One of the parliamentary seats that will be hotly contested for in the Northern Region in this year’s general election is that of Tamale Central.
The four-time National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Tamale Central, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini has decided not to go for re-election.
The contest will, therefore, be between Mr Ibrahim Mohammed Murtala, who is the parliamentary candidate for the opposition NDC, and Dr Ibrahim Anyars Imoro, the parliamentary candidate for the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Nation Builders’ Corps (NABCO).
This will be the second time Dr Anyars will be contesting for the Tamale Central seat after he lost to Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, the sitting NDC MP in the 2016 general election.
Mr Murtala is also not new in the constituency after he contested the NDC parliamentary primaries in the Tamale Central Constituency twice in 2004 and 2008 with Alhaji Inusah Fuseini before going to Nanton to contest as the NDC parliamentary candidate in the 2012 election and won to become the MP for Nanton. He, however, lost the seat to the NPP in the 2016 election, and is relocating to the Tamale Central Constituency to vie for the seat.
With his comeback as the NDC parliamentary candidate for the Tamale Central Constituency, Mr Murtala seeks to retain the seat for the largest opposition party in the 2020 general election.
But Dr Anyars, who is contesting for the seat for the second time running has vowed to win the seat for the NPP.
Both Dr Anyars and Mr Murtala, since their election as the parliamentary candidates for their respective parties, have not relented in their campaign to win the seat.
Both candidates are all holding their campaign strategy to their chest in order not to let each other know their strategy to win the constituency.
But in an interaction with some party faithful of both the NPP and the NDC in the constituency, they claimed both candidates have employed the door-to-door campaign strategy to sell their messages to the electorate.
Dr Anyars, who is bent on winning the Tamale Central seat for the first time for the NPP, has also in recent times embarked on some outdoor activities in the constituency to register his visibility and make himself well known to the electorate by organising free health screening for the constituents.
According to some young men and women the Daily Graphic interacted with in the constituency, Dr Anyars had through the NABCO programme offered employment to majority of the youth in the constituency no matter their political affiliation which some of them believe would favour Dr Anyars to win the Tamale Central Parliamentary seat for the first time.
“Majority of the youth in the constituency who are either sympathisers or supporters of the opposition NDC have been engaged under NABCO and have made up their minds to vote for Dr Anyars in the elections and this can cause an upset for the NDC in the constituency which is perceived as the stronghold of the opposition party”, a sympathiser of the NDC, who identified himself only as Ibrahim said.
However, some supporters of the NDC who are part of Mr Murtala campaign team said they were not perturbed by the inroads being made by Dr Anyars through the engagement of many youth in the constituency under the employment programme.
“We are focused on our campaign and we are not leaving any stone unturned to win the constituency hands down for the NDC”, Razack, a campaign team member of Mr Murtala, said.
A lot of development projects have taken place in Tamale since the NPP took over the reins of government in 2017, which some political watchers in the area think will inure to the benefit of the party and translate into votes.
Some of the key things that has happened in Tamale in the past four years are the construction of the first ever interchange in Northern Ghana in Tamale, which is progressing in earnest, the hosting of the 62nd National Independence Day parade in Tamale in 2019, the Tamale Airport expansion project phase two and the restoration of peace in Dagbon that led to the eskinment of a new Yaa Naa (Overlord of Dagbon); they are said to work to the benefit of the ruling party and its parliamentary candidates.
However, some think otherwise saying that since the Tamale Central Constituency remains a stronghold of the opposition NDC, no amount of development projects to give the area a massive facelift such as the construction of the first ever interchange would sway the people to vote for the ruling party and its parliamentary candidates in the 2020 elections.
“Although I am happy that Tamale is going to have its first ever interchange in the whole of Northern Ghana, I don’t think that will change my mind to vote for the NPP and Dr Anyars”, Hafix, a tricycle operator popularly known as ‘yellow yellow” in the central business district of the metropolis observed, but another colleague of his, Mustapha, said he was for development and therefore he was going to vote for the NPP and Dr Anyars and even campaign for the party on those lines.
From the above, the contest is expected to be keen and the best campaign team with the right message can sway voters.
Many will, therefore, wait with bated breath for the results to be declared after the December 2020 general election.
Location/previous election results
The Tamale Central Constituency is located at the heart of the Tamale Metropolis which encompasses the Central Business District with some of the key communities or suburbs such as Sabonjida, Aboabo, Tishegu, Gumbihini, Warizehi, Moshie Zongo, Changli among others.
In the 2004 election, Prof. Alhassan Wayo Seini of blessed memory, who stood on the ticket of the NDC as the party's parliamentary candidate won by 35,635 votes representing 58.2 percent while Adam Mohammed Amin of the NPP obtained 24,614 representing 40.2 percent; Iddrisu Adam U-Azu of the People's National Congress (PNC) and Dr Adam Gamel Nasser of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) obtaining 693 and 329 votes respectively, representing 1.1 and 0.5.
In 2006, Prof. Wayo Seini, resigned from the NDC as the MP for Tamale Central which triggered a bye-election, though Prof. Wayo Seini had left NDC to join the NPP, he stood as an independent candidate and lost the seat to Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, the then NDC parliamentary candidate.
In the said bye-election Alhaji Fuseini obtained 29,081 votes representing 68.3 percent to defeat Prof. Wayo Seini who had crossed carpet from NDC to NPP but went independent obtaining 11,579 votes representing 27.2 percent, while Basharu Alhassan Debali, CPP, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, another independent candidate and Rita Adam Rukaya of the Democratic People's Party (DPP) secured 1,365 ,416 and 157 votes respectively, representing 3.2,0.9 and 0.3 percent.
In the 2016 election, Alhaji Fuseini of NDC who has retained the parliamentary seat he won through a bye-election in 2006, in the 2008 and 2012 general elections again retained his seat with 35,531 votes representing 59.81 percent (2016) defeating Dr Anyars who is the NPP parliamentary candidate for the 2020 election who obtained 25,230 representing 39.17 percent (2016).
Other candidates who contested the 2016 parliamentary election in the Tamale Central Constituency were Baba Alhassan of the Progressive People's Party (PPP), Abubakari Abdul Magudu of the CPP and Salifu Iddrisu of PNC, securing 310, 221 and 126 votes respectively representing 0.48, 0.34 and 0.20 percent.