Profile: Asiedu Nketia ; Astute politician

BY: Abdul Aziz
 Mr Asiedu Nketia

When the 31st December Revolution was launched, he organised the youth to form the first Peoples’ Defense Committee in the Seikwa zone of the Brong Ahafo Region to continue the agenda of selfless service to the community.

On one occasion, he was nearly shot when he mobilised the youth to confront cocoa smugglers who were colluding with the security agencies.

This is the story of Johnson Kwadwo Asiedu Nketia,  who is seeking to retain his post as General Secretary of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).  He is being challenged by Ishaq Farrakan.

Born on December 24, 1956 at Seikwa, Mr Asiedu Nketia, alias ‘’ General Mosquito,’’ started his political career when he was elected to represent Seikwa at the first Wenchi District Assembly in 1989.


He used his  position as an assemblyman to mobilise his people to undertake some ambitious development programmes ever seen in the Seikwa area —the Nkoranman Secondary School project, Seikwa Health Centre, Seikwa and Dagadu Maize Markets projects, and the Extension of Seikwa Palace, among others.

When Ghana decided to change to constitutional rule, Asiedu Nketia was elected to the Consultative Assembly which drafted the 1992 Constitution and his performance at the assembly earned him the accolade “Heavy Weight”.

Upon his election to the Consultative Assembly, he resigned his position as Bank Manager and was almost immediately engaged as an Investment Analyst by the National Trust Holding Company Ltd.(NTHC).

Here too, he had to combine his duties at the assembly with a Stock Brokerage Investment Analysis course at the Ghana Stock Exchange on a part-time basis. Upon graduation, Asiedu Nketia was adjudged the best student not only for his class but also for the whole period since the course was established.

Mr  Asiedu Nketia became the target of other emerging stock-brokerage companies who were proposing mouth-watering conditions as a means of poaching him from NTHC.

Parliamentary elections

As fate would have it, it was precisely at this time that the youth of the Wenchi West Constituency, after the promulgation of the 1992 Constitution, were mounting pressure on elders to again bring him back to contest the parliamentary elections.

Asiedu Nketia’s decision to yield to the call to serve his community for the third time, denying himself these great financial opportunities, came as a shock to the management of NTHC.

The fact that he was retained as Member of Parliament for 12 years and receiving an honour from Parliament speaks volumes of his performance.

 He served on several committees of Parliament, including Appointments Committee, Finance Committee, Public Accounts Committee, Chairman, Mines and Energy Committee, and  Minority spokesperson on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs .His achievements included the connection of Seikwa to the national grid; permanent structures of the Seikwa Market and lorry park complex; rehabilitation and extension of the Seikwa water supply system.

Deputy Minister

 From 1997 – 2001, he served as a Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture (Crops) and policies he  successfully implemented during his tenure included: Unified Agric Extension System; Decentralisation of MOFA; Youth in Agriculture; High Tech Cocoa maintenance; introduction of improved varieties of cassava, maize and rice.

 In 2004,  his decision not to seek re-election to Parliament with the intention of joining his wife in Canada seemed a perfect one as  his party,  the National Democratic Congress (NDC), lost the election that year.

Defeat

This defeat, the second in a row, resulted in deep divisions within the party  and  various factions  were formed which in turn led to a feeling of hopelessness among the rank and file of its members at the grass roots.

Matters were made worse by the intensive propaganda campaign of criminalisation allegedly waged by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government against NDC ministers aimed at destroying the party completely.

 It became very clear to political analysts that the only way to save the NDC was to have a leadership that could not only unite the various factions but also to courageously face up to the NPP intimidations.

It did not take long for Asiedu Nketia to be identified as one of the team members to do the job. Pressure from the rank and file started mounting on him to abandon his travel plans to take up the position of General Secretary of the NDC. At the party’s delegate congress held  at the Koforidua EREDEC Hotel, Mr Asiedu Nketia was elected General Secretary. 

General Secretary

In December 2005, he won by almost 80 per cent of the votes to become the third General Secretary of the NDC.

Under his leadership rose a re-invigorated NDC ready to match the NPP boot for boot in what was termed  as the “Mother of all Elections” in 2008. The result of the election was that Prof. Evans  Atta Mills of the NDC won it under the leadership of the Asiedu Nketia team.

 It is no wonder that in spite of public pronouncements by key power brokers within the NDC against his re-election, the delegates at the National Congress of the party held in Tamale in January 2010 delivered a 93 per cent vote in his favour to continue with the better Ghana Agenda of the ruling NDC. 

Honourable withdrawal

Unlike other 28  national executive positions that have been over-subscribed, the General Secretary’s position nearly went unopposed until the last minute before the close of nominations that one person, Mr Ishaq Farrakan, from a  remote constituency in the Ashanti Region, mustered the courage to contest him for the General Secretary position. 

This alone speaks volumes of the work of the incumbent General Secretary who, as the saying goes, “If you cannot fight him, withdraw and retreat honourably”.