDC and CPP have fielded candidates. The NPP has not, but it is now an open secret where the NPP's support is. Professor Wayo Seini, who resigned from the NDC benches in parliament, necessitating the bye-election, is running as an independent candidate to try to retain the seat in that capacity. But can he achieve such a feat? All should be made clear by 8.00pm tonight. Professor Seini's is not an easy task. He is neither guaranteed NDC nor NPP votes. Huge junks of both parties see him as at best unreliable and at worst a traitor.

When he defected to the NDC from the NPP two years ago, it was with much acrimony, which landed him in court with libel and defamation charges brought against him by four stalwarts of Dagbon NPP - Lt. General Joshua Hamidu, Alhaji Aminu Amadu, Alhaji Malik Alhassan MP and Major Sulemana.

Professor Seini lost the case and was fined half a billion cedis with his co-defendants. The case emanated from the death of the Ya Na four years ago in which Professor Seini and his co-defendants accused the former of complicity in the "murder" of the Ya Na. The bad blood that was engendered by this accusation and subsequent tit-for-tat war of words would rankle for many generations to come.

Because of the complex Abudu-Andani chieftaincy politics of the Dagbon Traditional Area, the Tamale Central bye-election is being fought today roughly along those lines. The NDC would be expecting a repeat performance of 2004 in which the NPP was defeated by close to twelve thousand votes there.

The party would be relying on the Andani votes. The NPP on the other hand is relying on the "implosion" currently taking place in the NDC to work to the advantage of the candidates lined up against the NDC, which include Professor Seini. Reports from the ground reaching ADM seem to indicate that NPP hardliners in Tamale have approached the Professor's campaign with a certain degree of aloofness, though some of them have visibly lent a hand here or there for the Professor.

The proverb that says when two dogs are fighting for a bone, it is the third one which gets it, may come into play by close of day today. In other words, both the NPP and NDC may lose out to the CPP whose candidate is seen as the dark horse stalking the two and may pip them at the tape.

For the NPP, if Wayo Seini does not win, it would signify yet another strategy blunder, more or less the repeat of 2004 in which the NPP failed to take any of the three Tamale seats. A win for him, and let's not forget, he has rejoined the party, would lead to a great sigh of relief for party strategists in Accra and vindicate the policy that did not allow the party to field a candidate in the bye-election.

A win for the NDC candidate would provide the party with the much-needed fillip after the "disaster" of the party's Koforidua Delegates Conference last December. A loss would be bad news indeed. It would confirm that NDC has really "kpi ya"!

For the CPP, a win would most definitely revive its flagged fortunes and give some sheen to its past glories.

The answer to the question as to whether the bye-election is a crucial one or not can be answered in the affirmative; many reputations are at stake.