The naked power play at the Pilgrims Affairs Office of Ghana (PAOG) even before its inauguration by President Akufo-Addo in February this year has resurfaced, with key actors now at each other’s throat, and this, many fear could affect the smooth management of this year’s Hajj.
Intelligence picked by The aL-hAJJ indicate that Chairman of POAG, Sheikh I. C. Quaye and some members of the Hajj Board are “fighting” among themselves much to the detriment of the expected smooth holy trip to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia this year.
Members of the Sheikh I. C. Quaye-led POAG, a source told this paper “are not on talking terms and this is threatening the smooth organization of this year’s Hajj. There is lack of cooperation and coordination here…everybody is doing what he likes. The Chairman is doing his own thing without consulting anybody and the others are also doing their own thing without recourse to the Chairman.”
Whilst the infighting at PAOG was said to have been brought to the attention of President Akufo-Addo and his vice, Dr Bawumia, nothing concrete has been done to bring about normalcy, the source disclosed.
“The President and his vice are not unaware of happenings here…they are in the know and they know what is happening here can affect how this year’s Hajj will be organized…the Vice President in particular, is worried about the differences among members of the board. He only recently said Hajj remains government’s major headache,” another source told this paper.
President Akufo-Addo in February this year named Sheikh I.C Quaye and 13 others to oversee this year’s Hajj operations. A statement issued by the Director of Communications at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin, named Sheikh I C Quaye as Chairman of the board who will be supported by 10 others.
The statement also named Dr Seidu Zakaria as Head of Medical Team, Abdulai Rahman Alhassan Gomda as Head of Communications and Dr Sani Abdulai as Head of IT.
Before the inauguration, Sheikh I C Quaye was on war path with Minister of Inner Cities and Zongo Development, Alhaji Boniface Abubakar Saddique, over whether the PAOG will be supervised by the newly created ministry.
An obviously furious Sheikh I.C Quaye angrily stated that Alhaji Boniface Abubakar Saddique, then Minister designate for Inner Cities and Zongo Development, cannot “go round saying the Hajj Committee is under his ministry. Hajj Committee can never be under that ministry…Hajj Committee is directly under the office of the president. Nonsense! How can he go round saying this thing?”
“That is stupid… Tell the man going round saying this thing that he is stupid…foolish. The Hajj Committee is under the office of the President not the Inner Cities and Zongo Development Ministry. How can the Hajj Committee be under the Zongo Development Ministry? Whoever is going round saying this thing is stupid. Tell the person I said he is stupid,” he fumed.
The PAOG Chairman, this gathered, was able to convince the President to include the Hajj board in the list of agencies under the Office of the President. “He (I C Quaye) managed to get the Zongo Minister off Hajj affairs. He then moved a step further to impress on the President to appoint persons he would prefer to work with as Board members but he failed, and this is causing the confusion here,” the source noted.
Another source disclosed to The aL-hAJJ that it is no secret that Sheikh IC Quaye and key members of the PAOG were on war path before the board was constituted. “Some members of the board wanted to be made chair persons but Sheikh IC Quaye beat them to it and that has been the trouble. Sheikh IC Quaye kicked against their nomination but the President and Vice President spoke managed to convince him to work with them. ”
“When Sheikh was made chairman, he wanted to suppress their influence so he made several appointments and those are the people he is working with. As we speak, two other persons have been nominated to join the board…they are expected to be sworn in soon. Nobody knows who and how they were nominated. He (Sheikh IC Quaye) plans everything with them at the blind side of the other members,” the source alleged.
All attempts to reach the Chairman of the PAOG proved futile, but POAG spokesperson, Alhaji A R Gomda refuted the allegations, insisting that there is no strain in relation among members of the Board.
“There is nothing like infighting here. The working relationship here is cordial and we are working together towards the mandate His Excellency and the Vice President have bestowed on us. We were tasked by His Excellency to carry out a smooth Hajj and we are working towards that. The Chairman, Hon Sheikh I C Quaye and other members of the Board recently travelled to Saudi Arabia to meet authorities there and officials of the Airline…when they returned, he called all of us and briefed us on what transpired there. There is nothing like infighting here. We are working cordially,” he explained.