The General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia has revealed that he had to become a ‘truck pusher’ to earn enough money to buy forms to write the teacher training entrance exams.
Speaking on Joy FM’s Personality Profile Thursday, Mr Nketia said it was the tradition of his family for him to be groomed to take over his uncle’s business, as such education was not a priority, and in most cases opposed.
Despite being a “bright student”, Johnson was banned by his family from pursuing any further academic exploits as he was supposed to take over his uncle’s cocoa farming business.
“When I left middle school, because I had been banned not to attempt to aspire to go to secondary school, I didn’t know what to do”, he said.
His desire to study took him back to his middle school as a volunteer to tutor those preparing to sit the exam he had passed with distinction.
While doing that, he decided to try his hands at the Teacher Training College exams, a difficult examination that many of the teachers in the community at that time had failed in.
Regardless of the discouragement he received from his friends, he maintained his resolve and decided to write the exam.
“I decided to sit for the 4-year teacher training college admission exams. In those days some of my teachers had written it for 10 years and they had never passed. And so when I took a decision to do it, I discussed it with some of my friends they said no, you can never pass that one”.
Unfortunately, as a young student, he couldn’t afford the entrance forms required for the exam.
Not being one to take no for an answer, the indefatigable young Asiedu Nketia decided to work temporarily as a ‘truck pusher’ in order to make some money for to buy the forms.
“But I told myself I will just give it a try. But…I couldn’t ask for money from my parents or my uncles so I decided to engage in truck pushing. So I mobilized ₵14 at that time and bought the forms for ₵9 and took pictures and wrote the exams,” he revealed.
Even after writing the training college exam, he was unable to inform his family of this feat for fear of being beaten up, as had been done to him in the past.
The opportune time came when the wealth of his cocoa farmer uncle was described as “useless” for not having a scholar in his family.
According to the NDC stalwart, “that was what triggered the desire in my uncle to have a scholar in the family”.
His uncle subsequently came to see his mother and decided to encourage him to further his education. Coincidentally, he received the results from the teacher training college exams that same week.
“Within that week, the postmaster came to our house and handed me a letter. When I opened [it] I had passed my exam and I had been offered admission to St. Joseph’s Training College”.
After completing the training college, he pursued courses in “business administration, stock brokering, subsequently went into banking and finance” and more recently a Master of Science degree in Defence and International Politics from the Ghana Armed Forces Command College in 2019.
The latter, he explained was because his new role as the Vice President of Socialist International (a worldwide organisation of political parties which seek to establish democratic socialism) requires him to be up-to-date with issues with terrorism, globalization and international politics.
“I thought I needed to learn more [because] all my politics was in practice,” he concluded.