Partisan politics is a melting pot for people of varied backgrounds and professional expertise. It is the case that professional bodies and groups bask in and share in the pride and joy when a member or colleague is appointed or elected to political office.
For instance, the members of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) hold in great pride, the appointment of their member Hon. Joe Ghartey as Minister of Railways. Same applies to Journalists, one of whom was elected Ghana FA President – Kurt Okraku.
This phenomenon of politicians being sports stakeholders is not new in the world. Perhaps the biggest example to date is ex-Liberia Captain George Weah who is now President of his country.
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi owned AC Milan from 1986 to 2017. Another is the owner of African football giants TP Mazembe, Mois Katumbi Chapwe, the businessman and politician, who was the Governor of the Katanga Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo from 2007 to 2015.
So the sports fraternity in Ghana looked forward to good news in the ruling New Patriotic Party’s parliamentary primaries at the weekend but unfortunately most of the persons were unsuccessful.
Hon OB. Amoah – Deputy Minister, MP and former Deputy Minister of Sport
He was the only bright spot during the polls, as he retained his Akuapem South seat after topping with 266 votes while his closest rival Kwame Ofori-Gyau polled 93 votes, with Eric Annor-Mensah trailing with 74.
His resume now reflects dedicated services in the fifth, sixth and seventh parliaments of Ghana’s fourth republic. The University of Ghana-trained lawyer served as Deputy Minister in charge of the sports sector, between 2005 and 2009. This was during a period when the ministry was an umbrella body for the education, youth and sports sectors.
He worked effectively with his sector ministers Yaw Osafo Marfo and Papa Owusu Ankomah to collaborate with the Ghana FA for the Black Stars’ first qualification to the FIFA World Cup in 2006.
He is remembered for his role in overseeing infrastructure establishment and upgrades for the execution of the Ghana 2008 Africa Cup of Nations, which has been rated as one of the most successful in the tournament’s history. In fact, the Chief Operating Officer, Rex Danquah, had to briefly consult for the next edition in Angola.
Hon OB Amoah’s legal background has come in handy in his work as a member of the Select Committee for Youth Sports and Culture. Over the years a lot of work has been done with the formulation of policy for the sector especially a law.
Hon. Kwadwo Baah – Marketer/ National Sports Authority Chairman
The Board Chairman of the National Sports Authority (NSA), had his intended return to parliament hit with controversy from the start. He had to be cleared by the party’s electoral body for what was termed ‘disrespect’ to the delegates. With that hurdle crossed, he ventured into full campaign mode. On the weekend of the elections however, he took a decision to pull out of the race because over what he termed some irregularities.
Some 140 delegates had their names expunged from the register and as a result, sought to place an injunction on the process. However, that was not effective as the election came off without hitches in the Asante Akyem North Constituency. The incumbent, Andy Appiah Kubi won with 501 votes while Hon. Baah secured one vote.
Hon Kwadwo Baah since leaving parliament in 2016 has been active in the sports sector and through private initiative established one of the biggest marathon events in the country.
He put together the heavily-publicized Asante Akyem Marathon which has now become a major event on the national sporting calendar with the winner earning a ticket to participate in the Dubai Marathon. The event is a major intervention which has had major implications for local tourism in the constituency.
Added to the Marathon, he has created other competitive platforms in other sporting disciplines in the constituency which could boost talent discovery amongst the youth of the area. Hon. Kwadwo Baah who was once a marketer at the Multimedia Group will continue to serve as Board Chair for the Sports Authority.
Vincent Sowah Odotei – Tech Businessman/ Football Administrator
He served as CEO of Accra Hearts of Oak for two years and moved on to politics in 2016, when he managed to defeat then incumbent Nii Amassah Namoale the same year to represent the people of the La Dadekotopon Constituency in Parliament.
Before that he had contested against former Ghana FA President Kwasi Nyatakyi in the football body’s elections and was unsuccessful in unseating him. Prior to outdooring himself in partisan politics, he used his company Valex Lease Equip to sponsor sports competitions, especially volleyball and also established a football team.
The loss in the constituency primaries, came about two months after President Akufo-Addo terminated his appointment as Deputy Minister for Communications.
The former board Member of Accra Hearts of Oak had 376 votes, which were inadequate in the bid to secure another ticket to lead the party in his constituency a second time. Joseph Geral Tetteh Nanyofio’s 543 votes proved the road block.
Kojo Frempong – Consultant/former Broadcaster Sport
He was a delight to watch and listen to during his days as a sports broadcaster on television and radio. He was the host of the Joy Sports Center on Joy FM on weekdays and Sports Station on TV3 on Monday evenings.
During the period, he also established and published the weekly All Sports newspaper, which usually hit the newsstands biweekly. His energy, verve and depth and exciting persona always drew his viewers and listeners close. While doing all these, he also worked on many sports and non-sports marketing communications campaigns for some big brands.
His brand being a multi-faceted one, also helped him host programmes of varied genres like lifestyle (Boys Boys on Viasat 1 TV) and current affairs (Ghana tonight on TV Africa, where he also served as Chief Operating Officer).
Years on, Kojo Frempong explored his diversity in resources and pursued a Master’s Programme in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of government at Havard University. This was after serving as a consultant to the Minister for Business Development, Alhaji Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal.
This being his first attempt at the primaries Kojo Frempong was relatively impressive with a total of 148 votes which landed him in third place behind Albert Ameyaw (167 votes) and the incumbent Prof Gyan Baffour who pulled 172 votes.
Hon. Alex Agyekum – Chairman Parliamentary Committee for Youth Sports and Culture
He lost as an incumbent and will round up his service as Chairman of the Committee for Youth, Sports and Culture Committee ahead of the December 2020 general elections. He sat at the helm of key policy decisions as the legislative level for the sports sector since starting his work in January 2017.
His leadership was key during the crisis period in Ghana football following revelations made in Anas Aremeyaw Anas’s Number 12 documentary. His committee was key in liaising between the FA’S representative at the time coach Oti Akenten and the government until the Dr Kofi Amoah-led Normalization Committee was formed by FIFA to oversee football administration.
In recent times, Hon. Agyekum has been doing a lot of advocacy for the sports sector to be included in the stimulus packages announced by the government to cushion various sectors of the economy from the ripple effects of COVID 19.
The outgoing MP for the Mpohor Constituency also previously urged football clubs to accept pay cuts as an internal measure to keep them afloat while they look forward to support from the government.
Hon Agyekum, a product of the University of Cape Coast, polled 100 votes while John Kobina Amoah Sannie polled 192 votes to pick the Mpohor slot to represent the party in Ghana’s general elections.
It may be early days yet to figure out what the next move will be for each of these sports sector stakeholders on the political front, but one can only wish them well.