When President Akufo-Addo nominated a certain Mustapha Ussif as his new Sports Minister in his second term of office, many were those who were taken aback by the shocking nomination.
For a young man completely alien to the sports terrain, and therefore, a rookie in sports administration, those who raised doubts could not have been begrudged.
Indeed, there were two groups who raised apprehension; those who feared for the sports industry, being handed to an inexperienced hand at a crucial time and those who feared for Mustapha Ussif, that by sending him to the volatile sports Ministry, the young, promising, politician was being prepared for the slaughter house.
More importantly, however, there was a third group, in significant minority though, who welcomed Mustapha's appointment and believed he had what it takes to succeed at the Sports Ministry. This group was led by the President himself, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
By appointing Ussif to succeed the experienced Isaac Asiamah as sports Minister, at a time Ghana Sports needed so much attention and intervention, clearly showed the volume of confidence President Akufo-Addo had in the administrative acumen of his new Sports Minister nominee.
President Akufo-Addo’s confidence in Mustapha Ussif, surely, would have been inspired by the rave reviews of the young legislator's transformational stewardship of the National Service Scheme. But inspite of that, coupled with his assured delivery during his parliamentary vetting, I was still unimpressed by Mustapha Ussif's appointment, and I predicted a calamitous reign at the Sports Ministry.
I asked myself: if his two immediate predecessors, Issac Asiamah, and Nii Lantey Vanderpuije, who had considerable industry experience, didn't get things too easy, how could a novice like Mustapha navigate through the myriad of problems at the Sports Ministry.
But every doubting Thomas is usually humbled, and I am unashamed to admit that after over a year in charge of the red-hot Ministry, Mustapha Ussif has humbled me as a critic, and also reposed the huge confidence President Akufo-Addo had in him.
After informing the press what he has been doing so far at the 'Meet the Press' last week, I watched with admiration as Mustapha Ussif went through some interviews on radio and television. His composure and great delivery, especially on Asempa FM and Metro TV's Good Evening Ghana, cast him out as a man on top of his game.
In this review of Mustapha Ussif's reign as Sports Minister so far, three things stand out, which have significantly contributed to making him an outstanding Minister so far. They are relationship, innovation and results.
During his parliamentary vetting, I noticed the calm, composed and friendly posture of members of the Vetting Committee towards Mustapha Ussif. Even usually antagonistic members of the panel, including those from the minority side, appeared friendly towards Mustapha, who also reciprocated with a combination of humility in his posture and responses.
With this, I thought Mustapha Ussif as a man who naturally cherished maintaining relationships and humility. I thought, if he went to the Ministry with these attributes, and was able to maintain this humility and excellent relationship with sports stakeholders, then he might be on the right path.
From my observation as a critic, and the analysis of what sports stakeholders have been saying, it appears Mustapha has established and improved the relationship between the Ministry of Youth and Sports and many stakeholders of the Ministry.
It is fair to note that Mustapha's predecessor, Isaac Asiamah, did well to create a harmonious environment devoid of rancour between the Minis…
By Nana Frempong Manso