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Monday, September 7, 2009

Boakye Agyarko for General Secretary?

The pressure is one for Boakye Kyeremanteng Agyarko, 53, to contest for the position of General Secretary for the New Patriotic Party. The pressure is coming from both the grassroots and sections of the party leadership to get him to contest for one of the most important positions in the political party structure.

Those pushing him say his organisational acumen, knowledge of the party both ideologically and on the ground, and his talent as a master political strategist, they say, all add up to make him the best General Secretary that the opposition party should have in preparation to win back power in 2012.

The NPP has a very busy schedule this year to elect party officers after the far-reaching constitutional amendments of last month. Between September 15-20, the party is sorting out its membership register. Indeed, there is a mad rush for membership since it was decided that over 115,000 party members (including 105,000 polling station officers) will vote for the next presidential candidate.

September 28, 29 and 30, should see elections of new NPP polling station officers across the country. There are persuasive moves to limit the wholesale election of polling station officers for fear of infiltration.

In October, the contest will move to the election of constituency party officers. In November, regional party officers will be elected. December will see the crucial contest of those who will steer party affairs at the national level.

For the chairmanship, Jake Obestebi-Lamptey and Stephen Ntim are the likely candidates. But, Felix Owusu-Agyepong and Ama Busia may be thrown in as compromise candidates, to bridge the gap of perceived factionalism that is feared to be eating into the party’s organisation.

For the General Secretary position, incumbent Nana Ohene Ntow is expected to seek re-election. Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, alias Sir John, and Obeng Busia are also expected to give a keen competition to the incumbent.

But, the name of Boakye-Agyarko, the banker and presidential aspirant in 2007, is likely to seriously change the equation.

The man who was shot in an execution style and presumed dead, following the Halidu Giwa failed coup attempt in 1983, recovered enough to become vice president of America’s oldest bank, the Bank of New York.

He has an impeccable track record and one of the most persuasive orators in Ghanaian politics today.

Born in 1956 in Kumasi, in the Ashanti Region to Kwasi Agyarko, a Merchant and a United Party activist (and parliamentary candidate) from Jamase, Ashanti and Teacher Jane Ladze Padi from Krobo-Odumase in the Eastern Region, Boakye Agyarko had his elementary school education at the K.O. Methodist Primary School (Ashanti New Town) and the University of Science and Technology (now KNUST) Primary School.

He proceeded to Mfanstipim School in Cape Coast on September 18, 1969 and went on to the University of Ghana, Legon in 1976. He studied Economics and Political Science, and graduated with BA (Hons) in 1979.

Boakye Agyarko (or Torino as he was known by his school mates) represented Mfanstipim School, (Kwabotwe) in 110m hurdles, triple and long jump events. His demonstrated leadership led him to become the National Coordinator and eventually National President of the Ghana United Nation Students' Association and Youth Association’s National President.

While in the United States, Boakye Agyarko earned an Advanced Professional Certificate in Banking from the American Institute of Bankers. He also earned an MBA with concentration in Finance from Pace University in New York City. He served the Bank of New York for two decades rising to become vice president and Head of Global Network Management for the Americans in the Investment Management and Services Division.
Boakye Agyarko is a founding member of NPP and he has always been a proactive loyalist of the party.

He served as chairman of The Danquah Busia Club of North America, and for a time served as a Trustee of the Busia Foundation. He later headed the NPP in North America where he took up the challenge of building the party and coordinated its activities within the Ghanaian community in America, at the same time liaising with the party back home in Ghana. His engagement in Ghana’s political and socio-economic discourse and dialogue is very well documented.

As his contribution, he wrote a weekly column in the Ghanaian newspaper, “The Statesman” titled “Letter from America” from 1993 through 1998.

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