On July 1, 2010, honorable Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, Chairman of Ghana’s New Patriotic Party, accompanied by the party’s General Secretary, Mr. Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, affectionately called Sir John and the director of the party’s international desk, Mr. Charles Asuako Owiredu embarked on a two-week tour of North America to visit members of the party in the USA and Canada. Determined to do things differently, and to energize the overseas branches, Jake and his team embarked on a familiarization tour to allow members of the NPP branches in the USA and Canada to meet the newly elected officials of the parent party. The tour was intended to provide a forum for dialogue between the branches and the executives from Ghana. The visit also provided an opportunity to discuss the ongoing Presidential primary and strategies to strengthen the party, as well as tap into the huge human and intellectual capital of members residing outside Ghana. The busy itinerary took the chairman and his team to Minnesota, Toronto, Canada, Cincinnati, Ohio and finally to Hartford, Connecticut, the insurance capital of the world on July 10, 2010 where the tour climaxed beyond the guests’ wildest imagination.
Jake and his entourage arrived at their first stop in Minneapolis/St. Paul, on July 1, 2010. Strategically, this stop was designed to be a low-keyed town hall meeting style gathering, given that in spite of the twin city’s large Ghanaian population, it has not traditionally attracted party and other government officials in the past. Based on participant feedback, the intimate engagement with the NPP boss was valuable in terms of energizing party members as well as the Ghanaian community at large.
From the twin city, Jake and his team visited Toronto, Canada and held a similar intimate gathering with the large Ghanaian population in the largest Canadian city. Here the questions centered on what the party is doing to avoid another surprising loss at the polls come 2012.
The third stop was much more enthusiastic. Like Mineapolis/St Paul, Cincinnati, Ohio, has not traditionally attracted the attention of party big wigs and government officials. It came as little surprise, therefore, when the intended intimate gathering turned more vibrant than expected. But as energizing as the Ohio stop was, it ended up serving as a precursor for the final stop at Hartford, Connecticut.
At about 11 am on Saturday July 10, enthusiastic party supporters led by the Connecticut Chapter Chairperson, Mr. Eugene Kyerematen and the National Chairman of NPP in the USA, Nana Agyei Yeboah, met Jake and his entourage at the Bradley International Airport. The Connecticut Chapter of NPP-USA organized a fund raising dinner in honor of Chairman Obetsebi Lamptey that evening. The ballroom was packed with dignitaries and party leaders from as far as Atlanta and Tennessee. Enthusiastic party supporters from Washington, DC, New York, New Jersey, Boston, and Worcester in Massachusetts were in the house. Connecticut members and residents also attended in their numbers.
Various reports indicate that the well-attended function was professionally organized, the food was sumptuous, and the DJ for the night was fantastic. Mr. Eugene Ofori, the Public Relations Officer of the chapter who was the MC for the night, without a doubt, gave his utmost best performance prior to his retirement, which is due soon. Hon. Obetsebi Lamptey was the darling celebrity of the night. With a powerful introduction, Nana Agyei Yeboah welcomed the chairman of what he described as “the most Democratic Party in Africa” to Connecticut, the Constitution State, to a thunderous applause from the audience. Hon. Obetsebi Lamptey stated why Ghanaians must support NPP and outlined his plans to strengthen the party to recapture electoral victory in 2012 for the sake of posterity. Hon. Obetsebi Lamptey used the occasion to apologize to the members and sympathizers of the party in the Diaspora for any mistreatment or disrespect the party executives must have shown to them in the past. He promised to work closely with the Diasporans to move the party forward.
During the fundraising event, people demonstrated their affection and dedication to the party as any party insignia worn by the chairman and the General Secretary attracted high bidding. People clamored to price highly any party paraphernalia worn by the two gentlemen. For instance, Mr. Collins Bekoe, a member of the Connecticut Chapter bought a party lapel pin worn by the chairman for one thousand dollars. Similarly, a party wristband worn by the General Secretary attracted a six hundred dollar tag from Dr. Yaw Bannor.
When the chairman stepped on the floor to dance, the whole place became electrified as party women bought their spot to dance with the Chairman. The place was filled with entertainment, dancing and political speeches till the wee hours of the morning.
On Sunday July 11, 2010 a breakfast meeting was held at the conference room of the Holiday Inn Hotel in East Hartford. At the meeting the Chairman and the General Secretary shared the vision of the new administration with the representatives from the various chapters across the USA who were present. During the question and answer session, several questions were fired at the chairman and the party secretary, which they handled impressively to the admiration of the audience.
Dr. Yaw Bannor, Secretary of NPP-USA presented the Branch’s strategic plan, which the current administration has put together and bound into a booklet, with members at the meeting. This is the first time the branch’s administration has put forth a strategic plan to guide the party and move it forward. After Dr. Bannor’s presentation, the chairman of NPP-USA, Nana Agyei Yeboah presented a copy of the plan to the National chairman, Hon. Jake Obetsebi Lamptey. In his remarks the national chairman said he was impressed with the leadership and the work that has gone into putting the plan together. He said the national executives would study it and get back to NPP-USA with its comments.
The Connecticut Chapter again entertained the visitors to an elaborate luncheon at the Maneeley Banquet Hall in South Windsor, Connecticut. Again the General Secretary, Mr. Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie and Honorable Obetsebi Lamptey displayed their people skills. They answered questions and socialized with the people. A testimony that NPP is truly the people’s party. NPP is the only party in Ghana that is making it possible for 120,000 people to vote at the grass roots level to select their presidential candidate.
This great event was made possible by the generous contributions from our sponsors, the party is very grateful to them. The planning committee comprising the following people: Mr. Eugene Ofori, Mr. Charles Yaw Boakye, Mr. Charles Ampofo, Solomon Boateng, Ms. Edna Boateng, Ms. Ruth Mancel, Mrs. Vivian Ofori, Juliet Asafo Adjei and the tireless women’s organizer, Ms. Akua Adu Mensah, did a yeoman’s job and the Connecticut Chapter will forever be grateful to them.
The following chapter chairs that graced the occasion with their presence also deserve commendation: Mr. Akwasi Agyeman Busia, Atlanta, Mr. Konongo Fordjour, Boston, Mr. Stephen Oduro, New Jersey, Dr. Akwasi Acheampong, New York, Dr. Yaw Bannor, Tennessee and Dr. Steven Kwarteng (Odeneho) Washington, DC.
The presence of our national executives made the occasion a memorable one. Last but not the least, the presence of Mr. Kwabena Manu (Pancho) and Mr. John Nyarku made it a fund raising event that will be remembered for a long time.
By Connecticut Chapter of NPP-USA.