THE Irish arm of the governing Ghanaian New Patriotic Party finally held their 2016 General Elections Victory Celebrations / Party over the weekend with the Centre Right Irish Government Party including two Ministers of State who came over to grace the occasion.
The function was opened and chaired by Pastor Ricky Sarpong and his wife Vida of New Life Ministry International Church, Dublin. The man of God thanked and praised the Gracious Lord for guiding and sailing us through a-24-year period of democratic dispensation peacefully. During his welcome address he postulated that we must do everything possible to sustain and maintain the rare relative peace we enjoy today compared to our neighbours.
In his keynote speech, the country chairman of the Elephant political family, Alf Marshall Agyapong conveyed warmth greetings from the President and that of the NPP head office. In addition goodwill message of support from the newly appointed Charge D’Affaires of the Diasporas Office Bureau at the Presidency, Mr Akwasi Awua Ababio aka Dalas was communicated to the gathering. Dalas made it clear that the Diasporas Office is open to every Diasporas Ghanaian either in Somalia, Mali or the North America irrespective of political persuasions or clad.
He again reminded the gathering about the President’s mantra during the electioneering campaign that the battle was really the Lord’s, it still is and it will forever be the Lord’s [the Scripture Passage in 2 Corinthians 20:15]. He explained the concept of All Politics is Local as credited to the finest US House Speaker, Thomas Philip O’Neil. The task and the challenges ahead are enormous but not beyond the capabilities of our President and his crop of first class, excellent, trialled and tested ministers and appointees. Today is tomorrow foundation.
Alf Agyapong also emphasised that we are not crying because January 7, official national inauguration and celebrations day was over but rather smiling because we all made it happened. Significantly NPP Ireland played a role in the fight for victory hence the need to put a smile on their faces.
Then again, it is good to come physically together and enjoy the power of togetherness as we seek to rebuild the country from the so-called Dumsor catastrophic. “Compatriots, let us all strive to do our bits to help the President and his government succeed at improving the lots of many a Ghanaian in respect of the NPP flagship policy of ONE DISTRICT ONE FACTORY POLICY”.
He further opines the way of progress to the presidency was never swift or easy for the President. But alas, notwithstanding, it proves where determination exists failure cannot dismantle the success flag. And metaphorically the historical British Premier Winston Churchill puts it sufficiently as in “success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”
The Irish Chairman capitalised on the hour to pay a deserving homage to the Vanguards of Ireland NPP Branch led by Mr Ekow Agyemang Prempeh, the immediate past Chairman and other like minded individuals who spearheaded the fight for a Branch status for the Patriots in Ireland. The fight for independence of NPP Ireland was in a figurative speech more or less of a Simile; akin to the resolve of the 28th February, 1948 Riots by the unarmed ex-servicemen.
This was the beginning of the process for motherland to attain independence on 6th March 1957.
The current executive body namely – Vice Chairman Mr Frank Asamoah Boateng, Deputy Vice Chairman, Mr Johnson Baah; Indefatigable Secretary, Mr Malik Adams; Deputy, Elder Tettey, Women Organiser Ms Lynda Ackah (Irish version of late Hawa Ogede), Deputy Ms Christiana Asiedu; Financial Secretary, Mr Emmanuel Asare; Organiser Abraham; Deputy Isaac Jerry Mensah; Communication Director, Mr Albert Fordjour; and Youth Organiser Robert Eminsang; Deputy Kofi Asiedu were all patted on their shoulders!
Indeed, the Branch Chairman could not thank them wholeheartedly and more for their untiring co-operation, support and financial contributions in diverse ways. He summed it aptly that they are his rock. Similar sentiments were expressed in praising the Branch Council of Elders – Wofa Boapen [Okyeman], Mr Sarfo Kantaka Amankwah, Mr James Adu [Agya], Elder Peter Addo and Mr Thomas Antwi
Next class of people who were praised and glowing tributes accordingly paid to them are their better halves. On behalf of the executives, the Chairman underlined that the women have been essential support team of their political careers and activisms. He posits and quizzes that the beauty of a woman is her ability to make a man better in every way. A mention was made in particular of Ms Nancy Boahemaa Agyapong who has been by the side of the Chairman through the thick and thin. He thus requested the touching and inspiring lyrics of Daddy Lumba’s Odo Mmra Fie, Jane and topped it up with the original Theresa melody for their better halves’ listening and dancing pleasure.
Similarly, the Branch Secretary Mr Malik Adams outlined the roles the Branch played during the just ended elections and in the comity of NPP International Branches. Ironically, he stated NPP has been and continues to punch above their weight as much as their resident country Ireland; which is very influential in the Geo-political arena of the globe.
Irish Ministers of State at the Justice Department and Equality for Immigration and Integration, David Stanton and that of Communities and Drug Abuses, Catherine Byrne were the Special Guests of Honour who graced the occasion. The later was quizzed about a newly established Medicinal Cannabis Facility Centre in Dublin. This is purposefully for treatment and checks of chronic hard drug users or abusers. She responded that it would save a lot of lives since it is a supervised facility and it is first of its kind in the world.
In her contribution, the Women Organiser, Ms Lynda Ackah together with her deputy Ms Christiana Asiedu assured the gathering that NPP administration would leave no one behind. Thus the government aims at formulating and implementing strategic policies that harness the potential of every Ghanaian with special reference to reduction and finally eradicate the phenomenon of female head potters popularly known as Kayayei.
DUAL CITIZENSHIP AND ROPAA ACTS
The elephant in the room in the night of celebrations was the issue of the Dual Citizenship Act of 2000 (Act 591) including 2006 the Representation of the People’s Amendment Act of 2006 (ROPAA). This was debated at length as any benefits hitherto have been eroded away by Section 16 (2) of the Dual Citizenship Act, and Article 94 (2) of the 4th Republic Constitution which specifically bar overseas Ghanaians of dual nationality from holding senior level positions in government or contest electoral positions.
In terms of contributions to the nation building, it is on records that Ghanaians abroad sent nearly U.S $2 billion in unrequited remittances for education, charity, funeral, living expenses, community and local development projects in 2015. It is also estimated that 3 million of us now reside outside the shores. In spite of this crucial partnership and contributions successive governments have denied us all this inalienable right to vote and be voted for.
Therefore, irrespective of experience and prerequisite qualifications, Ghanaians with dual citizenship cannot serve as Members of Parliament or be appointed as ministers, deputy ministers, or hold senior level positions such as Director of Armed Forces ,Prisons, Fire Service, and Police Service among others.
The Chairman assured them that NPP IRELAND together with her allies in the NPP International Branches Comity and all interested stakeholders would engage the current Legislative Body and the Executive to restore our essential basic rights which the powers that be have deprived and taken from us since 1992.
The function finally came to a climax when fellow compatriots and other nationals from Nigeria, Congo, Zimbabwe, Ireland, and India among others had had a lot to wine, drink and dine amid the contemporary highlife songs by DJ Raspizo and MC Yaw Frimpong!