Minister-designate for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Madam Otiko Afisa Djaba has rebuff attempts by some members of the vetting committee to impress on her to apologize to former President John Dramani Mahama for comments she made a couple of months ago.
Madam Afisah Djaba was emphatic to the committee that she owes the former president no apology when she was referred to what Alhassan Sayibu Suhuyin, MP for Tamale North constituency labeled as “unfortunate and unpalatable” statement made against the former president.
The nominee is reported to have made some scathing comments about former President Mahama in the line up to the 2016 general elections.
The polyglot minister-designate was quoted to have said “President Mahama’s time is up…President Mahama is extremely wicked and so he must step down…He has the heart of the devil. We need change, we need someone is passionate about this country. You have to vote massively for Nana Akufo Addo. We need change this year. Your time is up President Mahama,”
“…You have to step down this year so Nana Addo can take over the management of this country,” She told a teeming crowd of NPP supporters during the campaign season last year.
But Madam Otiko, who is related to the former president, said her comments were made without any malice intended.
Asked if she would apology for her comments, Madam Afisa Djaba said she has no apology to render.
“The president is my brother and I spoke from my convictions. I made the statement as a wakeup call for him. We are building a nation and he [John Mahama] was running for re-election and I felt the people who should tell him as it is were not telling him as it was,” she said.
Madam Otiko further explained that “When I said the president was an embarrassment, I referred to SADA. SADA is very dear to my heart. The incident of poverty in the three Northern region where my mother comes from is very high. But the president who comes from the North did nothing to help the region. It was an embarrassment”
“I don’t owe him [President Mahama] or you [Alhassan Sayibu Suhuyin] any apology. We are developing and building a nation” she firmly said.
However, the Minority Leader and Member of Parliament for Tamale South, Haruna Iddrisu interjected and in some way attempt to corece Madam Otiko to retract and apologize to the former president.
But the nominee, who is also the NPP’s National Women’s Organizer, strongly rebuff the call and maintained that “I don’t regret my comment. The president embarrassed Northerners and their chiefs have complained bitterly about that. When I talked about his [Ex-Prez Mahama] wickedness, Ghanaians were crying due to Dumsor and high tariffs.”
When asked to dissociate herself from those words by the ranking member, she quizzed – “Are you trying to say that we cannot criticize? Are you saying that I don’t have my right to speak? My words weren’t an insults, it was a criticism!”