The news was all over the place. Nene Drolor Bosso Adamtey I, the Suapolor of the Se (Shai) Traditional Area, has been appointed the first Chancellor of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA).
An official statement issued in Accra said the appointment followed the unanimous recommendation of a Search Committee, the Executive Committee and the Academic Board of the University.
The announcement sent people -- well-wishers and some critics -- into a frenzy, especially on social media. Curiosity took the better part of me and I decided to have a conversation with him. A meeting was arranged.
At our meeting he asked that we commit the meeting into the hands of God, and then off we started with the conversation which lasted over an hour.
It was my first time meeting him, though I had heard and read a lot about him. I began by asking: “Nene, some of your critics make derogatory remarks about you, and yet you have nobly not responded to any of them. Also, some do not understand why you use the title king when actually you should be using the title chief. How true is that?”
Drolor Bosso Adamtey, known in private life as Dr. Kingsley A. Fletcher, answered that he comes from a royal paternal and maternal family lineage.
“I was born to the late Nene Martey Agede II, Weku Matse of the Se (Shai) Lekpedje, and Lady Esther Victoria Lardjea. In 1999, I was coronated and later gazetted as the Suapolor and Noyam Matse of the Se (Shai) Kingdom in Ghana. I represent all the three divisions of the Se traditional area and I have been charged with the responsibility of leading the Se people into an era of peace, progress and development.
“One thing I have learned in life is that if you are in the public eye, occasionally people write you letters without their name as well as often times write their names without a letter. Also, when you are right your critics choose not to remember; and when they choose to think you are wrong they want to ensure that people don’t forget. In the word of God Ecclesiastes 7:21 (NIV) it says, do not pay attention to every word that people say or you may hear your servant cursing you.
“You know, names and titles of traditional rulers are conferred in relation to their office. I have deep respect for our African tradition, so what is the problem if I decide to use a title that represents my role, which has been conferred upon me by my people? Should this become a matter for discussion? Every traditional area has its own structures, and if this is the title given me why should it be a problem to anyone? In fact, in my opinion, technically all traditional leaders are kings; why do we call our women traditional leaders’ queen mothers? Do you know in Ghana we have women kings; do they also owe us any explanation? It’s unfortunate that we have bought into the colonial mindset.
“In the area of traditional leadership, my goal is to help provide transformational leadership through peace, development and prosperity in collaboration with other traditional leaders who recognise the need for sustainable progress. Fortunately, now almost all our traditional rulers are well-educated, well-exposed and well-positioned to recognise that their contributions are needed for the success of their traditional areas and the nation.”
He said if people can look down on their traditional values, that is their problem, stressing: “I will not be part of that thinking. You can call me by any name, but I will choose to respond to the name I want to be called.
“Most who criticise me do not know me nor have seen me, but write about me as if they know me. I remain focused on what God has asked me to do. I pray with God’s assistance that I contribute in a small way to improve or better someone’s life.”
His reputation and demand as a lecturer, best-selling author, humanitarian, educator, historian and highly sought global advisor spanning over 100 countries on five continents have never made him egoistic or disrespectful of others.
“I still continue to learn. The world is my classroom. Anybody is my teacher and life is my experience,” he said.
Drolor Bosso Adamtey is an entrepreneur and has interests in Africa, Asia and North America.
He is a former Special Advisor to the Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for Africa.
He serves on local and international boards and also still serves as an advisor and mentor to global leaders, addressing life, business, and leadership issues. He is a humanitarian and a minister.
Drolor Bosso Adamtey has also partnered with major technology firms to bring investment to Ghana and West Africa in the areas of infrastructure, technology, and training.
“My satisfaction is to build the capacity of people. That is the only way most of us can get out of poverty and contribute their quota to the development goals of their families, community and country.
“I can use myself as a living testimony. Growing up a lot of people wrote me off, but by the grace of God today I am able to touch the lives of many.”
He advocates the need for leadership training courses to be introduced in the country’s educational curriculum as a matter of urgency to deepen the country’s democratic journey.
“We need visionary leaders who will take over the mantle of leadership in the future. The situation we find ourselves in now is that the world is moving at a rate that is not waiting for anyone, and if we do not equip the current crop of youth with the right skills future generations will not forgive us.
“The current culture of ‘do little and talk much’ will not help the country to join the wealthy class of nations.”
He asked Ghanaians who have gone to acquire knowledge outside to be encouraged to come and supply their expertise toward development of the country.
“Let us not put a fence around them. They have a lot to offer, but if they hear what is going on in the country they tend to give up any hope of joining their folks.”
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