Victor Smith Dropped
PRESIDENT JOHN Dramani Mahama yesterday nominated two more persons for appointment as regional ministers in his government, dropping Victor Smith as Eastern Regional Minister.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Tourist Board (GTB), Julius Debrah was nominated as Eastern Regional Minister to replace Mr Smith, whilst one Dr Ephraim Avea Nsoh got the nomination for Upper East Regional Minister.
The names of the nominees were contained in a statement issued and signed by Executive Secretary to the President, Dr Raymond Atuguba, a day after the President had left the country for London to attend the launch of former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo’s Foundation.
This came as a major blow to Mr Smith who was Ghana’s Ambassador to the Czech Republic, in view of the fact that the President had nominated people to occupy virtually all government ministries, with the only vacant positions yet to be filled being for deputy ministers.
Mr Smith, who openly criticized the nomination of Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, also lost his bid to represent the people of Abuakwa North in parliament.
His senior brother, Lt General Joseph Henry Smith, has already been dropped as Defence Minister and replaced with former Upper East Regional Minister, Mark Woyongo, who was said to be a close pal of the President.
Victor Smith contested but lost Abuakwa North constituency parliamentary elections to the former New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP, J.B. Danquah Adu.
It was not clear whether Victor Smith’s removal had anything to do with his open criticism of the President and then candidate Mahama when he named Vice President Amissah-Arthur, who was then the Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), as his running mate for the December 2012 elections.
He, among other things, said, ‘He (referring to Amissah-Arthur) does not exude that charisma and passion for a position of a running mate’, therefore ‘I don’t think Mr Amissah-Arthur will bring any fortune to the NDC because he is not much known even to the rank and file of the NDC which he is a member of, let alone the general populace’.
Although he later apologized to the President, some believed the decision to replace him had something to do with his criticism of the President.
Ephraim Avea Nsoh, the Upper East Regional Minister-designate, would take over from Mark Woyongo.
He was the first youth organizer for NDC in the Bongo constituency.
Nsoh is also a senior lecturer at the Department of Gur-Gonja Languages Education of the University of Education,
His area of research, our search revealed, included morphological and syntactic theory, African oral literature and lexicography. He is touted to have attended several local and international conferences, and has a number of publications to his credit.
Before his nomination, one voice sounding confident declared, ‘I don’t believe the President will make such a mistake to go for Hon John Tia, or Moses Asaga for regional minister given what they caused the party because of their dictatorial tendencies.
But in the unlikely event that one of them bulldozes his way and gets appointed, the president should be prepared to meet the entire Upper East Region on the streets of Bolgatanga.’
Notable among the individuals and groups that declared their support for Dr Avea for the post of regional minister include the Paramount Chief of the Bongo Traditional Area, Naba Alemyarum Baba Salifu, the Upper East Youth Association, and some women groups in the region.
One of the most recent public statements endorsing the candidature of Dr Avea for the regional minister was the regional youth voice known as the Upper East Youth Association.
BY Charles Takyi-Boadu