President-elect Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo yesterday made public his first batch of appointees to run his office as president when he takes over the reins of government from Saturday, January 7.
That was moments after outgoing President John Dramani Mahama took him on a tour of the Flagstaff House, the seat of government, where he would be operating from after he has been sworn in.
Key on the list of those who got mentioned were former Deputy Minister of Manpower Development, Youth and Employment under the erstwhile Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration, Akosua Frema Osei Opare; Nana Asante Bediatuo, a private legal practitioner; former Interior Minister, Albert Kan Dapaah; Samuel Abdulai Jinapor and Francis Asenso-Boakye – the man who served as his political assistant during the electioneering campaign.
The rest are his long-standing comrade, Victor Newman; Saratu Atta – who has served as his personal secretary for the past eight years; Brigadier General Emmanuel Okyere, former General Officer Commanding the Southern Command of the Ghana Army; Joshua Kyeremeh, former Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) boss and Napaga Tia Sulemana.
However, the appointments have generated furore with some questioning the credentials of some of the appointees.
High on the cards was that of Chief of Staff which went to Frema Osei-Opare, with Francis Asenso-Boakye and Samuel Abdulai Jinapor serving as her deputies.
Frema-Opare, 69, is said to be a development consultant and a labour and employment expert, with 40 years of experience in these fields.
She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Science from the University of Ghana and a Master’s degree in Foods from the University of Guelph, Canada.
She was a lecturer at the University of Ghana, Legon, from 1976-1982; Consultant for the United Nations in the ‘Women in Fisheries’ programme in countries such as Uganda, Ethiopia, Congo, Kenya and Namibia before dabbling in politics.
She was also a Deputy Minister for Manpower, Youth and Employment from 2005 to 2008, and became a two-term Member of Parliament (MP) for Ayawaso West Wuogon.
She is married with four children.
Deputy Chief of Staff
Until his appointment as Deputy Chief of Staff, Francis Asenso-Boakye, 39, was the Political Assistant to the president-elect.
He holds a BSc. degree in Development Planning from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration from the Michigan State University and a Certificate in Public Sector Management from Tulane University, Louisiana, USA.
He is a development planning, project management and policy specialist, with over 15 years of professional experience in his field.
He is married with three children.
His colleague Deputy Chief of Staff, Samuel Abu Jinapor, whose appointment generated some furore ahead of its announcement, is 33 and legal practitioner.
He first graduated from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics.
He obtained a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Ghana in 2010, and was subsequently called to the Bar as a Solicitor and Barrister of the Supreme Court of Ghana in 2012.
He is married with a child.
Secretary To The President
Fifty three-year-old lawyer Nana Asante Bediatuo, with over 20 years’ experience practising law, was named Secretary to the President.
He was educated in Ghana, the United Kingdom and the United States, where he obtained a Doctor of Law degree from the New York University of Law.
Chief Bed, as some of his friends call him, was called to the Bar in New York and Ghana.
He is married with four children.
National Security Coordinator
Even though speculations were rife that the president-elect was likely to appoint a certain Commissioner of Police to serve as the National Security Coordinator, he emerged yesterday with a fresh name – Joshua Kyeremeh – said to be a former Director of BNI.
A product of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Joshua Kyeremeh is said to have worked at the BNI for about 22 years, where he served at command levels in the Northern, Upper East, Ashanti and Greater Accra Regions.
He also served as head of the Investigations Unit of the Bureau and rose to become the Deputy Director and ultimately the Director from 2005 to 2009.
National Security Advisor
Nana Addo has also appointed Brigadier General Emmanuel Okyere, a military engineer with an Executive Master’s Degree in Governance and Leadership from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA).
He is also said to be a graduate of the Ghana Military Academy, touted with solid military background, having done almost 40 years of distinguished service with the colours.
Brig. Gen. Okyere served in various capacities in both the military and local government and later served as the Metropolitan Chief Executive of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly from 1995 to 1996; and from 2006 to 2010, he was the General Officer Commanding the Southern Command of the Ghana Armed Forces.
National Security Minister
The president-elect also named former Interior Minister, Albert Kan Dapaah, as Minister-designate for National Security.
That would, however, have to go through parliament for approval.
Director Of Research
Nana has named one of his long-standing friends and 69-year-old, Victor Newman as Director of Research.
Newman is an economist, consultant, financial and research analyst with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agric Economics, and postgraduate qualifications in Development Planning and Budget and Financial Management.
He has worked at the Economic Research and Planning Services of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Western Castings Limited and the Ghanaexim Economic Consultants.
From 2008 till 2016, he has served as the Director of Research for the President-elect’s electioneering campaign.
He is married with four children.
Director Of State Protocol
The position of Director of State Protocol went to Ambassador Hassan Ahmed, a 62-year-old diplomat with a Master’s Degree from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service. He has been a career diplomat with Ghana’s Diplomatic Service for 34 years, having served in Saudi Arabia, Denmark, Cuba and Japan – where he was Deputy Chief of Mission.
He was Chief of Protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when Nana Akufo-Addo was Foreign Minister. His last posting took him to the Islamic Republic of Iran, where he served as Ghana’s Ambassador from 2008 to 2012.
In 2013, he took an appointment with the United Nations as the Head of Office for the United Nations – African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), Khartoum, Sudan – a position he still holds.
He is married with four children.
Director Of Communications
Nana has also announced his 33-year-old Press Secretary, Eugene Arhin, as Director of Communications at the presidency.
Eugene graduated from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Materials Engineering and worked as a Teaching Assistant in the Department of Materials Engineering for a year.
He later joined the Danquah Institute as a Research Analyst in 2008 and stayed on till February 2014 when he became Press Secretary to the president-elect.
He is married with one child.
Director Of Operations
That position of Director of Operations at the presidency went to former NPP National Organiser, Laud Commey.
Commey, 48, has been described as an accomplished entrepreneur and astute politician known for his tactical, operational and organisational acumen.
He was National Organiser of the NPP for eight years.
Prior to that, he served as the Greater Accra Regional Secretary of the party and became the Director of Operations for the party’s presidential campaign in 2012, and in 2016 worked in the office of the president-elect as the officer responsible for Monitoring and Compliance.
Laud is married with three children.
Nana Akufo-Addo could not but appoint the woman he credits for managing his life and schedules for the last couple of years, 53-year-old Saratu Atta, as his Personal Assistant.
She is a graduate of the University of Warwick, UK, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics and International Studies.
Saratu worked as a Securities Trader at First Securities Discount House in Lagos, Nigeria, from 1993 -1997, and then went on to establish her own security printing company in Lagos.
She was appointed NPP Campaign Secretary in 2008, and has been Office Manager and Executive Assistant to Nana since 2009.
She has one child.
Thirty-year-old Napaga Tia Sulemana, one of his campaign aides, was also named Presidential staffer.
She is a graduate of the University for Development Studies, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Integrated Development studies, specialising in social, political and historical studies.
Napaga worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a year and has also worked on contract with the Ghana Health Service and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on maternal health issues. She was a campaign aide to the president-elect prior to last December’s polls.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu