Famous American lawyer John Edwards Jones once said, ‘What gets measured gets done, what gets measured and fed back gets done well, and what gets rewarded gets repeated.’
Exactly a week today (Tuesday – March 20, 2018) the Minister of Youth and Sports, Hon. Isaac Kwame Asiamah met the press to respond to questions regarding his output after being in office for a year.
Many were those who were not enthused with the way he answered some of the questions while a lot hailed him for exhibiting traits of a good politician.
I am not here to hail him on how he answered questions or what his posture and demeanour was. I only seek to dig deep into what he’s been able to do, what he’s doing and will be doing – his yesterday, today and tomorrow.
First, let me indicate the fact that the session was useful as John Edwards said about assessment as quoted above. Assessment surely leads to improvement and progress and I must commend whoever came up with that initiative.
Now to the main issues.
Do you remember the posture and demeanour of Hon. Isaac Asiamah when he first took office? I guess he was still in the campaign mood. He used to speak a lot to the media and most of his comment sought to hammer his predecessor. I remember lashing out at him following the Black Stars B’s inability to secure a ticket to take part in the 2018 CHAN Tournament in Morocco after they were handed a humiliating 2-1 defeat by Burkina Faso at the Baba Yara Stadium.
I also blasted him for failing to put in place the appropriate logistics to ensure Ghana won the 2018 World Cup qualifier with the Red Devils of Congo in Kumasi. That game ended in a pulsating 1-1 stalemate.
A leader is always a learner and as a one who was always willing to learn from his mistakes, I think Hon. Isaac Asiamah took my criticisms in good faith and tightened his belt to steer a passionate office.
Despite starting with a false gear, he intelligently and calmly turned back to learn from his mistakes.
One major issue which the Minister has been able to handle out of the public’s envious view is the manner in which he has handled the bonuses of the national teams. A few or no complains at all have been heard from all the national teams with regard to bonuses.
The sensitive issue of bonuses, especially with the Black Stars, has always proved a huge test for previous Ministers who have all failed to tailor the matter well. Hon. Asiamah and his outfit have handled the sensitive issue of national team bonuses with a high level of maturity compared to a few Ministers who held the office earlier.
Another area I’ll love to commend the Minister and his staff on is how they are slowly, but surely, implementing the Government White Paper on the report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry set by former President Mahama in 2014.
As directed by the White Paper, there are no more multiple supporters groups as all have been converged under one umbrella. Bonuses of the national teams are now paid in the local currency – cedis – and through banks, as cash is a thing of the past now. Dwelling on the bonuses, I wish to laud his outfit for their initiative of not paying cash bonuses to players of the junior national teams, rather scholarship schemes and other development-oriented ventures will be secured for the players. A way to go, isn’t it?
Leadership, they say, is not about position or a title, it’s action and example. And I think Hon. Isaac Asiamah is doing exactly that. Before Hon. Asiamah became the Sports Minister, his predecessor was always jumping from one media house to the other, fighting federations and contradicting himself one numerous occasions. Perhaps, it has helped in shaping Hon. Asiamah to be an example.
The harmonious relationship between the current Sports Minister and the leadership of the 44 federations or associations is hugely remarkable and overwhelmingly exemplary. The cordiality is apt, the interaction – perfect and the coordination, tops all. His office has eventually become the lubricating oil for the federations to perform their functions well.
The Hon. Minister, however, made certain promises which we are expecting to be executed as he has given timelines as to when they will be done.
One key thing the Ministry has set out to do is to contract a research institution to conduct an extensive research into the contribution of sports to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country. This issue was identified as a key setback to sports development as government does not value sports and has not prioritised it because its contribution to the GDP isn’t known.
By identifying the true contribution of sports in the country, direct private investment, as well as government contribution to the sports industry, will be boosted since the country will know how much the industry contributes to the economy. I shall keep pressing for this to be done since it is dear to my heart.
Infrastructure development seems to be high on the agenda of the Sports Ministry as efforts are far advanced to get some of the stadia renovated while new sporting facilities are constructed in every region.
The Minister reiterated that 10 new modern sporting facilities are set to be constructed in all the regions with the Azumah Nelson Sports Complex receiving a major facelift to become one of the multi-purpose sports centers in the country. The most important thing is that, time lines were given to show the Ministry is really serious in getting these things done.
Apart from these, the Ministry in collaboration with the Works and Housing Ministry have secured a six bedroom apartment for the Black Stars coach –a venture which will be saving the country $92,000 a year – a little over GHC4m. The apartment will be the permanent residence for any Black Stars coach, meaning the country will be saving huge sums of money that hitherto, went into the hiring of accommodation for coaches. For me, this is the best initiative from the Ministry so far.
Still on infrastructure, anyone who has visited the Sports Ministry recently will attest to the fact that the current leadership is very serious with turning dust into gold. The whole structure of the Sports Ministry is undergoing transformation and the leadership must be tapped on the shoulder for such a venture.
As we wait anxiously for the promises to be fulfilled, I wish to alert the Sports Minister that a fish is not hailed for swimming since the water is its abode, and that he should not feel so proud of what he is doing in just twelve months. However, he must strive to do more for the sake of posterity.
My only hope and plea to His Excellency President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is that he keeps Hon. Isaac Asiamah in office for at least the entire period of his tenure for the country to reap the results of consistency.
@desheikh1 on twitter