He was undoubtedly the most interesting candidate in last year’s presidential election due to his sense of humour.
Hassan Ayariga, who was the presidential candidate of the People’s National Congress (PNC), is the youngest presidential candidate in Ghana’s history.
Mr Ayariga, who was born 40 years ago into the Nkrumah-Egala-Limann tradition, has never forgotten his political roots. He is the elder brother of Mr Mahama Ayariga, the immediate past Deputy Minister of Education and current Minister of information. His father, Mr Frank Abdulai Ayariga, was the first Member of Parliament for Bawku during the Third Republic.
He hails from a town called Tinsungo, which means a beautiful place, in Bawku in the Upper East Region.
“When I was growing up my mother used to call me Misnaaba Katali, meaning ‘a chief of love’. Interestingly, my dad’s pet name for me was Atuli, meaning ‘the turning baby’,” he recalled.
Mr Ayariga, who is a businessman and accountant, started his education in Bawku at age five but later moved to the Cambridge Preparatory School at Mamprobi, a suburb of Accra. He began his secondary education at the Barewa College in Zaria, Nigeria.
At the age of 19, he obtained his Ordinary Level certificate at the Ghana Secondary School in Tamale and later earned a degree in Administration at the Atlantic International University, USA.
He is currently pursuing a master’s degree programme in Management at the same university.
Mr Ayariga also holds a professional certificate from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).
After his national service, he left Ghana for Koln, Germany where he lived and worked with several companies, notably Waffenschidt Gmbh, a waste management and sanitation Services Company, during which his managerial skills and knack for accounting won him the opportunity to double as the managing director and accountant for the company.
“There, I made sure I helped people make a living by employing over 500 workers of African descent during my tenure,” he said.
As a businessman shuttling between Ghana and Germany, Mr Ayariga thought it wise to invest in his country, as a result of which he established many companies in Ghana, including Clean-Us Limited, a waste management company; Hallo Pizza and Restaurant and Hassan Ayariga & Co, a haulage and export company established in 1999.
Mr Ayariga lives in Accra with his wife, Anita Ayariga, a graphic designer and business woman, and they have five children — Aminu, Husna, Prince, Kayla and King.
His interest to become his party’s flag bearer started when he was first elected as the PNC Chairman for Europe. His says his deep=seated desire to see the youth prosper led him to position himself to effect some dramatic changes in the lives of the ordinary Ghanaian, hence his desire to contest the position of flag bearer of the PNC in 2011.
Story: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah