Otiko Djaba: A True Politician
At the end of a keenly contested national delegates congress, she was the only person who was re-elected to be among the new executives.
This vibrant woman, Otiko Afisa Djaba, was re-elected as the National Women’s Organiser of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) at the party’s national delegates conference in the Tamale Sports Stadium in the Northern Region.
Narrowly escaping the axe of the party’s delegates by 26 votes to beat her closest contender, she thus becomes the only woman who is currently on the party’s national executive body.
A born-and-bred politician at heart, this young-looking and intelligent woman was born to the late Mr Henry Kojo Djaba from Somanya, and Madam Shieta Bawa from Bole in the Northern Region.
The second of 21 siblings, she was inspired into politics by her father, who was the NPP’s first National Treasurer during the Busia regime.
Although Ms Djaba aspired to become a lawyer, which was also her father’s dream, that could not materialise.
A ‘Daddy’s girl’ while growing up, she had her dream of becoming a lawyer truncated when her father went into exile in the 1970s
following the coup that toppled Busia’s government in January 1972 .
Her father, a wealthy businessman, stayed in exile in the United Kingdom (UK) till 2000. This marked the end of her dream of becoming a lawyer.
A product of Tamale Secondary School in the Northern Region, Ms Djaba joined her father in 1978 in the UK to continue her education.
She had to stop her formal education to train as a secretary so that she could work to survive as her father’s health was failing at that time.
Times became harder for young Otiko, as her father was struggling with ill health and, therefore, could not support her any longer. She had to do menial jobs such as washing dishes to survive.
In the 1980s, determined to do something better with her life, she put herself back in school where she studied communications and marketing and came out with a Diploma in Communications and Marketing in the UK.
She came back to Ghana, got married and worked for the now defunct Bank for Housing and Construction as a secretary.
Still not satisfied with her academic laurels, Ms Djaba returned to the UK with her husband where she went back to college to graduate as a Computer Systems analyst.
Passion for motherland
With a passion to do something for her motherland, she came back to Ghana and started working to improve the lives of children and the underprivileged, especially in deprived communities.
She produced ‘Kokrokoo,’ a popular children’s programme which was aired on Ghana Television (GTV) in the late 1990s to early 2000s.
She also worked for Plan Ghana, a child-centred international non-governmental organisation, at Tumu in the Upper West Region.
Her current political zeal came alive as she worked for Plan Ghana in 58 deprived communities in the Upper West Region and 40 others in Wa.
With her communications background, Ms Djaba also started a television series dubbed ‘Whatzup-Let’s Talk’ in the Sissali dialect on GTV and also introduced ‘Movers and Shakers’ for adults on GTV.
Amassing a lot of experience on the field by getting to know the needs of the people, Ms Djaba in 2008 contested the BoleBamboi seat on the ticket of the NPP but lost to the current sitting President, Mr John Dramani Mahama.
Without giving up, she came down to Accra and contested the Women’s Organiser position of her party, which she won.
A member of the National Communications Team of her party, Ms Djaba speaks eight local dialects: Hausa, Gonja, Dagbani, Wale, Twi, Fanti, Ga and Krobo.
She setup the ‘Girls-Girls’, ‘Kayayei,’ the Disabled and Queenmothers initiatives for the party’s 2012 elections.
A unifier at heart, Ms Djaba intends to organise a reunion dubbed “Nkabom Crusade.” This will bring together the rank and file, particularly women, within the NPP.
“My win is a favour from God and I feel humbled. I also feel a sense of unification to bring all women on board for the good of the party and therefore the “Nkabom crusade.”
To ensure that more women are elected into leadership positions at the constituency, district, regional and national levels, Ms Djaba says she is going to work at identifying potential women leaders who will contest both in local and national elections.
Her main agenda for the upcoming district assembly elections and the 2016 general election is to increase the number of women at the assembly level and in Parliament.
She is thus going to work with young ladies, especially those in tertiary institution, queens and other identifiable women’s groups to help increase the number of women in the country’s politics.
What inspires her
Ms Djaba says her passion for reducing poverty and hunger, as well as her faith in God, is what keeps her going.
She likes listening to music in her spare time and also reads and prays a lot.
She enjoys dancing and singing but says she does not have a good voice.