He made political history in the Yagaba/Kubori Constituency of the Northern Region which has traditionally been voting for the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) by winning the seat for the first time on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) since 1992 when the Fourth Republic was installed.
Thirty-seven-year-old business executive, Mustapha Ussif, was completely written off in the 2012 even to the extent that his own party people did not believe he could win the seat for the party
His weapons to achieve this feat were his humility, service to the people and also marketing the party through regular interaction with the people. It did not come that easy for the young MP to win the seat.
His history-making feat was also made possible by the non-performance of the incumbent NDC MP, Alhaji Abdul Rauf Tanko Ibrahim, who also made history in parliament by being the first MP to land a provocative deafening slap on the cheek of a colleague MP from his own party on the Floor of Parliament after some misunderstanding between the two.
The then incumbent MP is alleged to have completely neglected the interests of his people, having been the MP for 12 good years. No wonder the development of the area is nothing to write home about,
Yagaba/Kubori which is the sole constituency in the Mamprugu/Moadori District of the Northern Region with Yagaba as the district capital is a very deprived constituency, popularly referred to as the ‘overseas’ of the Northern Region, because the place is totally cut off from the national grid, while there is no single kilometer of tarred road in the district. There is no potable water, no hospital or an ambulance service, no police station and the people there are generally poor. The only occupation for the people is farming. The place is, indeed, an ‘overseas’ with little or no development at all.
Hon Mustapha Ussif tells the DAILY GUIDE that he studied the flaws of the then incumbent MP and as a keen student of American and British politics, he used the knowledge gained coupled with his affability to endear himself to the people in his constituency and to exploit the weaknesses of his opponent.
“It was not easy at all. I had to work very hard visiting almost every community and doing all sorts of souvenirs with NPP colours to distribute to the people just to sell the party to the people who have been used to voting for only NDC,” he reveals.
He said he was motivated to come and help his people after his studies in the United Kingdom, having also been trained as a teacher at the Bagabaga College of Education in Tamale because as an indigene of the area from Tantaala in the constituency, even though the place has a huge potential as far as agriculture is concerned, the people are exceptionally poor and would have to contribute his quota in bringing development to his people.
The young MP had his degree in Business Management at the Anglia Ruskin University at Chemlsford in UK, after which he obtained his masters in Financial Investment from the University of Gloucestershire, also in the UK.
He was a student activist while at the Bagbaga College of Education and a member of the communication team of the UK branch of the NPP.
“We have the largest rice valley at Yagaba/Kubori called the Kubir rice valley which could feed the whole the country if properly harnessed and farmers in the area supported to go into rice farming,” he said.
The young Yagaba/Kubori MP who is very passionate about the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) and has been criticising the NDC government for mismanaging SADA any time the issue comes up on the Floor of the House or when he is given the opportunity to make his contribution on the Budget Statement and Financial Policy of the government every year.
He believes that when NPP comes to power, SADA will be used to spearhead the development of the north to help people in the Northern Region.
“It is ironical for this government to give GH¢250 million to SADA and they cannot show anything for it. The people in the north are even poorer with SADA in place,” he says.
He was also a strong advocate for the people of the Western Region to be allocated 10 percent of the oil revenue for specific development in the region and that during the recently passed Oil Exploration and Production Bill, he strongly advocated such a clause to be inserted in the Bill, but majority of the MPs, especially those from the Majority side, disagreed with him.
In his less than four years in parliament, he has been able to achieve a lot for his people.
According to him, being a member of the Mines and Energy Committee in parliament, he has used his influence to lobby for extension of electricity to the district and towns like Kubori, Kunkwa, Yizeisi, Tantala, Kubugu, Kpatorigu, Nangruma and Jadama, now enjoying electricity since creation.
He said the extension of the electricity is continuing to other towns and villages and now with the extension of electricity to the district, small scale businesses will spring up and thrive in the area and provide employment to the people in the area.
He said under his tenure, 30 boreholes have been drilled and eight dug-out wells constructed to provide water for the people in the constituency as well as to support farming in the dry season.
He mentioned that he has also personally given scholarships to over 1,000 students, some in the secondary and tertiary institutions worth over GH¢200,000, while over 100,000 exercise books had been distributed free-of-charge to pupils in the constituency.
He said he has also personally registered over 8,000 vulnerable people to benefit from the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and has also provided an ambulance for the services of the people even though there is no hospital in the district.
The young MP who is a staunch Muslim has also built a mosque for his people, with support from the vice presidential candidate of the NPP, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.
He said in line with his vision to fight for the interest of his people in parliament, he filed a number of questions in parliament during his four years in parliament concerning the numerous developmental problems facing his people which were admitted and debated in parliament
“I have asked constituency-based questions on when a district assembly complex would be built for the district as a new district, when a new hospital would be provided, when electricity would be connected to the district, when potable water would be provided for my people, when our bad roads would be fixed especially the major ones connecting the district and when a new bus would be provided for the only senior high school in the district,” Mustapha Ussif states.
The ministers associated with these nagging problems in his constituency were invited by the Speaker to come and answer those questions he filed in parliament.
According to him, from his checks in parliament and from the officials hansard, the former MP never asked a single question on behalf of the people in the Yagaba/Kubori Constituency when he was the MP for the area.
He said his main concern is about the bad roads in his constituency and even though the government has given several assurances that the roads would be tackled, there is little evidence that the government is serious in providing good roads for the people in the Yagaba/Kubori Constituency.
Mustapha Ussif said it is also important for the government to come to the aid of his people by supporting the farmers in the area with combine harvesters, irrigation facilities, loans and rice mills.
He is very optimistic that with what he has been able to achieve for his people in just three and half years, the people of Yagaba/Kubori will vote massively for him again and also for Nana Akufo-Addo for an NPP government to come to power.
“It is definitely not going to be easy because the same MP that I defeated with a little over 900 votes is coming back to stand this time with a lot of money with the aim of inducing the people to vote for him,” the MP adds.
He said he has told the people to take the money and ‘chop’ and reject him again because he has nothing good to offer them as they had experienced in his 12 years as MP for the area.
“Knowing the challenge I am facing, I am going to work harder to retain this seat for the NPP and eventually make Yagaba/Kubori a safe seat for the NPP,” he reiterates.
The young MP has, therefore, called on friends in the party and outside the party to come and support him in kind and in cash to be able to retain the seat for the party. He would be launching his campaign very soon for another NPP victory in the Yagaba/Kubori Constituency, Insha Allah.
He believes that with hard work from all NPP parliamentary candidates in the Northern Region, the region could for the first time fall to the NPP, with majority of seats being won by the NPP.