A few days after violent dispute among members of the New Patriotic Party in the Northern region over nomination of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives and other presidential appointment seems to be relaxing, fresh confusion has broken out again; this time, over the Ghana School Feeding Program.
Fighting over local leadership of the program in the region has intensified in the last four months, with two factions emerging, one led by the party’s regional chairman, Daniel Bugri Naabu and the other by the minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Madam Otiko Djaba whose ministry is clothed with regulatory supervision of the Program.
The divisions were created after the regional chairman led his camp, an alliance of women organizers of the party in the region, to disrupt a meeting held by the minister with another women wing, in Tamale following accusations she was supporting a candidate for the regional coordinator post of the program. The chairman is rooting for a different candidate for the same position.
The President is yet to appoint a management team for the program including regional coordinators but members of the rival group are worried they may be denied jobs into the program as district coordinators, caterers and zonal monitoring officers for supporting Bugri Naabu whose rift between the Gender minister is widening.
Internal squabbles and angry exchanges between the rivals have been raging but escalated last week when the women group backed by the regional chairman held a tumultuous news conference at his Fuo residence and went all out raging at, slamming and accusing Madam Otiko Djaba of efforts to cripple the School feeding program and render it unsuccessful in the three regions of the north.
Speaking to news men, convener of the group Madam Agnes Gunu said the president must immediately appoint national and regional coordinators to rescue the program from collapsing under the current minister, Otiko Djaba.
Among other claims of sabotage, the group is questioning why the minister authorized the advertisement of vacancies when a management team is yet to be constituted by the president, and further demanded to know the role of one Hajia Safia who she said had been calling women organizers across the country and extracting monies from them to select schools of their choices to be considered as catering service providers under the program.
The group after the allegations requested for a presidential inquiry and warned the general public to avoid Madam Otiko Djaba and Safia on the program saying they were operating unlawfully.
The regional secretariat supported the action of the group saying it shall resist any attempts by anybody whose efforts would deny jobs to the party women.
“I will say that the regional secretariat of the NPP is solidly behind the women organizers and other women groups to fully take charge of the Ghana School Feeding Program in the region, and that I can assure you. I will lead a forceful group to protest and defend the interest of these women group in the region,” the Northern regional secretary cautioned the Gender minister.
However, the rival women group loyal to the minister at a counter press conference fired back, targeting the regional chairman and said he engineered the attacks on Madam Otiko Djaba “in attempt to settle their score and to further his course of getting one lady, Felicia of Tacorabama appointed as coordinator of the school feeding program.”
They did not address the allegations raised against the minister saying it is frivolous and without basis and just an attempt to a long standing interest of the regional chairman, Mr. Bugri Naabu.
Mohammed Nashiru, the group’s spokesman also addressing the press, also declared they will not accept efforts by the chairman to impose a “non-executive or his preferred” as regional coordinator of the program.
“The northern regional chairman’s continuous public outbursts, instead of resorting to party structures to solve petty problems have become a recipe for chaos in the party. We will like to send notice to the leadership of the party to as a matter of urgency, call the northern regional chairman, Mr. Bugri Naabu to order or very soon, he shall face the wrath of the youth of the NPP”, Nashiru forewarned.