09
Fri, Dec

Samuel Nuamah Donkor puts challenges behind him to excel

He walked for three miles all alone from his home at Saaman to the examination centre at the Osino Presbyterian School the day he had to write his Common Entrance Examination.

Obviously, that 12-year-old child was full of nerves, especially when he was writing the examination out of turn — he had been selected to join his seniors to write the examination because he was brilliant.

Interestingly, when the results were released, that little boy who was so determined to make a mark, in spite of his circumstances, was the only student who passed the examination in his school that year.

That little boy, now Mr Samuel Nuamah Donkor, the Managing Director of the State Transport Company (STC), unfortunately, was not able to start his secondary education that year because he had to be relocated to another town.

That notwithstanding, Young Samuel was not down-hearted but continued to study very hard to ensure that when he had another opportunity at that examination, his performance was spectacular.

When he wrote the examination again, he gained admission to the Pope John Secondary School.

Though he faced financial difficulties during his secondary school days, Samuel braved the odds to complete school.

He decided to enter politics after sixth form, as the lot fell on him, during the 1981 Revolution, as secretary of a team selected to explain the aims of the revolution to the citizenry.

That responsibility marked the beginning of his political career. His commitment and dedication to work assigned him during that period earned him various positions in government when the country returned to constitutional rule under the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

He became a Member of Parliament (MP) for New Juaben North, a Deputy Minister of Health and later the substantive Minister, as well as the Ashanti Regional Minister.

Mr Nuamah Donkor, in a chat with the Junior Graphic about his childhood, said he was born into a very large family. He was the fourth child of his mum's eight children, while his dad had 32 children.

Young Samuel started school at the Asokore Methodist Primary School in Koforidua in the Eastern Region.

When he was in Form Two, his mother took him to stay with a priest at Saaman, also in the Eastern Region, where he continued his education.

At the end of his first term in the new school, he surprised everyone in the class when he placed first, displacing the girl who had maintained that position since Class Two.

It was while in that school that he was selected to write the Common Entrance Examination with his seniors but when he asked the one in charge of the household permission to leave early for school that fateful day, that person refused, which caused him to walk several miles to the examination, centre as the rest of the candidates had already left.

When his mum visited him and saw the condition in which he lived, she decided to take him back to Ayirebi, where the rest of his family lived.

That was the reason he could not go to secondary school that year, although he had passed.

He, therefore, continued to Form Four at the Ayirebi L/A Middle School.

"A teacher, Mr Yankson, who had been newly transferred to the school saw my potential and encouraged me and three others to make sure we always stayed on top of the class by getting more than the average marks in our exercises and tests, and we took his advice seriously," he recalled.

That hard work paid off when Samuel wrote the examination again and gained admission to the Ofori Panin Secondary School at Kukurantumi.

Unfortunately, his parents could not afford the boarding fee of 18 cedis, although his performance earned him a government scholarship.

Bent on going to secondary school that time, he went to seek admission at Pope John where he could enrol as a day student.

Fortunately for him, when the headmaster saw his results, he personally went to Ofori Panin to collect Samuel’s form and enrolled him at Pope John.

When he got to second term, he went to the boarding house, despite all the tussle he had to go through.

He had to contend with using his mother's trunk and because she could not afford a decent material for a pair of shorts and a shirt for him, she bought him one made from calico.

Mr Nuamah Donkor said whenever he wore the shorts and shirt, it exposed his underwear, which made him uncomfortable. But he had no choice and so he ignored his feelings.

His enterprising nature came to the fore while in school, as he established the Red Cross Society in the school which gave him the opportunity to accompany the sports team to competitions as the school nurse.

Academic work, he said, was very competitive in secondary school because most of the students were good. Consequently, Young Samuel redoubled his efforts to continue to perform well.

He had his sixth form course at the Koforidua Secondary Technical School (SECTECH).

While in sixth form, there was a religious programme at school during which a prophecy came through that he would not go to medical school as he wished but would be placed in a position to take care of doctors one day.

Being so young at that time, he didn't know what to do.

Young Samuel suffered another setback in life when the school's "A” level results were withheld by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) for a long time.

That was the final blow which saw Young Samuel's life-long dream of becoming a medical doctor eventually fizzle out.

"It was after many years when I became the Minister of Health that I recalled the prophecy which l was told so many years ago while l was a student that l understood what God had in store for me," he said.

Later, Young Samuel went to Cuba to pursue a degree in Political Science.

Mr Nuamah Donkor is married to Mrs Irene Nuamah Donkor and they have five children.