My 1994 School of Administration First Year Classmate
Monday 25th October is the birthday of the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP’s) General Secretary John Boadu, a brilliant political strategist and a man who embodies one of the finest examples of a fully formed grassroot to political apex brand. In a chat with him recently, he said “Charlie, Bob we need to come back to the Business School to challenge some of the theories of management, because trust me, what it takes to manage a political party, is very different from some of the management theories we read”. Of course, I said, OK, because I have always been a big believer in contesting the received wisdom from western theories and concepts, with the reality of the African context, and finding ways to get these theories to work for the growth of the African continent at public, private and non-for-profit sector levels. Such is the character of John Boadu, a man always willing to give back and serve society in any way he can.
Before I get into celebrating this political colossus, let me say that I walked into the School of Administration (now University of Ghana Business School) in 1994 with an army of classmates, including John Boadu. Fairly quiet and unassuming, he still carried a wicked sense of humor. There was one time, he questioned an Accounting Lecturer who was insisting on having us tackle accounting class course work with a textbook that has had pounds and pence instead of cedis (this was an accounting class in Ghana after all). The lecturer insisted we should deal with the issues in pounds and pence, amidst some sniffles and quiet laughter) and declared not too long afterwards, his class was not a democracy, and we should not contest him, and that whatever he said as law. Now that was met with loud laughter. But enough reminiscing for now, let me go now to celebrate John Boadu on his birthday.
In a School of Administration class, that has produced a Human Resource Director of a major multinational Telecommunications firm, Managing Directors of Real Estate and Private Equity Firms, Chartered Accountants, and successful entrepreneurs, it has also produced a Dean of the University of Ghana Business School, Head for the Department of Accounting for the same School, and two Heads of the Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship as well. I could go on and on and on, but even in this illustrious list, John Boadu stands tall as the General Secretary of the ruling NPP party in Ghana.
John’s Political Experience
John Boadu is the only officer in the history of the NPP who has served the party in an executive position at all levels. i.e., from the Polling Station, to Constituency, to Regional and to the National level. He has served as Polling Station Chairman, Constituency Secretary, Research, and Information Director (Greater Accra Region), National Finance Officer, National Youth Treasurer, National Youth Organizer, Deputy National Communications Director, National Organizer and General Secretary.
He is the longest serving officer of the Party at the National Secretariat having worked at the national headquarters since 2001. He began as the first elected National Youth Treasurer, and then became National Finance Officer, then National Youth Organizer, then Deputy National Communications Director, then National Organizer, then Director of National Campaign Operations and Logistics (both in the 2016 and 2020 general elections), then acting General Secretary and eventually became the substantive General Secretary of the Party.
Indeed, John Boadu’s political activism dates to the days of the founding of the NPP (i.e., before 1992), where as a young activist, he joined senior members of his political tradition including H.E John Kufour, Chairman Da Rocha, Nana Akufo-Addo in the famous Danquah-Busia Club. He served as a polling station chairman and became a Polling Agent for the Party in 1996 elections. In the buildup to the election 2000, John Boadu served as a trainer of trainers for the Party in the Greater Accra and Volta Regions.
John’s Election Management Experience
In the 2016 and 2020 elections, John Boadu, as general secretary and director of operations and logistics, did not only ensure that adequate resources and campaign logistics were made available to all constituencies and regions, but also that they were made available on time, and were effectively supervised. He also spearheaded nationwide training workshops and orientation programmes for party officers at the regional, constituency and polling station levels ahead of the general elections of 2016 and 2020, to adequately prepare them for the elections. It could be argued that some of the evidence of the efficacy of these John Boadu-led training programmes, was the party’s resounding victory in the two general elections.
John Boadu, in the runup to the 2016 general elections, introduced and successfully implemented the “adopt the polling station and constituency campaign” strategy which saw individual members of the Party and organized groups make deliberate efforts in investing resources and logistics in specific polling stations/constituencies they had identified and adopted as part of this campaign.
The most significant achievement of John Boadu in election management for the NPP was the successful roll out of a robust IT architecture (an election management software known as pink sheet tracking system), which made it possible for the Party to collate its nationwide election results from all the 38,000 polling stations in record time of less than 12 hours after the polls. This is said to be the earliest or fastest collation of elections results undertaken by any political party in this world.
At the peak of the NPP’s internal crisis in the lead up to the 2016 general elections, culminating in the party having to suspend its National Chairman and General Secretary; the burden of delivering a seemingly impossible electoral victory for the then “disintegrated and crisis-ridden NPP”, was essentially put on the shoulders of John Boadu who was then the National Organizer of the Party. He had the onerous responsibility of organizing the rank and file of the party across all levels for the 2016 elections.
He was handed another huge responsibility by the National Executive Committee of the Party, to head the party’s National Secretariat as the Acting General Secretary. As if that was not enough, he was again given an additional layer of responsibility as the position of Director of Operations for the entire 2016 campaign of the party. John Boadu never complained; in fact, he graciously accepted the challenge and went ahead to competently blend these three strategic positions placed on him and delivered an unprecedented victory for the NPP in the elections.
John Boadu led the NPP to win the Presidential elections by over 1 million valid votes, which till date, remains the biggest margin of victory secured by any political party in a general election throughout the fourth republic. Not only that, but he also led the party to snatch as many as 55 parliamentary seats from the then governing NDC, which had everything to its advantage. Again, this record chalked by NPP under the General Secretaryship of John Boadu is yet to be broken in this country.
On the international front, John Boadu’s political experience and track record in competently managing the affairs of the NPP, have consistently received international recognition by political parties across the globe including the Conservative Party of UK, the Communist Party of China, the Christian Democrat Union of Germany, and indeed by the International Democratic Union (IDU), which is the global alliance of all right-wing political parties and like-minded organizations and think-tanks.
Equally, in recognition of his organizational skills and records particularly in promoting party discipline and democracy in Ghana and on the continent of Africa, John Boadu was, on 25th September 2020, elected as the Deputy Chairman of the Democratic Union of Africa (DUA), a position he still occupies.
Prior to his elevation to this position, the NPP General Secretary served as DUA vice chair in charge of West Africa. DUA is the African Chapter of all center-right to right wing political parties and like-minded organizations on the continent. He also once served as Secretary-General, Organization of African Liberal Youth between 2003-to 2006.
Happy Birthday John
Let me end this eulogy, by reminding you that a man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven (John 3:27) and even as your path shineth more and more unto the perfect day (Proverbs 4:18), the good Lord himself will teach you to number your days so you may apply your heart unto wisdom (Psalm 90:12). I wish you nothing but the best, successful re-election as General Secretary next year, and if God wills it, a breaking of the eight, like you so passionately refer to it.
Dr. Robert Hinson is an Award-Winning Professor of Marketing who was recently ranked the #1 Marketing Scholar in Africa according to the AD Scientific Index Report 2021(https://www.adscientificindex.com/scientist.php?id=89518)