Minister Fights Over MP’s Body

The Northern Regional Minister, Stephen Sumani Nayina, was at it again yesterday, creating a scene over the funeral arrangements of the late MP for Cheriponi, Doris Asibi Seidu, at the Tamale West Hospital mortuary. An agitated Mr Nayina engaged in hot exchanges with the husband of the late MP, Yakubu Abdul Karim, beating his chest and saying he was in charge, to the surprise of the late MP’s family members. “I am in charge of the body now and my instructions must be heeded to,” the Minister shouted in anger, as the widower broke down in uncontrollable tears. The heated exchanges nearly led to fisticuffs as Mr Nayina insisted that the body of the late MP should be presented to the chief of Cheriponi, Gomna Gyamgya Malba, who is regarded as the traditional overlord of the district. The verbal exchanges, which attracted mourners and sympathisers to the scene, nearly marred the well-planned programme, with sections of the public accusing the minister of trying to sabotage the bereaved family and the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP). The late MP’s family raised objections to Mr. Nayina’s request that the body be sent first to Gomna Gyamgya Malba’s palace, after which the chief would present the body to him (Minister) so that he could in turn present it to the family. The family argued that the chief drove the MP away just last March and that they were at a loss as to why he was now ready to receive her body. For this reason, the family said they saw no reason in going by the minister’s request and opted to perform the burial at Gushiegu, the husband’s hometown. Those who could no longer stand the embarrassment, burst into uncontrollable tears, and but for the timely intervention of the Deputy Minority Leader, Ambrose Dery, the scene would have been chaotic, as charged relatives tried to demand the body from ‘government’.Mr. Dery calmed down tempers before the vehicle carrying the body could depart for Cheriponi after it had been delayed for close to 45 minutes. It was unclear what the Lawra MP told both parties, but on entering Cheriponi, many expected the mourning train to stop at the chief’s palace as some subjects converged on the place; but the convoy drove by hurriedly to the family house were the Islamic funeral ceremony was held. Daily Guide later gathered that to ensure a smooth interment of the late female legislator, a delegation was on arrival sent to the chief to officially inform him that the body of the late MP had been brought for burial. The mortal remains of the late Doris Asibi Seidu were interred at her hometown, Cheriponi. NPP bigwigs including its 2008 presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and his running mate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the party’s National Chairman, Peter Mac Manu, MPs, other political figures, friends and sympathizers, joined thousands for the burial after the short Islamic prayers. In separate tributes from Parliament, the NPP and the former Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Mustapha Ali Idris, the late Doris Seidu was described as a hard working legislator who yearned for development for her area. Her achievements were catalogued and Alhaji Idris underscored the need for a suitable replacement of the late MP to continue with her good works. He appealed to the people of the area to honour her by holding a peaceful and incident-free bye-elections since peace remained the best recipe for development. On his part, the National Chairman of the NPP, Mr. Mac Manu, described her as a force to reckon with, saying she was the woman to revive the party from coma. He expressed the hope that her constituents would scout for another “Tiger Lady” to complete her unfinished business. Hon Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, in a solemn presentation, said the late MP would be sorely missed and wished her a peaceful journey, consoling the bereaved family on behalf of Parliament. Contributions were made to the family on behalf of the government, Parliament, individuals and the party. Earlier, mourners had filed past the body amidst the shedding of tears as the body was laid in state.