Open letter to new Sports Minister, Dr. Mustapha Ahmed

Subject: Open letter to new Sports Minister, Dr. Mustapha Ahmed
From: Christopher Opoku
Date: 5 May 2015

Good day Hon. Ahmed,

I hope and trust that all is well with you. Let me first of all take this opportunity to congratulate you as the newly nominated Minister for Youth and Sports.

Normally, the norm would be to wish you every success in your new appointment, but I feel that I have to be very blunt with you in terms of the challenges you will face in your new position.

Since 2001, there have been not less than 15 appointments to this position and this spans the administrations of ex-President J.A. Kufuor, the late President J.E.A. Mills and current President John Dramani Mahama.

Since you happen to be the 15th appointment, clearly, before I even start, you are not likely to have as much time as you would want to put your ideas across because the average life span (in terms of time served in office) for a Sports Minister is just over 12 months.

Your predecessor, Mahama Ayariga, lasted only eight months and so that should let you know the enormity of the task that awaits you.

I am aware that you serve on the Youth, Sports, Education and Culture Committee in Parliament and so that would have informed the President’s decision to nominate you.

However, there are several things you would have to take into consideration if you are to make this position a long term one for yourself.

There is a very sexy looking seductive ‘woman’ lying in wait for you. This ‘woman’ has been the downfall of most of the ministers who have served at the Ministry.

I refer to the brand, which is the Black Stars.

So many ministers have been seduced into either taking certain decisions or making certain utterances that ultimately results in a quick departure from the Ministry.

In fact, if you are not careful, you might fall so much in love with the Black Stars that even attempting to support other national football teams, let alone other sporting disciplines could be akin to committing adultery.

Hon. Ahmed, this is where you are going to have to stand firm.

It will be so difficult for you because the government is always keen to use the Black Stars as a political tool so chances are that even if you want to help the other sporting disciplines, you might be railroaded into spending almost all your time with the Black Stars.

Thankfully, you are a retired Major in the Ghana Armed Forces and so I have no doubt that your efforts at redressing the balance as far as attention for other sporting disciplines is concerned will be wholehearted.

I would also entreat you to, as a matter of urgency, lend a listening ear to the other sporting disciplines and try to provide the needed support.

For example, Ghana’s participation in the All Africa Games is in danger because of a debt of $34,000. Other sporting disciplines owe their international bodies some monies.

I am aware of the fact that the budgetary allocation for the Ministry isn’t much, but what you can do is to establish relationships with corporate concerns in a bid to encourage them into pumping money into sport.

Hon. Ahmed, that brings me to the Sports Bill. There has been so much talk about getting it passed into law and you will write your name into Ghanaian sporting folklore if you can get the Bill passed into law for fresh funding to be pumped into our sport.

Boxing is a sport that desperately needs injection of funds to train coaches and to provide at least one ultra modern boxing gym. Your support for athletics would also go a long way towards revitalizing the sport.

I would also urge you to advise your deputy, Dr. Vincent Oppong Asamoah on his utterances.

He goofed immensely when he gave out what turned out to be false information regarding bonuses for the Black Stars.

This largely turned the nation against the team until the Black Stars placed second at the 2015 African Nations Cup.

Hon Ahmed, you would end up endearing yourself to many, not to mention giving government a positive image if you disclose the full budget for the 2015 African Nations Cup, as well as ensuring that the Dzamefe Commission of Enquiry report is presented to the President and made public, as well as taking steps to implement whatever recommendations that could be contained in the report.

I can guarantee that, should you do these things, you will achieve a hero’s status and that could even see you retained in your position even if there is a political change of government.

This is of course dependent on whether you will be allowed to stay on until next year’s general elections.

Even if some of us in the media are annoying, please do not go on the warpath with us because that would only give you bad press and that is the easiest excuse government needs to kick you out.

Just decline certain interviews, speak less and act more.

I will be frank and tell you that the President has put you in an almost impossible situation, but when there is a will, there is a way.

Hon Ahmed, I will end by wishing you well in your new position.

Yours sincerely

Christopher Opoku