The New Patriotic Party (NPP) for the first time won the Tolon Constituency seat in the Northern Region in the 2012 general election and the party is determined to retain the seat this year.
It would also be one of the constituencies of interest in the 2016 general election considering the calibre of candidates being put forward by the NPP and the NDC.
The constituency hosts one of the campuses of the University for Development Studies (UDS) and the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) both at Nyankpala.
The NPP parliamentary candidate for the 2016 general election, Alhaji Wahab Suhiyini Wumbei, who is also the incumbent Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency, is considered to be the fore-runner in the upcoming parliamentary election in the constituency but the NDC candidate, Alhaji Umar Abdul Razak, who lost the seat to the incumbent in 2012, is determined to wrest the seat from his opponent.
Both candidates say they are confident of winning the seat but the people who can make their ambitions come through are the residents and electorate in the constituency.
Although the constituency has seen an appreciable development in the areas of roads, healthcare facilities, potable water, electricity and support for the residents who are predominantly smallholder farmers to boost their farming activities, there is more to be done and that will determine the outcome of the election.
Some residents who spoke to this reporter during a visit to the constituency said under the incumbent MP, they had seen a lot of development projects such as the provision of boreholes and the construction of classroom blocks for some communities and, therefore, that would be the motivating factor for them to give him the nod to go for another four-year term.
However, others also think that the incumbent MP could not fulfil the promises he made to them when he was seeking their mandate and, therefore, they would bring back the former MP, Alhaji Razak of the NDC, to continue from where he left off in 2012.
Although residents in the constituency have expressed varied opinions about the two leading candidates contesting for the seat, both of them are not leaving any stone unturned as they have intensified their campaigns in the constituency to bring into fruition their ambitions of representing the people in the next Parliament.
According to the incumbent MP for the constituency, Alhaji Wumbei, an educationist, a former assembly member for the Gbrimani electoral area and district chief executive (DCE) during President’s Kufuor’s administration, the people would retain him based on his track record of bringing development to the people in the area.
Alhaji Wumbei thanked the chiefs and the people for the trust and confidence they reposed in him for the last four years to represent them in Parliament and asked for another four-year term to enable him to complete his good work for the people in the area.
His closest rival, Alhaji Razak, the NDC parliamentary candidate, an agriculturist, a former assembly member for Lingbung electoral area and a former chemistry teacher at the Tolon Senior High School (SHS), said he had been tried and tested once as MP for the area and, therefore, the people would vote for him to represent them in Parliament.
He also appealed to them to give him their mandate during the forthcoming elections to represent them in Parliament and to enable the NDC government to complete the good work it had started in the constituency.
Apart from the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) that has put forward a parliamentary candidate to contest the Tolon seat in the person of Mr Ziblim Baba Issifu, the other minority political parties are yet to come up with their candidates to contest the parliamentary elections in the constituency.
According to political watchers and residents in the constituency, the contest would be between the NPP and the NDC parliamentary candidates.
However, the PPP parliamentary candidate, Mr Issifu, who is also contesting the seat for the second time, stated that he was on the ground and based on his visibility and affability, he was going to pull a surprise in the contest by winning the seat to represent his people in Parliament. He pledged to give the two acclaimed candidates a run for their money.
In Election 2012, the incumbent MP for Tolon and the NPP parliamentary candidate for election 2016 secured 18,113 votes representing 48.15 per cent to snatch the seat from the then incumbent NDC MP, Alhaji Razak, who obtained 15,699 votes representing 41.73 per cent.
The other candidates in the race were Kassi Abdul-Latif, an independent candidate, Mohammed Ibrahim of the National Democratic Party (NDP), Ziblim Baba Issifu of the PPP and Alhassan Baba Damba of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) who obtained 2,478, 568, 398 and 361 votes respectively, representing 6.59, 1.51, 1.06 and 0.98 per cent respectively.