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The downfall of a local political chieftain

There was an earth shattering event, politically speaking, in Tamale over the weekend; a local political chieftain was humbled and brought crashing down from his high pedestal by a party which only years ago lavished him with praise and adolation. Did somebody just say politics is an ugly game?

At the just concluded northern regional NPP delegates congress on Saturday, voters overwhelmingly and decisively ditched their canterkorous, loudmouth and combative chairman, Mr. Bugri Naabu, for a more laid back, tolerant and bridge building young businessman, Mr. Mohammed Bentima Samba.

I can see Mr. Naabu’s numerous detractors popping champagne bottles in celebration of his massive defeat. I shed no tears for the vituperative for regional chairman.

Mr. Naabu who was reportedly involved in an accident a few days before the elections, should have seen his momentous event coming. That he didn’t, remains baffling and underscores his arrogance and self-absorption.

His tenure as chairman was controversial and agonizingly painful to watch; there was never a dull moment. He had no qualms about threatening national party officials with dooms day scenario of electoral defeat in the north if they did not play by his rules. He even went as far as to urge the president to be assertive on some issues or else.

Mr. Naabu loved to tangle with foes, and it did not matter if they belonged to his party or were from the opposition or even if they were the opposite sex. He just did not give a damn; he took all of them on.

Oh, and how can we forget his memorable fight with Ms. Otiko Djaba. This particular brawl with Ms. Djaba stood out for its viciousness and nasty name-calling. It was made for prime time television. It took the intervention of top party officials to get chairman Bugri to back off.

Over time, Mr. Naabu became something of a political gadfly, a rabble-rouser who did not countenance alternative views. Along the way, he stepped on many toes. He heaped insults on his opponents with glee. He dominated the party like a Somali warlord, dividing the spoils of the party’s 2016 election victory with reckless abandon. There is no doubt that party member were intimidated by Chairman Naabu.

So, it was only a matter of time before voters showed him the exit, to spare the NPP in the north the anguish of watching their party become the laughing stock and object of ridicule in a polarized political environment.

The election of Mr. Samba sent a clear message.  Top party officials who earn the wrath of the common man, will be punished. Mr. Samba’s emergence is the dawn of a new era for the NPP in the north, and good things are expected of him.

He should take the mantle of leadership and run with it. By which I mean, he should be what Mr. Naabu wasn’t; nice, gentle, tolerant, less combative and decent to all. Mr Samba would do well to bring the differents factions in the party together, and must work diligently to promote the party’s overall goals in the region.

In addition, he should resist temptations to lord it over party members and must listen attentively to all members irrespective of whether he got their votes or not. The journey has just began, and there is still a lot of work to be done. We all wish Mr. Samba the best in his new political venture.

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