Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Neymar
Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar insists team trophies are more important to him than winning a first Ballon d'Or.

The Brazil international joined from Barcelona in a world-record €222million transfer last month, in a move that many considered to be motivated by a desire to escape the shadow of Lionel Messi and challenge for football's top individual prize.

Neymar's form for the Ligue 1 side has certainly added weight to any hopes of winning the award, the 25-year-old having taken his tally to five goals and five assists in as many games after inspiring PSG to a 5-0 thrashing of Celtic on Tuesday.

However, the former Santos man says his focus is on helping the team to enjoy success, rather than claiming individual accolades.

"Of course a football player wants to win the Ballon d'Or," he said after the Champions League win in Glasgow. "But I don't have to think about it. I have to think about what's better for our group, our club.

"This is a great team and, if we keep going like this, we have a big chance of doing it [winning the tournament].

"I'm very happy to start with a win. Of course, it's not only about getting goals, but that's the most important. That's what we came for. I'm very happy with this game," Neymar said .

Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe were also on target, with PSG's formidable front three showing signs of developing into a fearsome trident.

Neymar, however, says they are still getting used to playing alongside one another.

"They are two great players, " he said of Cavani and Mbappe, who signed from Monaco last month. "We are getting to know each other.

"Cavani is an extraordinary striker, Kylian is a guy who likes going ahead, going for the ball. We'll get to know each other more and more.

"It's easy when you play with intelligent players. We still don't have a full understanding between us: through a look, a movement, we're still missing a little understanding, but we'll get better step by step."

Neymar had something of a running spat with Celtic defender Anthony Ralston and the pair did not shake hands after the final whistle, but the 18-year-old says there was nothing serious behind the incident.

"I was just walking by and [Marco] Verratti was there as well, it was just a moment," he said. "He said what he said and I said something back and that was it.

"To be honest, I don't care about that side of things at the end, I don't want to dwell on that too much.

"I didn't fear him at all. I knew I was coming up against him. I went out and faced him head on.

"It was a good test for me to see where I am at, what level I am at. I am my biggest critic. I'll go analyse the game and see what I can do better."

Source: Opera Sports
Timothy Karikari
Head of Shared Services at Global Media Alliance Broadcast Limited and an Alumnus of University of Ghana, Legon, Timothy Karikari has advised students to deliberately develop attitudes desired by employers to succeed at the workplace or required for entrepreneurship.

Speaking at the University of Ghana mentorship session held over the weekend, Mr. Karikari admonished students to pursue their career goals with diligence, hard work, commitment and humility.

“These attitudes are for life and whether you are an employer or an employee, they are critical to your success and growth,” he said. Timothy Karikari  bemoaned the current reports of alleged corruption in the public and private sectors of the country and encouraged participants to uphold the good old values; honesty, loyalty and integrity.

He further stressed on the need for employers to focus on attitude in recruitment and ensuring that candidates with the right attitude are employed at all times because aptitude even though important, can be attained with the right supervision but a wrong attitude is difficult to correct.

He cited many examples of great talents and intelligent individuals especially in media, entertainment and sports who failed in the long term because of the lack of acceptable attitudes.

The mentorship seminar is an annual event organized by the University of Ghana coordinating branch of the National Union of Presbyterian Students- Ghana (NUPS-G) to develop continuing students of the union.

This years’ edition was held on Saturday 9th September, 2017 with presentations on career development and mentorship. The second speaker of the seminar was Mr. Michael Okyere Asante; an Assistant Lecturer at the Philosophy and Classics Department of the University of Ghana.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Highlife musician, Kumi Guitar, says his quest to become a professional musician has cost him so many things, including the love of his life.

The ‘Break Into Two’ singer, known is in real life as Nana Yaw Kumi, is a taxi driver determined to combine both singing and commercial driving to earn a living.

Kumi Guitar shares his experiences with blogger Nii Ogbamey Tetteh.

When did you start singing?

I started singing from my secondary school days at Adisadel College in Cape Coast, between 2001 and 2003. During our first entertainment night, I noticed that everyone was doing his or her own thing, unlike in other schools where students imitated other musicians.

Everyone used to do their rap or sing their songs. On our first entertainment night in form one, I tried my first rap with a friend. It was successful, but I wasn’t so happy because someone wrote the rap for me. The next time, I wrote my rap, and it was successful.

Kumi Guitar
How was life after secondary school?

After secondary school, music became something I wanted to do. Even though I wanted to further my education after secondary school, things were not going well financially, so I had to drive a taxi to survive.

I was doing music alongside. Sometimes after work or before work, I went for my studio sessions. I started from Big F Studios and came to Sugar Tone Studio and other studios.

How many instruments do you play?

I play only the guitar for now.

Why did you choose the guitar?

I felt doing the highlife genre most of the time goes with the guitar. Besides, the guitar is easy to carry around, unlike some other instruments. I feel the guitar is also a magical instrument.

I also noticed that most Highlife artistes played the guitar more, even though they could play other instruments. The guitar also gives highlife a good rhythm, like the Amponsah rhythms among others.

Do you think highlife music has a future in Ghana?

In my opinion, highlife is the future. I feel highlife has been brought down by the other genres of music. It is vibrant and appealing. If there is a show somewhere and Amakye Dede should come around, you will see a lot of young guys getting up to dance together with the old people.

You can go to another show, and you will see a Hiplife artiste performing, but the old guys will sit and watch.

Most of the young guys are doing Hiplife now. We prefer Hiplife, Afro-pop and other genres. Highlife music is difficult to do because you need to learn. I feel that we don’t learn now.

The guitar is difficult to learn. How many young men will say I’m devoting my time to learn the guitar to enhance my highlife singing? We choose to go to the studio and let the engineer do everything, and then we sing and go away.

But if you have to go outside Ghana, and you can play an instrument and you also play your rhythm to tell where you are coming from, it shows who you are and where you are coming from.

What are some of the challenges you faced in music?

Coming this far has been a challenge. Sometimes I couldn’t pay my studio bills. There was a time my girlfriend, who I was with for more than four years, left me because I was doing music and no money, or nothing was happening. Sometimes I left for the studio and came back with no money.

Even though I was also doing this taxi thing, I had a dream for the music too. So she left me for a richer guy who could take her where she wanted to be in life. But my family has been great to me. They have all supported me. The challenges have been with my relationship and financing studio sessions.

Are you single?

No, I’m not.

How is your taxi business going?

It is not easy. My taxi broke down recently because I had an engine problem. So for a while now I haven’t been on the street.

How will you combine the fame and taxi business?

Personally, I’m working for Ghanaians and driving a taxi is also working for Ghanaians. Driving and singing are both services I’m rendering to Ghanaians. I would wish that I continue with the taxi job because it also brings in money. It is the same job that has fed me till now.

The only way I will be forced to stop driving a taxi is when my management tells me it is enough. But even with that I will make sure I get other taxis for people to drive for me.

What is new with Kumi Guitar?

I’m currently promoting my new single, titled ‘Scriptures’, which came out on Monday. I’m also working on my album. I have only 3 more songs to record.


PS: This article was written in August 16,  2014

Monday, July 10, 2017

Rebecca Asamoah
TWENTY-FIVE-year-old Ghanaian beauty queen, Rebecca Asamoah, was crowned first runner-up at the 2017 edition of Miss United Nations international pageant held in Kingston Jamaica over the weekend.

She beat several other contestants from different countries to come close to winning the ultimate crown which went to Olga Makhlevskaia from Russia.

Mexican queen, Irais Carbajal, also took the second runner-up position at the Saturday night event.

Rebecca Asamoah (left) on stage with other queens
It’s Rebecca’s third win in three years after she was earlier crowned Miss Ghana 2015 runner up and winner of Miss Africa Continent in South Africa.

She is the first Ghanaian queen to represent her country on the Miss United Nations stage.

Over 80 contestants from around the world took part in the Saturday pageant in Jamaica.

But Russia was adjudged winner at the end while Ghana and Mexico took the first and second runners-up positions respectively.

Miss United Nations is a humanitarian pageant which helps to better the lives of persons around the world. It identifies and showcases world’s best tourism cause ambassadors; those who have the skills, talents and personalities best suited to promote their respective countries in furtherance of tourism, international goodwill and cultural harmony.

Apart from a strong emphasis on goodwill tourism protection programmes and destinations promotion, the pageant also supports environmental protection via strategised programmes.

“I am compassionate not only for people with status and stature but for the underprivileged. I believe Miss United Nations pageant is to embark on humanitarian works to uplift women and to positively impart in the lives of people in our various societies and the world at large. I want to be a part of this family to contribute my quota in the world’s development,” the 25-year-old dental hygienist said about her decision to take part in the pageant ahead of the grand finale.

Rebecca remains one of Ghana’s successful queens.  She does not disappoint when she mounts the stage.  She is expected to return home on July 15.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Messi
Spain's public prosecutor has agreed to substitute Lionel Messi's suspended 21-month prison sentence for tax fraud with a fine.

The Barcelona superstar was given the jail term last July after being found guilty - alongside his father Jorge - of three counts of tax fraud.

It was ruled that Messi, between 2007 and 2009, defrauded Spain of €4.1million relating to earnings from image rights.

An appeal against the sentence was rejected by the Spanish Supreme Court in May.

However, Spanish news agency EFE reports that the public prosecutor has agreed to substitute the sentence for a fine of €255,000.

During the initial trial in 2016, Messi consistently denied any involvement, insisting his focus was only ever on playing football.

Source: Opera Sports

Friday, June 16, 2017

Microsoft launched the newest version of its Surface Pro 2-in-1 device today -- a convenient cross between a laptop PC and tablet. The new model comes in a 12.3-inch form factor that features a 2736 x 1824 resolution touchscreen display.

The latest iteration of the Surface Pro weighs in at just 1.69 pounds, making it attractive as a lightweight mobile device. Meanwhile, enterprises will likely appreciate the device's support for Windows Hello facial recognition sign-in feature, which should help increase security.

The new Surface Pro device also features the TPM security chip for enterprise-level security, and comes with a 5.0MP front-facing and a 8.0MP rear-facing camera. The Pro will be running a full-fledged version of the Windows operating system in the form of Windows Pro, rather than the stripped-down Windows S version Microsoft is shipping with the Surface Laptop.

More Attractive to Artists

Microsoft has upgraded the new model from Intel's Skylake architecture to Intel's more advanced Kaby Lake chip. The change is expected to improve battery life up to 50 percent, according to Microsoft's estimates. The new Surface Pro also offers accelerated 4K HEVC video decoding, and a new stylus with reduced latency and four times as many different pressure levels as its predecessor, plus new support for drawing at a tilted angle.

While the stylus used to come included with all but the cheapest Surface Pro models, users will now have to shell out extra for it, as the price of the stylus has increased to $100 from $60. For artists who plan to use the Surface Pro for drawing on the go, the pen might represent enough of an upgrade to justify the increased investment.

In fact, artists and other creative professionals seem to be the key demographic Microsoft is targeting with its latest set of upgrades. The company is also hyping the new model's improved kickstand, which allows the device to be propped up at more angles, making it more attractive as a drawing surface.

Up to 1 TB SSD

External accessories can be connected to the Surface Pro via a full-size USB 3.0 port. The line also features a microSD card reader and headset jack.

The fifth iteration of the Surface Pro comes in six different models. The entry-level edition will run you $799, is powered by Intel's Core m3 processor, and comes with 4 GB of RAM, and a 128 GB SSD hard drive. Moving up to $999 will get you an i5 processor, which you can bump up to 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD for $1,299.

The cheapest model running on an i7 processor starts at $1,599 and also comes with Intel's Iris integrated graphics processor for faster photo, video, and 3D workloads. For $2,199, users can bump up the specs to a 512 GB SSD and 16 GB of RAM. Meanwhile, the top-line model, which comes with a 1 TB SSD, will cost $2,699.

Source: Top Tech News
EL
Rapper E.L’s Mi Naa Bo Po is doubtlessly on of the biggest hits 2015 offered us. It won him VGMA Afropop Song of the Year in 2016, and catapulted him to the topmost prize on the night.

After a long wait, the rapper has finally released accompanying visuals for the record. It was shot on location in markets and on some streets in the capital by the renowned Phamous Philms.

Born Elom Adabla, the BBNZ frontman is prepping for the release of his third solo album. His recent singles include “Agbo”, “Abaa” among others.

Source: GABRIEL MYERS HANSEN /Enewsgh

Lionel Messi
Real Madrid midfielder Marco Asensio believes there is no room for even Lionel Messi at the European champions.

Asensio, 21, has been linked with a move away from the LaLiga giants, but is expected to sign a new deal with Madrid.

Several players from Zinedine Zidane's star-studded squad are linked with switches to get more game time, including James Rodriguez and Alvaro Morata.

But Asensio is happy with the Madrid squad as is, saying not even Barcelona and Argentina star Messi could be added.

"Not right now," he told Marca when asked if Messi would fit at Madrid.

"The squad is very good as it is. If we stay as we are, it's perfect."

Asensio made 23 league appearances for Madrid in 2016-17, scoring three goals.

Source: Opera Sports

Monday, June 5, 2017

A Victim of Mob Lynching

La Salem Park, Accra Ghana.  This is how it shamefully went down some years back;

Young Master Paul woke up one morning full of life. As usual he took his bath and prepared for school. When he was done, he wore his school shorts and a white singlet.

Master Paul was very close to his mother who was a trader and as such he would walk her to the lorry station - a routine that earned him some extra coins for school-.

"Ny3 Awo! when you are ready,please call me so I walk you to the lorry station. We have to continue the conversation from where we left off yesterday," Master Paul told his mum as he rushed to his room to put the Social Studies Textbook in his school bag.

In no time Master Paul's mother was done and ready to leave for work. She called for him "Paul its 5:45am. Hurry up and let's go else the queue will start bending left and right."

Master Paul and his mother setoff from the house and as usual they had their chat. "Ny3 Awo, something small for the boy? I want to buy plantain chips for snack at school today," he whispered to his mum as they approached the lorry station.

"This my son and his tricks. When you start talking like this, I know you want extra 1ghc from me to topup your 3ghc daily feeding money. If you think you are grown, we are ancient. Anyways you brighten up my morning everyday by walking me to the station and I appreciate you for that," his mother said as she reached out for the 1ghc coin from her bag and gave it to him. He put the coin in his left hand.

When they got to the lorry station, Paul help his mother get on the trotro, stood next to her window and continue their chat till the trotro was full and ready to move. He waved at her as the car moved towards the main road.

Halfway through his journey back home to pick up his school bag, shirt and leave for school, he heard a loud shout "hoo jul) oo". Before he could say 'jack', a lot of people had surrounded him and were beating him.

" Foolish boy. Small boy like you, you have started stealing," a man from the crowd said as he struck Master Paul with a Crowbar. Another landed a heavy punch,a slap and a kick to his ribs as he fell to the ground.

"What has he done? Leave the boy alone he is not a thief. I know him. I just saw him with his mother at the lorry station," a man from the lorry station yelled.

He fought his way through the mob as they continued to lynch Master Paul and managed to stop them. Master Paul was not moving, he had no pulse as well.

"What have you lot done? You have killed someone's innocent son.he didn't steal anything. I saw his mother give him 1ghc coin," pointing to Paul's left hand which he had made into a fist. He managed to open the fist and yelled with tears in his eyes "He still had the 1ghc coin in his hand as you people were beating him.what did he steal? What did he ever do to you? Are you happy now? You have killed him."

He carried the lifeless body of Master Paul, stopped a taxi, put the body in it drove off.

PS: This happened to Master Paul at La Salem Park in Greater Accra- if not in the same order that I described it- some years back. A mother lost a son and a nation lost a promising adult because of mob action. Say No to Mob lynching. Instant justice is not a good thing.

By Nii Ogbamey Tetteh

Friday, June 2, 2017

Praveen Sadalage
Busy has launched the second phase of its e-learning and social portal, JUMP.

Branded JUMP Academy, the addition to the already exciting online educational portal sees the inclusion of audio-visual materials covering various academic and professional courses put together by experienced professionals and lecturers tailored to the local curriculum.

JUMP Academy has been added to the Education category of the portal www.jump.com.gh .
Praveen Sadalage, Chief Executive Officer of Busy addressing the guests at the launch; held at the University of Professional Studies, Legon said “The JUMP Academy initiative seeks to provide students and other young professionals with the requisite courses and practical case studies through high quality recorded videos and lecture notes from experienced lecturers from University of Professional Studies (UPS) and Regent University.”

According to Mr. Sadalage, in pursuance of Busy’s vision to become the Next Generation Operator, “we are determined to accompany and empower the Ghanaian youth on their journey to acquire knowledge and to contribute to their education using information and communication technology.

JUMP Academy is easy and free to access and has no restrictions on the profiles of those who can access it. We ensure a constant updating and enrichment of the contents to allow the youth get the best out of the platform”.

He added; “We are excited to demonstrate Busy’s commitment to bridging the digital divide in education through the launch of the JUMP Academy.

The primary aim of this initiative is to align education to current trends in the ICT space, thereby complementing government’s efforts to digitise learning. Through partnerships and the numerous educational resources on the platform, we hope to fast-track education into the digital age.”

Youth Programme Manager at Busy, Joyce Danso said “a key pillar in Busy’s regional strategy is a focus on the youth segment – individuals aged 25 and under which make up 60-70% of the population.

“We find this group as an impressive pool of talent with immense capacity waiting to be developed.  Therefore, one of our main objectives is to drive the education agenda in Ghana, in line with our strategy to empower the youths”, she said.

Joyce Danso added that despite the growing access to e-learning portals, there is the demand for more.  Busy’s JUMP Academy e-learning portal is however unique in the sense that, this portal has been created with the Ghanaian student and students resident in Ghana in mind.

The educational content, lectures and case studies are based on examples we know in Ghana and can easily relate to”.

As part of the initial launch, the Academy will provide free introductory content in Information Technology (IT), French, Finance and Accounting with plans to add more courses.

“We understand that young people have the zeal and passion to learn to develop themselves in an easier and convenient way. JUMP academy therefore comes in timely to solve the challenges of traditional modes of learning and to support both regular and distance education. We are excited about the prospects of this new initiave of Busy and will call on all students to take advantage to develop themselves”, Ms Danso said.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Praveen Sadalage
4G operator Busy, has in line with its strategy to focus on empowering the youth and entrepreneurs, has organized the maiden edition of its monthly discussion series intended to focus on topical issues that will directly contribute to the growth of the SME sector.

Dubbed ‘Busy Network Series’, the first edition focused on SME driven policies and initiatives being rolled out by government, fund management, funding opportunities and how SMEs can take advantage of them.

Addressing a gathering of a cross section of SMEs at its flagship shop in Accra, Chief Executive Officer of Busy, Praveen Sadalage said Busy has always championed the course of startups and small businesses.

“From the days when we had a mixed-use facility setup where entrepreneurs without offices or formal addresses could come work out of our offices and take advantage of our business support services; we are looking to scale up our support for the SME market by further creating platforms and providing solutions that will empower them to grow their businesses”, he said, adding that the Busy Network Series will create opportunities for first hand interactions between entrepreneurs, policy makers and other relevant industry players on topics that will ultimately drive the growth of SME’s within our economy.

Mr. Sadalege added that having identified the SME market as a major growth driver of the economy; in terms of creating employment, revenue generation for government and wealth creation, it is imperative that purpose-driven Ghanaian brands like Busy see it as a responsibility to create platforms and offer support services that will support the growth of this industry.

The Director of Investments at the Ghana Investment Promotion Center, Edward Ashong- Lartey re-emphasized the importance of SMEs to Ghana's transformation and growth of the economy. He said SMEs account for 25% of revenue of banks operating in Ghana.

He noted that due to government’s resolve to drive growth within the SME sector, it is rolling out several initiatives to support the sector. He mentioned that government is repositioning the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) which has been set up for SMEs and MASCLOC to support the rapid growth of the sector. He also outlined the numerous support services that the GIPC provides and advised that SMEs take advantage of these services.

Speaking on funding opportunities and fund management for SMEs, Dominic Donkoh, Head of Business and Retail Banking at OMNI Bank reminded the gathering of funding opportunities available on the market, adding that SMEs must commit to proper book keeping and take advantage of the numerous support services available to implement best financial practices within their businesses since this was key amongst other factors to accessing funding.

The Busy Network Series will come off every month and will focus on different sectors of business and topics that have direct impact on the growth of the SMEs in Ghana.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Do you ever wonder what it takes to acquire that perfect gentleman or lady look?

Looking successful and refined doesn’t take a day to master. It is a process, and definitely requires a lot of time, effort and investment.

But with these ten tips, you will surely earn a good start in the race. Not everyone has the same keen business sense like R. Yofi Grant has been blessed with, but we can all look like he does!

Tips

1. Buy a suit. It doesn’t have to break the bank, just a perfect fit and preferably a dark one. Remember to remove the tag on the sleeve. Pair it with a plain shirt, a patterned tie and cufflinks that aren’t flashy.

2. Every detail counts; select a good phone that will enable you to do a lot. Pay attention to the phone case and your ring tone.

3. Try to get a leather watch that looks good and matches your suit. If you are meeting someone and cannot be on time, just be early. Corporate executives are never late.

4. Buy a pair of good shoes that matches your suit, and care for it well.

5. Get rid of the backpack and buy yourself a briefcase or an elegant men’s bag, it conveys importance and a busy schedule.

6. Perfect grooming isn’t a leisure activity. Manicure, facial hair grooming, dental care, the whole nine yards adds to your personal brand. So start today.

7. Smile, but not as if you are hiding something. Walk in a determined manner, not fast but not slow. Walk as if you know where you are heading.

8. If you really want to look complete, get yourself a nice car that you can leverage on its brand, like a Mercedes or BMW. This isn’t necessary, though.

9. Speak with Confidence but don’t be overbearing. In a conversation, if you do not know an answer to a question, do not pretend to know. Just state confidently, “I do not know, but I will find out for you.” OpulenceConsult offers vocal branding sessions to create the vocal sound to compliment your personal brand.

10. Finally, when all is said and done, you want to be seen at the right places and with the right company. ‘You are the average of the five people you spend the most of the time with’ _ Jim Rohn.
The Style Strategist

Source : OpulenceConsult
Yolanda Cuba
Chief Executive of Vodafone Ghana, Yolanda Cuba, on Wednesday, demonstrated great leadership and commitment when she took to the company’s Twitter handle to respond to queries and questions from its numerous followers.

It was a rare opportunity for customers to have an up-close-and-personal interaction with the CEO and the queries came trickling in thick and fast. In a 2-hour session that brought Twitter to a standstill, the engagement under the hashtag - #AskYolanda – became the number 1 trending topic in Ghana between 1pm – 3pm that day.

She had her hands full as subscribers and followers piled on a whole range of questions including product challenges, customer service and network quality, her career experiences, 4G spectrum acquisition and the like. The session was not without its humorous aspect as some subscribers wanted freebies for the number of retweets they made as well as requests for lunch dates.

Yolanda has been very active in responding to customer queries on Twitter for a while now; however, Wednesday’s engagement was very comprehensive and lasted for two hours.
The company believes that the engagement will help drive and enhance customer experience on the network.

Commenting afterwards, Yolanda Cuba said:

“For Vodafone, we understand deeply that the sole reason why we exist is to serve our customers. How we serve them and are responsive to their needs are paramount. Today was an extension of what we do every day – keeping customers confidently connected.”

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

(L-R): Council Member (Engineer), Mr. Aly Mar Ndiaye, ECOWAS Commissioner for Energy and Mines, Dr. Morlaye Bangoura, ECOWAS Director of Hunan Resources (Operations), Mrs. Amelie Kone, ERERA Chairman, Professor Honoré Bogler and Council Member (Economist), Dr. Haliru Dikko at the reception on Friday, 5th May 2017 in Accra.
The Chairman of ERERA, Professor Honoré Bogler, has expressed renewed confidence that the launch of the first phase of the ECOWAS electricity market will go on as rescheduled, especially with the appointment of two Regulatory Council Members to join in the decision-making process of the institution.

The launch of the regional power market has been postponed twice partly because some documents critical to the operations of the market were yet to be approved by the ERERA Regulatory Council, following the vacancy created after the end of tenure of the last Regulatory Council in April 2016.

With the assumption of duty of the two Council Members on 4th May 2017, Professor Bogler was hopeful of “a good and united Regulatory Council, which is dedicated to achieving the objectives of ERERA, and thus working towards the realization of the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Market and the economic and social well-being of the people of West Africa”.

Professor Bogler was speaking on Thursday, 4th May 2017 at the welcome reception of the two ERERA Regulatory Council Members who assumed duty in Accra.

They are Dr. Haliru Dikko from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and Mr. Aly Mar Ndiaye, from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Senegal and formerly of the Electricity Regulatory Commission (CRSE) of Senegal.  

The Chairman also enumerated the challenges encountered when he assumed office in April last year. This included absence of other Members of the Council, a permanent headquarters for ERERA, staff shortage and inadequate financing of the institution.

He lauded ERERA staff who he described as very dedicated, hardworking and exhibiting great team spirit in the discharge of their responsibilities, in spite of the challenges.

Professor Bogler expressed gratitude to the managing authorities of the ECOWAS Commission, especially the President of the Commission, Mr. Marcel Alain de Souza, for their continuous support to ERERA. He also expressed the hope of a rapid resolution of the challenges, especially with the arrival of the two Council Members whose delayed appointments, he said, greatly affected the outcome of ERERA’s work.  

Also at the reception were the ECOWAS Commissioner for Energy and Mines, Dr. Morlaye Bangoura, the Director of Human Resources (Operations), Mrs. Amelie Kone who represented the ECOWAS Commissioner for Human Resources, Mr. Joao Silva Monteiro, as well as ERERA staff members.

Commissioner Bangoura highlighted the expectations of the President of the ECOWAS Commission in line with the importance of the power sector for the regional economy.

He then expressed optimism that the new Council Members would contribute meaningfully to ERERA’s achievements, considering that they had been involved in the institution’s activities as experts from their countries.

Describing the tasks before them as huge, the Commissioner urged the Council Members to build on the sacrifices of their predecessors and help attract investments to the regional power market through a successful launch of the market, among others.

Speaking on the strategic importance of ERERA to the ECOWAS Commission, the Director of Human Resources (Operations) of the ECOWAS Commission noted that ERERA is the only technical arm of ECOWAS with a Regulatory Council.

She expressed the hope that ERERA’s success would open the way for the establishment of other regulatory bodies in the different sectors of the economy of West Africa.
 
In their separate responses, Dr. Dikko who is an economist and his engineer counterpart, Mr. Ndiaye, stated that they were aware of the expectations of the West African citizenry, and thus pledged their dedication to ERERA and the ECOWAS Community.

More specifically, they pledged to help bring solutions to the many power challenges in the region, primarily ensuring a reliable, efficient and least available cost of electricity that is accessible to all citizens of the Community.

Looking forward to working with a balanced team of professionals, both Council Members promised to operate an “open door” policy as well as ensure excellent staff welfare and capacity development.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Vision DJ
Vision DJ and DJ Mic Smith of the YFM family over the weekend won two prestigious awards at the Rush Ghana DJ Awards.

Vision DJ was adjudged Best DJ / Artist Collaboration of the Year and DJ Song of the Year with his ‘Grind’ hit song, featuring A.I while DJ Mic Smith won the Best Night Club DJ.

 The ‘Grind‘ hit song off the #BlowChicken album was the third single of Vision DJ and it featured fast rising act AYISI ICAN (A.I) while Kuvie handled production.

DJ Mic Smith
DJ Mic Smith on the other hand currently holds 4 awards and 6 nominations; 2 awards with 4syte TV for DJ of the year, The Redbull club DJ of the year award and Best Mixtape DJ in previous Ghana DJ Awards.

Commenting on the awards, Ms Naa, General Manager of YFM, commended Vision DJ and DJ Mic Smith for winning the award and urged them to continue with the hard work.

“ We are very excited about this award and very proud of the fact that members of the YFM family have been recognized in such a big manner. We share in their happiness and wish them both all the best in their careers,” Ms Naa stated.

DJ Advicer
Happy FM’s Radio Presenter, DJ Advicer, has been adjudged the best Music Promoter for the year 2017 at the just ended Rush Ghana DJ Awards

DJ Advicer, who is known in real life as Isaac De-Graft Danquah, beat the likes of Jerry Justice, Kwame B and DJ Phletch among others to emerge winner in the Best Music Promoter of the Year category.

The Rush Ghana DJ Awards, which took place over the weekend at the Silver Star Tower is an annual event which seeks to reward DJs who have remarkably entertained people and played a major role in music promotion in the year under review.

This is the second time the award winning DJ Advicer has won Best Music Promoter of the Year after winning the same award in the 3rd edition of the event.  He has previously won numerous awards including Highlife DJ and Music DJ of the Year at the Ghana DJ Awards.

According to Kwesi Sarpong, Programs Manager at Happy FM, DJ Advicer’s hard work throughout the years is yielding results with the various awards he has been winning.

“Happy FM is a brand that pushes its staff to be the best in whatever they do. This is just the beginning of great things to come.  We encourage DJ Advicer and other staff to continue with the hardwork,” Mr Sarpong stated.

DJ Advicer is the host of Happy FM’s ‘Ayekoo’ Drive, a show which runs every weekday from 2-4 pm. The show has undoubtedly endeared itself to listeners with ingenious tracks selection and making hits out of songs, which hitherto weren’t heavily patronized by music lovers.

Monday, May 8, 2017

On the eighth day after the birth while the moon was yet to evanesce, kinsmen thronged the now famed compound to witness the miracle baby. It was a replica of a shanty town; unplanned cluttered dwellings with very good asphalted roads flanked by open drains.

"Did you find it easy to get here. Here, taste this." I was greeted at the wooden gate by my fiancee, Dede, offering a calabash of fresh, hot, dark corn wine she had fetched from the cauldron sitting on flaming logs, yet to boil fully.

"Oh yes," I slurped a little. "I told the driver I was headed for Asere in Ga Mashi...Lante..."
"Lante Djan We" , we synchronized. "Yes, yes!"

By now kinsmen and friends, all clad in traditional white had carved a crescent seating formation, leaving the middle of the compound bare, where I noticed a ring of ash. I took a seat.

"That's my Uncle Kwei Mensah and his wife, Ny3kw3 Kai", Dede nodded. They were old and grey; I could say almost or a little past three-score.

"It's indeed a marvel", Dede explained. "She has been childless for decades, and my grandmother has given her no rest at all."

"Your grandmother has patience the size of my baby finger", one lady behind us interrupted our conversation, unwelcomed. I could detect an ample doze of tartness in her voice. She sounded salty.

"I know, Ny3kw3 Amateokor. Let's not ruin today", Dede, skinning her teeth, was not one to take offense at a first jab.

A towering old woman came hobbling across the compound clutching a baby wrapped in a piece of white calico safely to her bosom. The rite was set in motion.

The moon was still blessing us with good light. She commanded much respect, for everybody either rose to bow or wave at her as she lurched into the ring of ash and rid the baby of its cloth.

She held the baby up towards the moon and chanted, "We present this infant to the Supreme Being", then laid the baby down in the circle of ash, repeating the process twice.

"Oh it's beautiful...it's lovely. Our ears will rest henceforth". Ny3kw3 Amateokor was still casting vengeful subliminals, this time echoing it across the entire compound.

A bowl of water, signifying rain was thrown unto the aluminum roofing sheet and allowed to dribble on the baby. Next, the aged woman gently tapped the back of the baby and repeated, "Never lie, steal or cheat. Take after me."

I stared at Dede. "She is held widely as the eldest kinsman of good repute," she explained. I nodded.
"This is water, and this is wine. Know the difference." I saw the baby suckle on the old woman's finger as both corn wine and water were put in her mouth.

"Henceforth, you shall be called Lamile...Lamile Amoaben-ajaaku."
The uproar which erupted was thundering.

I followed as the kinsman handed the baby over to her mother, slapped the cork of a bottle of schnapp and offered libation on behalf of the infant.

"Agoo Ataamei ke Awomei.“Tswa Tswa Tswa omanye abla'o Tswa Tswa omanye abla'o. Tswa omanye aba, Osoro (Osu) Ahatiri, Obu Ahatiri, Oboro dutu wokpe, Wodsebu wodse nu, Wo ye wo nu wo kodsii adso wo, Gboni bale etse yi ana wala, Enye yi ana wala, Esee tuu, Ehee fann, Eyi aba gbodsen, Ese aba halaann, Wekumei wona faa ni wo fa le, Eba tsu eha wo ni woye, Eko atasi ni eko aba, Ganyo humile koyo tsua dani owieo, Tsua Tsua Tsua manye aba,”
"Hiao!", the guests said Amen to that!

After the neighbours had chucked down enough meat and emptied the cauldron of its corn wine, and everybody was dancing to the E.T Mensah's "Abele", I noticed Ny3kw3 Amateokor had locked Dede's grandmother in a seemingly fond embrace, both swaying to good hi-life music.

"Look at them," Dede sniggered. "This baby has made brothers of Nanumba and Konkomba."

By Michael Nii Moi Thompson

About Writer : Michael Nii Moi Thompson is a US-based Ghanaian poet/ writer of fiction. His debut book of short stories Tooli Bibii, is scheduled for release soon.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Ronald and Messi
Barcelona great Xavi praised the "spectacular" Cristiano Ronaldo, but said the Real Madrid star's problem was how good Lionel Messi is.

Ronaldo and Barca maestro Messi are regularly compared and always in the discussion over the greatest players of all-time.

Xavi, a former team-mate of Messi's at Camp Nou, said Ronaldo deserved credit, but feels the Portuguese attacker is behind the Argentinian.

"Cristiano Ronaldo is a born scorer, a spectacular footballer," he told A Bola TV.

"The problem is that there is Messi, who for me is the best player in history.

"That is the only problem that Cristiano Ronaldo has, but he is a player who scores and continues to mark an era."

Ronaldo's Madrid are in Champions League action on Tuesday, hosting rivals Atletico in the first leg of their semi-final.

Source: Opera Sports
Happy FM and UT Bank are spearheading the donation of over 1,000 pints of blood to stock the National Blood Bank and save lives at the 37 Military and Korle Bu Teaching Hospitals.

Organized every year for the past 12 years, this year’s event will be held at the premises of UT Bank, located at Airport City on Thursday May 25.

According to Kwesi Sarpong, Programmes Manager of Happy FM, “we always look forward to this particular programme every year because we know we will contribute significantly towards saving lives in the country.

We do not take it for granted so we urge other institutions to come and support this noble cause. We want to encourage all listeners of Happy FM and compassionate members of the general public to come and help save a life with their bloods”, Mr. Sarpong added.

Happy FM has been partnering the UT brand on this CSR project over the past six years and the two outfits are again involved in the 2017 drive.

The exercise would begin from 6:00am and end at 5:00pm. There would also be free breast screening and health checks for participants by qualified medical professionals from KBTH and 37 Military Hospital.

For more information, tune in to 98.9 Happy FM in Accra or check out www.happyfmghana.com.

The United Nations' top human rights official hailed Pescara's Ghanaian midfielder Sulley Muntari as an "inspiration" on Monday for leaving the pitch in protest after the player said he was booked for complaining about racist chanting.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said FIFA needed to pay greater attention to the persistent problem of racism at games - and that his office had been in touch with soccer's governing body.

Muntari said he had complained that parts of the crowd, including a group of children, had hurled racist insults at him from the start of his Italian team's game at Cagliari in Serie A on Sunday.

The player said the referee then told him to stop talking to the crowd and ended up showing him the yellow card for dissent in the 90th minute.

Sulley Muntari
Zeid called Muntari "an inspiration to all of us here at the U.N. human rights office" for taking a stand.

The persistent problem of racism at games required "added attention or deepened attention by FIFA," he told reporters in Geneva.

His office had been in touch with the organisation, he said without saying when, and he planned to attend an international match in about six weeks' time to spread the message that "racism and expressions of bigotry should not be tolerated at major sporting events".

Zeid recalled another "deeply alarming" match, in Ukraine, where Dynamo Kiev fans wore Ku Klux Klan outfits and swastikas.

Italy and other countries have struggled to stamp out racist chants at games. In 2013, the AC Milan team left the pitch during a friendly in the town of Busto Arsizio after home fans insulted midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng, another Ghanaian.

Under guidelines introduced following that incident, the referee is supposed to alert the fourth official who should in turn contact authorities policing games.

FIFA last week fined Argentina, Mexico and Brazil for their fans' homophobic chants - sign of a growing crackdown on the insults often hurled at opposing goalkeepers.

Source: Reuters
'Hand Dey Go, Hand Dey Come' off his latest effort, Nowhere Cool is a song that has Ghanaian
rapper M.anifest talking about reciprocity.


'Hand Dey Go, Hand Dey Come' is slang that suggests mutuality - ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’.


The song features rising star and now frequent collaborator Worlasi and in this flick, we see the two men working hand in hand to reel in the day's catch in the coastal town of Woe.


Woe is a town on the southeastern shores of Ghana which is perhaps best known for its Cape Saint Paul lighthouse. It also happens to be M.anifest's grandmother's hometown.


The song was produced by prolific producer Drvmroll and the video directed by Garth Von Glehn.

Hand Dey Go, Hand Dey Come video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96lJKdu7HLc
Francis Kofigah
One of the most motivating stories to have been captured on www.jump.com.gh is that of “The Dough Man”. I personally met the Doughman when he addressed a Rotaract meeting a few months back.

I was not surprised when his story made it onto a platform dedicated to inspiring young people and young professionals. The Doughman is essentially a young man who has taken to making doughnuts as a business venture and is making a profession out of it.

Let’s take a gist of the story. For the complete story and others like this, take time off and visit https://jump.com.gh/entrepreneurship/meet-the-doughman:

Social media is turning around businesses in Ghana. Lots of startuppers are beginning to discover the immense benefit social media can be in building their brands, customer base and increasing sales. App developer, turned doughnut maker Francis Kofigah is the CEO of Doughman Foods. When he was asked what’s an app developer doing selling doughnuts, his answer was that “I get asked that question several times. I like doughnuts. I like to have them with pineapple juice. I just love them”.

According to Francis, a friend got him doughnuts from town and it tasted really good. So he asked for it a second time, but it was out of stock. He got so surprised because it was only 9am and so he thought there was opportunity in there. He decided to do a little research on how to make doughnuts, got a team together and kick started it.

For his first day in business, they wondered how they were going to sell. That was the challenge. “We got these paper bags put the doughnuts we made in and decided to go from shop to shop to tell people about our doughnuts. Some wanted to taste, some others rejected because they didn’t know the brand. In fact we got several rejections”, he said.

Did he feel like giving up then? Oh yeah he did. He really did. He had invested a lot of money in it and people were just tasting without paying for it. So they devised a plan to rather market their doughnuts on social media and they targeted specific personalities they thought would push their product. It worked.

Francis Kofigah
So under a year, they have moved from doing 20 to 30 pieces a week to doing hundreds. That’s because they got some social media influencers to share their posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Calls were just coming through and the market just shot up! Today they struggle to meet requests because they are overbooked.

Let’s bear in mind that Francis Kofigah is a technology guy. He develops apps among others. How does coding and doughnut relate? People ask that a lot. But because he is a techie, it is rather helping his business. He uses the knowledge he has acquired to promote his business. So what’s the future for Doughman? Well they aim to deliver all over Ghana.

Currently they run their delivery service only here in Accra. “Who knows we could even become a popular name in West Africa if you give us another year” – that is the belief and dream of the young man.

Stories like this are compiled on www.jump.com.gh and offer a good source of materials to inspire young people and young entrepreneurs.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Okyeame Kwame
Busy Internet launched the JUMP online platform on March 30 to give a one stop shop to young people and growing entrepreneurs on reading materials that border on entrepreneurship, self-development, education and lifestyle.

Okyeame Kwame’s interview is rounded up here https://jump.com.gh/lifestyle-n-entertainment/6-branding-tips-from-the-okyeame-kwame:

Rapper Okyeame Kwame known in real life as Kwame Nsiah Apau is one of Ghana's most celebrated Hip-life Artist. The "rap doctor" as he is affectionately called was a member of the defunct group Akyeame. As a solo act, his works include Bose Ba (2004), Manwesem (2008), The Clinic (2011), and The Versatile Show (201 2). His laurels are numerous, including the topmost award in Ghana music —VGMA Artist of the Year in 2009.


Okyeame Kwame is one of the few artists in Ghana who makes branding his top priority and has even gone ahead to launch a book for his brand "OK" i.e. Okyeame Kwame.

He pursued his Master's Degree in Marketing Strategy at the University of Ghana Business School and was recently honored by the CIMG after his presentation at the organization’s Continuous Professional Development (CPD) seminar under the theme: ‘Branding For Global Recognition'.

In an interview with him on how young musicians can build a successful brand, the father of two shared these inspiring tips:


Be Different: What it means is, study the status quo and something different which is is exciting and interesting, find a way of blending everything to make your approach different.


Be Original: Draw from your cultural source, talk about things that are relevant to your community and audience. Don’t rap about profanity. Example if you live at Nima the problem is mosquitoes so rap about it. Be original, don't be like others.

Be Consistent: No matter how inexpensive your videos are, make sure that whatever message you want to sell is there and we can see that in your videos.


Association: You have to look like the job you want not the one you have. Associate with where exactly you want to go so you become an artist that has importance, choose a name from a place that people find important for example, Akyeame chose the name "Akyeame" because we saw that people didn’t like rap so we went to the court and palace where people have respect everything that goes on there, hence seeking inspiration to form the name "Akyeame". Choose a name like that. When you receive an award, like “the keys to a city”, if you have the opportunity, show it to Asantehene or the president.

As an upcoming artist, find a rapper or a singer that you look up to and associate with him or her. If you meet an amazing presenter like Bola Ray, Kwame Adinkra, Andy Dosty take photos with them and share on your social media platform.

Build an Army: Begin with your family, friends, church members, classmates, associates, and enemies. In everything you do, you're surrounded by them so build your army beginning with them. Stay in contact with them via phone or social media.  Now set targets and work on getting it done, rent a crowd, convince your friends to come and watch you perform.  After they praise you, onlookers will do same.

Do not work hard, work smart: Working hard is for regular people, working smart is for winners. Working smart means paying attention to little details, once that is done, the big things will follow. Be Smart, when you have a plan walk through with it and execute.

Okyeame Kwame is currently out with a new single Saucing featuring his kids Sir Bota and Shante.
Stories like this are compiled on www.jump.com.gh and offer a good source of materials to inspire young people and young entrepreneurs.

Friday, April 21, 2017


Busy, 4G LTE provider of the year for 2016 has unveiled its new operational strategy, with a tremendous focus and commitment towards empowering Ghanaian youth, entrepreneurs and SME’s.

The 4G operator, who has a new brand promise of Great Things Happen, is positioning itself to become the #1 next generation 4G operator in Ghana, by championing the youth empowerment agenda. The new outlook aims to further establish Busy as the hub for young people and up-and-coming entrepreneurs, where they can connect to the world, develop business plans, network, and kick-start their dreams.

Chief Executive Officer of Busy, Praveen Sadalage, says “Busy is shifting its focus to one that is youth-centric and digital first with the introduction of mobile digital platforms such as MyBusy Mobile App, an interactive platform that allows customers to track their data usage, top up data, bundle data and control their data usage. There is also the Web self-care platform, which allows customers to interact with Busy on their laptops or desktop,” he said.

George Andah,  Minister for Communications
“When we launched our three-pronged youth strategy with the unveiling of our JUMP platform at the end of last month, it was to signify our intentions to operate in a space where most of Ghana’s population is; and to offer them an incredible access to materials that will ensure their professional and individual growth, this strategic shift further accentuates that initial commitment,” the CEO added.

Chief Marketing Officer of Busy, Michael Fitzpatrick disclosed at the launch in Accra that Busy will also be launching a new mobile interactive app known as Chat+.

This will be free for all Busy customers as it will allow them to chat, call, share pictures and videos with friends and loved ones. In line with this new vision, Busy is rolling out some innovative products with the customer at the centre.

It is our desire to get closer to our customers; hence, we have opened our new multi-functional flagship store which will have a collaborative work space at the back for young entrepreneurs, to come and experience our 4G WI-FI.

The Deputy Communications Minister and Member of Parliament for Awutu Senya West, George Nenyi Andah who relaunched the revamped Busy brand and opened the flagship store urged Busy to lead the way in delivering affordable and reliable data for the youth segment in particular.

Mr Andah said “Our young ones need data for their studies and businesses; but do not have the financial wherewithal; Government is in the process of ensuring that some of the factors that tend to slow down the growth of businesses like data are permanently solved so there is a phenomenal growth in that sector which will result in opening up employment avenues for the talented Ghanaian youth who have had artificial barriers forestalling their growth”, he said.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


Digital television -an innovative approach to television broadcasting- has many benefits available to countries that adopt it. This piece seeks to share insights into four major benefits serving viewers, broadcasters, producers and advertisers respectively.

VIEWERS

IMPROVED VIDEO QUALITY AND CLARITY:  There is no doubt that digital TV comes along with improved picture and video quality. Signals are more compact than the analogue system and allows multiple channels to occupy the same airspace than the single analogue channel. Digital television will provide viewers with the quality of sound, images and videos needed to enjoy quality television experience.

With digital TV, one does not need to re-adjust an antenna as usually directed by local TV technicians as first stage in television signal troubleshooting.  One does not have to direct an antenna towards the transmission site of a particular station to get clear signals at the expense of other stations. A viewer has to simply turn on a TV with an antenna and enjoy quality TV with crystal clear pictures and sound.


BROADCASTERS

LESS FOCUS ON TRANSMISSION INFRASTRUCTURE: Television stations in Ghana compete not only on content but on infrastructure; an opposite of industry trends in other parts of the world where competition is strictly on content because infrastructure is standard for all players. Ghana’s era of television stations with tag lines such as “nationwide availability, total coverage etc. will be over with digitization.

Statistics at Brekuso- Ghana’s popular TV transmission site for most stations in Accra show that about 7 television transmission sites operate within 2km apart from each other.  All these stations have 24/7 security, standby power generators, water storage, mast, technicians, transmission halls and other important assets. Couldn’t a strategic and cost saving approach such as co-locating and sharing the running cost of the sites be adopted to ensure that the little revenue made from advertising due to the clustered nature of the industry is invested in content and staff remuneration rather than transmission?

In South Africa, television stations have no business with transmission because a reliable and professional firm maintains and manages their sites on contract basis. Ahwerase, a town in Ghana’s Eastern region noted for radio transmission has a similar case like that of Brekuso. There are about 10 radio operating sites within 1km radius apart from each other. Some local broadcasters are adamant to co-locate because of fear of sabotage by competitors. But I believe with the right systems and processes, such fears can be eliminated and co-location managed professionally by independent service providers with expected deliverables.



PRODUCERS

CONTENT DEVELOPMENT: With an equal playing field, television owners have no option than to compete on content. Digitization attracts broadcasting regulations such as prioritizing local content over foreign content and ensuring that prime time is dedicated to local content. This will improve the state and quality of Ghana’s production industry.

Production divisions of television stations, independent production firms and other sections of the production chain will benefit from this. Digitization guarantees the creation of jobs in the production chain ranging from producers, directors, actors, cameramen, props, location drivers, graphics and effects, editors, sales and editing.

It also guarantees massive development of our local movie and production industry. ‘Kumawood’, ‘Ghallywood’ and other private producers are at an advantage because there will be reliance on what they produce. Ghana’s National Film and Television Institute graduates and graduates from other production training institutions will be put to good use.

ADVERTISERS 

ACCESS TO CREDIBLE TV VIEWERSHIP DATA: Strategic advertising and marketing decisions on television should be made on credible viewership data. Even though professional media research is gradually gaining grounds in Ghana, marketing managers of some brands make decisions on guts and personal orientation with no accurate data supporting such decisions.

In the past, media owners have accused media research firms of skewing data and results in favour of the highest bidder. Though such claims may not be factual, digitization affords the industry a cheaper and more reliable way of knowing viewership ratings of stations across specific times. It also affords credible data on television viewership necessary for national policy and decision making.

If managed properly, television license collection can be enhanced and improved with higher collection rates.
Telemetry -an automated communications process by which measurements and other data are collected- can be used to provide viewership ratings in real time. Similar to the publication of subscriber base in Ghana’s telecommunications industry, publishing viewership of television stations from an authoritative source such as a national platform would improve television competition among industry players and serve as a trusted source of data.

It is unfortunate that time-lines set by the Government of Ghana to migrate all television stations unto the digital platform were missed last year. Discomfort and hesitation accompanies change efforts but we must embrace this innovative change in our broadcasting industry to benefit from its numerous advantages. The Ministry of Communications, National Communications Authority and other State institutions mandated to ensure television digitization is actualized must commit to this good and critical cause.

By: Timothy Karikari
timothykarikari@yahoo.com

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Issa Hayatou
Lucifer’s fall from heaven is considered the greatest in the history of creation but Issa Hayatou’s defeat in the just ended Confederation of Africa Football elections will go down in the history of the beautiful game as the greatest fall of a mortal turn god.


Hayatou is the fifth president of the Confederation of African Football. He was born in Garoua, Cameroon, the son of a local Sultan, and became a middle distance runner and physical education teacher. Hayatou had a successful career as an athlete, becoming a member of the Cameroonian national squads in both Basketball and Athletics, and holding national record times in the 400 and 800-meter running.


In 1974, aged just 28, he became Secretary General of the Cameroon Football Association, and Chair of the FA in 1986. As chair, he was chosen the same year to sit on the CAF Executive Committee. Following the retirement of Ethiopia's Ydnekatchew Tessema from the CAF presidency in August 1987, Hayatou was elected as the fifth president in the body's history.


Just like any mortal ruler, Hayatou’s almost 3 decades reign as the boss of Africa football had the good, the bad and scandals.


Hayatou has overseen particularly successful FIFA World Cup appearances by Senegal, Nigeria, Cameroon and Ghana, and pushed for African places in the finals to increase from two to five, with the 2010 World Cup in South Africa seeing the hosts garner an automatic sixth spot for an African team.


Hayatou presided over both the bid and the organising committee for the 2010 games, the first in Africa. The African Cup of Nations finals expanded from 8 to 16 teams, in a confederation of over 50 nations in six zones and five regional confederations.


Club competitions have undergone a similar growth in both numbers and scale, with more clubs participating in the CAF Champions League, the CAF Confederation Cup (begun in 2004 for national cup winners and high-placed league teams.


Many praised Hayatou for the introduction of the Championship of African Nations, a tournament for home based players.


But of cause his reign was not without scandals, In November 2010 Andrew Jennings, the presenter of FIFA's Dirty Secrets, an edition of BBC's flagship current affairs programme Panorama alleged that Hayatou had taken bribes in the 1990s regarding the awarding of contracts for the sale of television rights to the football World Cup.



Panorama claimed to have obtained a document from a company called ISL which showed that Hayatou was paid 100,000 French Francs by the company. ISL won the contract to distribute the television rights. Hayatou has denied the allegations, saying that the money went not to him but to CAF. The IOC has announced it will investigate Hayatou, due to his membership of the organisation.


In May 2011, The Sunday Times published claims from a whistle-blower that Hayatou had, along with fellow Executive Committee member Jacques Anouma, accepted $1.5 million bribes from Qatar to secure his support for their bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.


Hayatou became the Senior Vice-President of FIFA and later became the Acting President after Sepp Blatter resigned as FIFA Boss. He was also, 2001 elected member of the International Olympic Committee during the Moscow session.


These made him very powerful and influential, using his influence to pass laws that will allow him to stay in power as long as his soul will permit him.


In 2015 all 54 countries at the organisation's congress in Cairo agreed to change the statutes which previously stopped officials serving past the age of 70.  The Confederation of African Football voted to remove an age limit on its officials, paving the way for Issa Hayatou to stay on as president.


CAF previously brought in a rule that, candidates for its presidency can only come from the ranks of its own executive committee, a tight-knit club closely controlled by Hayatou. Fifa did not have the same restriction.


At this point only a miracle could save Africa Football since those who qualify to contest Hayatou were too scared to do so or were enjoying the grace of the mortal turn god.


Then came the ambitious bid from the FA President of Madagascar Ahmad Ahmad. His rare and determined bid for “change” at the head of the CAF this year took many by surprise, and the incumbent was seen as the favourite. However what was about to hit Hayatou, even him as a mortal turn god had no idea.


Ahmad won the election in the Ethiopian capital by 34 votes to Hayatou’s 20, official results showed. Delegates cheered and pumped their fists in the plenary hall after the result was announced.


At the end of the day, it was Issa Hayatou’s own inner circle and close friends like Kwesi Nyantakyi who betrayed him like Judas did to Jesus.


By Ohene Bampoe Brenya
obbampoe@gmail.com

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

My chest feels heavy. My arms are cold, but it is not from the night breeze. My eyes fight unsuccessfully, sentiments I can’t accurately name yet. Dead people walk again, and they tell me stories –powerful stories.


I know these stories, I have grown up with them; from books, from a teacher’s lips, and in my grandmother’s sighs. They are my stories, uneven blocks that have culminated into my present. Still, my chest feels heavy, my arms tremble, and my eyes will give in any moment now.


Why? A woman stands on an outdoor stage with deliberately low lighting. She dorns a smock reserved for war, and she’s pointing a rifle around. Gloomy shadows stalk her, with the stealth of a hungry cobra.

A solemn refrain hovers in the air above as her tale is being revealed by an omniscient narrator. As queen mother of Ejisu, she can no longer stomach the spinelessness from her elders in this critical moment when their freedom and dignity are being threatened. And so, taking matters into her own hands, she musters one last fight on behalf of her dear Asanteman. Her opposition is fierce, and the odds fail her. She is defeated and dispatched into exile on an island far away. Though a tragic end to a drawn-out battle, the essence of her gesture will be passed on for generations to come.


One more: three World War II veterans are shot dead by one Major Imray on their way to present a petition to governor of the coast. This troubling re-enactment of February 28, 1948, fills the entire theatre with silence, and rapid, uneven palpitations.


And then, there it is – I lift my finger, cautiously so as not to interfere with this meticulously curated atmosphere, and touch my face –the spot beneath my left eye. I run a finger along the moisture and rub it against my thumb. Our journey has been long, and occasional reminders of where it all started, and whose toil and pain have served as brick and mortar for the liberties and pride we bask in, even if unconsciously, are only logical.


Because, at the end of the day, the more we know about our past stories, the better equipped we are with constructing new ones. The way these stories are re-enacted by the Wogbɛ Jɛkɛ team, how they establish the specific psychic temperature of a particular time in history… it affects you in a profound way.


History, like Mathematics, is not necessarily the favourite subject of your regular Wofa Attah by the side of the road, or by Elsie Owusu with a backpack and neatly-polished black shoes over white socks. Because, History can be frustratingly nuanced and confusing. Unless you possess a knack for it, dates and strange names are discouraging right from the onset.

Creators of this production have obviously gone through, and witnessed the challenges which come with trying to memorise history. Else, how would they have managed to create such a solid production? Unsurprisingly, many patrons, after seeing the play, recommend it for JSS students as it provides an easy way to relate with these accounts.

A Chief Moomen original,Wogbɛ Jɛkɛ has become, perhaps, our most authentic capsule through the over 2000 years in which our stories are embedded. Details make a story, and the minutiae carved into the production are precise, down to the trivial quirks. The anthems, dressing, prevailing discourse, and other aspects of our culture at the time all corroborate the accounts our grandmothers divulged to us.

That’s how we know a story is true. I shudder to attempt calculating how many hours, how much research has gone into the production, which has been running for two years now.  Nobody told you, as an 80s born, when you heard the soundtrack to popular crime thriller Inspector Bediako, or lines from Ultimate Paradise, or Who Killed Nancy, or the iconic “Medofo Pa” Keysoap advert, to recite along with hearty nostalgia, or to sing the Nico and Sekina song, remembering exactly whom you stood next to by the small window as you watched it on a neighbor’s black and white TV.


The Amphitheater of the University of Ghana was filled to capacity at the start of the show. Filled! And for many of the patrons (I’m certain), this was not their first time watching. Since 2015 when it was first staged, Wogbɛ Jɛkɛ has been performed 18 times. So, what at all were they there to see again? Like wholesome wine, Wogbɛ Jɛkɛ has appreciates over the years, and is regularly retouched to harmonise with changing times, while still keeping the core themes intact. And so, though you’re watching something you’ve already seen, you’re also beholding something completely new.

I don’t know how else to explain it. Just don’t miss it the next time it shows: a version detailing our musical transitions over the years (specifically highlife and hiplife) will be rendered at Citi FM’s Music of Ghanaian Origin (MOGO) concert later this month. Wogbɛ Jɛkɛ: Our Journey will also show at the at the National Theatre on April 15th and 16th. You’ve been informed!

The packaging of Wogbɛ Jɛkɛ is exceptional, and is, perhaps, what sets it apart from any other attempt, and what has made it symbolic nationwide. It is a duteous mix of bountiful comedy, affecting poetry, enthralling drama, rich music and dance, and engaging narration from multiple voices. These are elements we enjoy everyday, and so Wogbɛ Jɛkɛ entrances us fast.

The play is appreciated with a seriousness, and patronised by society’s crème and regular folk alike. Gathered with the rest of us like children by the fireside were such icons as comedy legend and broadcaster KSM, Gifty Anti and husband Nana Ansah Kwaw IV among others.


Journalist Jefferson Sackey, Hon. Dzifa Gomashie (Fmr. Dep. Tourism minister), and quite a number of ambassadors to Ghana have all seen Wogbɛ Jɛkɛ. Last week, former president John Kufour’s foundation pledged support for subsequent productions, and the team was invited by the Israeli Ambassador after he saw one of their shows. It remains a baffling fact that more foreign dignitaries patronise the show than our very own, but anyway…


Feedback on Wogbɛ Jɛkɛ usually goes like this: “this is a show worth seeing by every young person…even the older, because many Ghanaians don’t know the history of Ghana, and I think it’s good that he (Chief Moomen) has portrayed it in just two-and-half hours or so. He has done a marvellous work”, a satisfied Lawyer Sam Okujeto submits in an interview after one of the shows.


Co-directed by Joyce Anima Misa Amoah and Abdul Karim Hakib, the production also receives support from experts with choreography, music, costuming, light design, sound, and audiovisuals. In all, the cast and crew for the production numbers a remarkable 170.


So far, the Heritage Theatre Series runs three distinct plays: Birth of a Nation, A Tale of Two Men, and Rise of a Nation (first performed at the launch of the 40- year development plan in 2015). Entire productions have also been announced on sports, music, specific heroes, as well as various African stories at later dates.


The play will also be performed across the country in coming months, and there’s an extensive world tour in the works. Conversations with creator Chief Moomen reveal to you two things: the current feats of Wogbɛ Jɛkɛ (too many to fit into a single essay) are merely a window to the bigger picture. Secondly, that he Abdul Moomen, the immensely talented poet and playwright, and contemporary custodian of our tales, is also demented for sure. You doubt me? Talk to the man about upcoming projects.


Recited over instrumentals of singer Worlasi’s Possible, Chief’s final spoken word piece, which also ends the play, oozes with convictions of what tomorrow we can create if we finally cease with the blame games, let our yesterday teach us, and forge ahead as a determined people, harnessing our various abilities. At many points in the play, there are loud cries of “it is possible”. There’s something “higher” about the way the audience joins in the chants. It is the renewed dedication which follows an epiphany, or surviving an accident you should have perished in. We have been revived afresh.


“I think the reason for all the divisions and the acrimony among the people is because we don’t know the history. If we know the history, we will appreciate that we’re different tribes who came together and lived together all these years, worked together, brought independence together, and helped build it to what it is now, but then, we can build much better, and we can do better by unity”. Again, not my words, but Uncle Sam’s.


Wogbɛ Jɛkɛ is proudly sponsored by Keysoap. Media partners include ENEWSGH, Citi FM, among others.

By Gabriel Myers Hansen

About writer: Entertainment writer from Accra. Editor, enewsgh.com. According to him, pounding music makes him dance -in his mind-.

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I am a Creative Arts Writer who is also into Strategic Communications, Public Relations, Photography and IT consultancy. I am also Social media enthusiast and an alumni of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ).

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