I Chose Oppong Nkrumah As My Deputy - Mustapha Hamid Speaks After Reshuffle

The former Minister of Information, Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid has revealed that he handpicked and recommended Kojo Oppong Nkrumah to be appointed as a deputy Minister of Information.

To him, he was "overly excited" that somebody he trusts and have confidence in, and chose with the help of President Akufo-Addo as his deputy, continues to elicit the confidence of the President and has been promoted as a substantive Minister of Information.

According to Dr Abdul-Hamid, when he was appointed as a Minister and President Akufo-Addo asked him to recommend who he wanted to work with, he handpicked Kojo Oppong Nkrumah to be his deputy.

In a radio interview on Joy FM Thursday evening, moments after the first major ministerial changes made by President Akufo-Addo had been announced, Dr Abdul-Hamid said Oppong Nkrumah was the only person he personally handpicked out of the three deputy Information Ministers.

Dr Abdul-Hamid has been moved to the Inner City and Zongo Development Ministry and Oppong Nkrumah has been nominated as the substantive Minister of Information.

Oppong Nkrumah, currently a deputy Minister of Information and Member of Parliament for Ofoase Ayirebi in the Eastern Region would now have to go through Parliamentary vetting for approval or otherwise as a substantive minister of state.

Oppong Nkrumah's promotion
Responding to what he makes of Kojo Oppong Nkrumah's promotion and his skills to take over from him, Dr Abdul-Hamid said: "I have Kojo's permission now so I'm going to say this publicly for the first time ever."

"I, with the acceptance of the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo made Kojo Oppong Nkrumah my deputy. The President was gracious to me, when he asked me to be minister for Information, he was gracious to me by saying, I want you to nominate somebody who shall be your deputy, and I said to him that, I want Kojo, first of all because, I had developed a relationship with Kojo over the years, I trusted his expertise in this area and experience and when I suggested it to the President, the President said you have it."

"So quite frankly, of the three deputies, he is the only one that I personally had a hand in choosing, I personally brought to the place and Kojo knows that. He just told me a week ago that my brother, I think that this time, it is time for you to make the public know, because people say all sorts of things in the public space, that they don't know what they are talking about, so I brought him, and I have absolute confidence in him."

"The other part of our story, that, we shall tell at another time but I will tell this for the meantime and let people know I am overly excited that somebody that I have trust and confidence in and chose with the help of the president to be my deputy, continues to elicit the confidence of the President," Dr Abdul-Hamid said.   

Is Mustapha Abdul-Hamid's movement to Inner City a demotion?
"Hahahaha, I have not...well, it is not, we are all ministers, we all sit in Cabinet and so on, that hasn't changed. If I had been taken out of the Cabinet perhaps, you could say I have been demoted but even most importantly, I have been given a higher calling in my view, because there is no better service than service to your people," Dr Abdul-Hamid said when he was asked whether he has been demoted.

"I am a Moslem and our scriptures tell us that, we have been created solely for the purpose of worship. In other words. the worship of the Almighty Allah, and therefore there is no better service to the Almighty Allah than service to a community that is largely inhabited by Moslems. Quite frankly, I am beside myself with excitement, I must tell you that," Dr Abdul-Hamid said in the Joy FM interview when he was reached on a telephone for his reaction to the reshuffle.

Explaining what makes the new portfolio suitable for his skills, Dr Abdul-Hamid said: "Well, I'm sure you know that I'm an Islamic scholar, I taught Islam at the University of Cape Coast until February last year, when the President made me a minister."

"I'm a product of the Zongo community and I understand the psychology of the people, I understand the needs of the people, the dynamics of the place, you need that connection to be able to serve the people and I believe that the president has made the right calculation in deciding that you need somebody who understands the philosophy that underpins the Zongo community, which of course is Islam."  

In his view, he said President Akufo-Addo couldn't have chosen a better person than him.

Priorities at Inner City and Zongo Development

Touching on his priorities at the new portfolio, Dr Abdul-Hamid said the outgone minister, Boniface Abubekr Saddique has already done a lot of work in the sector in relation to Asawasi, Astroturf at Madina Zongo, Kyebi, Walewale, the drains, boreholes and rehabilitation of schools and so he is not starting on a "clean slate."

He said structures has already been laid and there is a blueprint in place, unlike the Information Ministry which he had to start afresh because Former President John Mahama collapsed it in 2013 and put it under Communication.

"I agree I have to come with my own set of priority and vision and so on but its basically to improve on what he has done and my understanding is that the development fund, for now, is about some $20million or so with the possibility of scaling up," he said.

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