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General News of Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Source: GNA

I am Still in the Race - Atuguba

Bolgatanga, Feb. 4, GNA - Mr Robert Atuguba, one of the candidates who filed to contest the forthcoming Council of State election in the Upper East Region has dismissed speculations that he had withdrawn from contesting the elections.

He said such speculations were unfounded and unnecessary because "as far as I know I have not withdrawn my candidature from the Electoral Commission in an election I have personally filed with interest." Mr Atugba said these when he spoke to the GNA at his Bolgatanga residence on Tuesday following speculations that he had withdrawn from the race to give advantage to one of the contestants to be elected. The retired educationist and one time chief editor at the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in charge of the French Desk said he was vying for the position following his experience and attachment to northern Ghana, and especially his desire to see to it that the area is given the necessary attention in terms of development.

"These made me to file to contest for the post and so it was premature for any person or group of persons to speculate that I had withdrawn from the race," he said.

Mr Atugba said he was not surprised at the manner these stories have been concocted and that he deemed it a duty to serve mother Ghana and northern Ghana.

"Considering my age and experience, the best I can do is to serve in the Council, so that I can advise the President on issues truly affecting the north and how as a team we can draw up pragmatic policies and programmes to tackle the wide gap created between northern and southern Ghana".

The Deputy Upper East Regional Director of the Electoral Commission, Mr Godwin Okley, when contacted said none of the contestants had brought before his outfit any notice of withdrawal, adding that if any of the candidates wish to do so, the EC would respect their wish. "Such candidates only need to write formally to effect the withdrawal," He emphasized.

The other candidates contesting the Council of State elections are the Very Reverend Dr Jacob Ayeebo, a PhD holder and a native of the Bawku West District. He is also a development worker, and the out-gone Presiding Member of the Bawku West District Assembly. Madam Melanie Kasise, also a retired educationist, and a Diploma holder in Advanced studies in education, who heads the Sirigu Women Pottery and Arts Association (SWOPA), as well as Madam Hilda Salifu, a businesswoman and a holder of Teacher's Certificate 'A', a native of Bolgatanga.