According to the Executive Secretary of the Coalition of SADA Zone CSOs, Bismark Adongo Ayorogo, who organised the Forum, the development has been very disappointing and shocking to the Coalition, traditional leaders as well as constituents in the SADA Zone.
The National Forum aimed at engaging presidential candidates of political parties contesting in the 2016 polls on their plans of eliminating extreme poverty and inequality in the three northern regions was not prioritised by the New Patriotic Party (NPP), NDC and Convention People’s Party (CPP).
On the first day of the National Forum, stakeholders in the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone expected the presidential candidates of the NPP, Nana Akufo-Addo and his running mate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumiah, to address the forum but they failed to honour the invitation.
A situation that delayed the programme for over three hours and after several efforts to reach the NPP communications team, a Former Minister of the Northern Region, Prince Imoro Andani, and Member of Parliament for Nabdam, Boniface Gambila, were sent as representatives to interact with the constituents.
The story was no different on Day Two as the presidential candidate of the CPP scheduled to meet stakeholders also failed to turn up, sending three party representatives to represent the flagbearer, Ivor Greenstreet and his running mate Nana Gabby Nsiah Nketiah
The climax of the programme, which was structured to meet the presidential candidates of the ruling NDC, was also marred with a last minute excuse and disappointment, as chiefs from various clans and communities across the three regions of the north arrived in Bolgatanga to a no-show.
According to the Executive Secretary of the Coalition of SADA Zone CSOs, the NDC sent a text message on Wednesday, October 26, demanding the forum is re-scheduled to allow high ranking officials in the party to attend without sending a proxy or a particular date for constituents in the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone to meet the presidential candidates.
Consequently, traditional rulers from the various parts of the SADA Zone have described the action by the presidential candidates as disappointing.
The Acting President of the Municipal House of Chiefs and Chief of Yorigo, Naba Awuni Johnson, who represented the traditional rulers, in his reaction stated they all travelled from distances to interact with the political parties on the commitments they have for the Zone but rather none of the parties prioritised the National Forum, which is unfortunate.