Of the 275 constituencies across the country, one which political pundits were eager to see its parliamentary election results in the just ended election was Ayawaso West Wuogon (hereinafter referred to as AWW).
This was primarily because of the persona of the two main parliamentary candidates; Lydia Seyram Alhassan (NPP), the incumbent who succeeded her late husband, Hon. Kyeremanteng Agyarko in a by-election as against one of Ghana’s popular actors and “ladies man”, John Dumelo of the NDC.
These two candidates came with their own unique styles–Lydia, an unassuming politician noted for benevolence and humility had to battle it out with good-looking John, an extreme extrovert politician who had a good rapport with the youth especially the pretty ladies.
John stopped at nothing; he was always in the news; entered people’s homes, workplaces, bedrooms and if you like bathrooms to solicit for votes. He gave out tonnes of goodies to his constituents, on some occasions hired excavators and trucks to dredge choked drains. To put it mildly, he gave the incumbent a good run for her money.
Their campaign sometimes got heated; verbally jousting each other with their supporters also joining the frail. Dumelo had his own issues to deal with. He had to purge himself from issues of his “illegally” acquired Toyota V-8 Land Cruiser seized in the early days of 2017 by security operatives from a garage where he had allegedly gone to change its colour after the NDC lost power. This “disgraceful” act got former British High Commissioner to Ghana, John Benjamin label him as “Mr. V-8” on Twitter and other social media platforms.
The incumbent, Lydia S. Alhassan on the other hand, unfortunately, had been denigrated to pulp and even branded as “bloody-widow” by NDC Members of Parliament. Unthinkable, isn’t it? According to them, she was a beneficiary of a bloody-held by-election. This characterization had a huge toll on her in Parliament as the minority MPs would not see eyeball-to-eyeball with her. She however managed to surmount these challenges to do her best for her constituents.
At the end of the day, the parliamentary results as officially declared by the Returning Officer of the Electoral Commission is as follows:
LYDIA ALHASSAN (NPP) – 39,851
JOHN DUMELO (NDC) – 37,778
Now, to some historical facts about AWW constituency relative to parliamentary representation since the inception of the 4th Republican constitution.
•The first MP was Kenneth Dzirasah of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) who served between 1992-96. He, at a point became a deputy speaker in Parliament.
•His successor, Mrs Rebecca Adotey (NDC) served between 1996-2000. NB: her election was challenged by the NPP’s candidate, Isaac Amoo at an Accra High Court and indeed the court ruled in his favour except that by the time the judgement came that Parliament had been dissolved.
•In the 2000 election, George Isaac Amoo (NPP) won and served till 2004 after he was painfully defeated in the parliamentary primaries of the party.
•The current Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema-Opare (NPP) won the 2004 election and ruled till 2012, making her the longest serving MP for the constituency.
•The late Emmanuel Kyeremanteng Agyarko (NPP) took over from her and held the fort till his untimely demise on November 21, 2018.
This led to a by-election held on 31st January, 2019. An election which started peacefully until NDC hoodlums besieged polling stations to cause mayhem leading to some nasty scenes. The National Chairman of the NDC, Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo in the process of the skirmishes issued a press statement announcing his party’s decision to boycott the election.
His statement, however, did not stop the EC from carrying out its officially mandated duty. At the end of the polls, Lydia Alhassan (NPP) obtained 12,041 votes as against her main contender, Delali Brempong (NDC) who garnered 5, 341.
Now to the thrust of my argument; using the figures of the 2016 election as a test case where the late Kyeremanteng Agyarko had 32, 591 (57%) as against Delali Brempong’s (NDC) 22, 534 (39%); a difference of a whooping 10,057 votes, one can safely say that John Dumelo has done what Napoleon couldn’t do. He has managed to bridge the gap from 10,057 votes to 2, 073 and that’s commendable.
The NPP must therefore wake up to the reality before danger looms in 2024 in that constituency. Let the voices of conscience and reason listen. I rest my case.
The writer is Sir-Obama Pokuase.
No. 345 Baobab Street.