By Doreen Ayilimba: An exclusive interview with a pro-Mahama campaigner, Yaw Ampofo Ankrah

Yaw Ampofo Ankrah is a sports journalist. The founder of the Books and Boots Project in Ghana and CEO of Oxigen World. He initiated the Ghana Beach Soccer franchise in 2007 which now boasts of two leagues, twenty teams and over 900 players nationwide. He entered mainstream media as a raw 21 year old with nothing more than a fantastic voice, a burning ambition to succeed and a fearless drive. After nearly eighteen years of innovative media content, events and projects, he is credited with a fine track record of amazing concepts and ideas that have been proven to work.

But his latest adventure and initiative known as Movement for Mahama has exposed him to a whole new world where success can be your undoing.

Thus, with over a decade and a half of engaging and building sports and corporate media communications strategies, will his new experience prove to be a another milestone or a bite too big for him to chew?

? The man, the political leader and the brand John Mahama is the best we have at this moment to unite Ghanaians, lead effectively and to transform lives.

Money is not the factor that has convinced me and so many others to support him because money is worthless unless you make it work for yourself, your family, community and your nation as a whole. It is about trust. I trust President Mahama to deliver?

When I first heard the news on radio, like many people, I thought it was a big PR stunt. Then I heard that clear distinct and inviting tone of the refined broadcaster.

?It is true. I have declared my full support for His Excellency President John Dramani Mahama because I believe in him and his message of unity which Ghana badly need now? Why would Yaw take such a big gamble to form the Movement for Mahama at such a sensitive and politically tense time. Is it not career suicide and a huge gamble?

??It is not a gamble my brother, because it is long term. Can you not feel the tension in our country and how some people would kill just to have power?

It is a message that I am sending out there and encouraging young people to get involved in the affairs of the country. I believe we must make sacrifices now and invest in the youth. Talk is cheap especially to our youngsters who are getting the wrong signals and messages from ?some? politicians.

It is also about standing up boldly to get involved in the future of my country by example for others to follow??

Yet there are those who believe that a huge enticement of some sort must have lured the sportscaster to put his safe, comfortable and lucrative job to follow John Mahama. So what was he given?

?You see, that is a perception that has been deliberately thrown out there to cast doubts on my integrity and smear my name. Such lies do not move me. Infact it makes me more determined to leave a good lasting impression. I am totally focused because the passion and determination with which I deliver sports content is the same passion that I am bringing to this new experience?

?Today it is President Mahama, tomorrow I could be campaigning for Ghana?s first female President in 2020 as long as I believe in what I do and ask God for divine guidance I cannot go wrong trust me??

The savvy sports critic claims he does not back losers and cites the example of a football success to support his claim. In 2011, he led the media team of Kwesi Nyantakyi in Sudan as the GFA boss successfully won a seat on the Confederation of African Football (CAF) against heavy odds.

Just like Mahama, Nyantakyi is a great guy and he is someone I deeply respect and would support in any venture that benefits Ghana first because we must project and raise our role models and heroes to encourage them and those who seek to follow in their footsteps?

Does that mean Yaw Ampofo Ankrah is now into charity and using his skills and expertise to help others for free??surely not?

?No I respect myself but those who collect envelopes and gifts to do the bidding of politicians on radio and TV or in newspapers ,claim they are neutral and yet they get away with their hypocrisy should not think they will not be exposed one day. That is not my style because my conscience cannot be bought and I would much rather declare openly for a candidate and campaign without fear or favour?

All well and good but surely the sports presenter, editor, commentator turned producer must know that he has broken an unwritten law that frowns on media personalities getting involved in politics?

??O no I don?t? think so. Besides I am not employed by any media organization presently so where does that argument fit? Let us be honest here, this is someone I can easily vouch for as a great ambassador of Ghana??

Supporting JM as Yaw put it has come with a price as he gets the occasional insult and abuse from people he describes as ?? the ignorant few??.

??Apart from God and to some extent my family, I don?t worry about what people say about me because you can never please everyone. Ultimately, only God can judge me and either bless me or punish me so im cool with people?s views as long as they are honest and not malicious?

So how has it been adapting to life in the political lane from the sports world?

??Same passion but different field and for me, it is so easy to talk about JM because the guy is seriously gifted and unbelievably real. He is President alright but when you speak with him and get to know him, you instantly sense that this man is honest and can be trusted??

According to Yaw, the spontaneous show of genuine affection for John Mahama is borne out of a sense of belonging whether you are a child, a manager, a taxi driver or doctor, John Mahama makes you believe that you are somebody and that is something you can simply not fake??

Some have questioned the real vision and ideology of Mahama beyond him being just a nice person.

How competent is he and does he have the experience to lead Ghana into the golden age?

To this question Yaw believes that Ghanaians should just give the full mandate to the man who started out as a teacher, rose to become the Information, Culture and Research Officer at the Embassy of Japan in Accra between 1991 and 1995 and subsequently worked as International Relations, Sponsorship Communications and Grants Manager with Plan Ghana between 1995 and 1996.


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