ABEEKU DICKSON, 47, a leading contender for the General Secretary position of the New Patriotic Party, says the performance of former General Secretary Dan Kwaku Botwe, would be a tough act to follow. He is nonetheless confident that his commitment and long apprenticeship with the Party has enabled him to meet members at various levels, and makes him the obvious choice for the position, come November 19.
Mr Dickson made the comment in an exclusive interview with The Statesman Tuesday, which was the basis of our lead story in Wednesday's edition. Mr Dickson warned his party not to risk throwing away power by handing over the leadership of the party to people who have no “proven track record of commitment, loyalty, trust and hard work” for the party.
Mr Dickson also dismissed his main contender, Nana Ohene Ntow, as a party member who is still on probation.
Reminding the Party of his long association with the Danquah-Busia tradition, Mr Dickson said: “Since 1979 I have been an ardent, active and loyal activist, member and advocate of the UP tradition. I have between 1992 and now served a long apprenticeship as a leading figure in the Party's youth organisation. I in fact led the Youth Wing as its National Chairman from 1998 to 2000. I know my party north and south, east and west.”
The former Deputy Director of the National Service Secretariat also lays claim to his “people skills” and his leadership and administrative acumen in the public service as one of his strong points. From 1995-1999, he was the Chairman of the Senior Staff Association of the Produce Buying Company and served on various committees of the company.
Mr Dickson, who sees himself as a one-term General Secretary, cites as his weaknesses his very high tolerance level and his lack of ambition. He believes that but for his lack of ambition, he would have risen faster on the Party's ladder. He admits that at 47, he may be too old to be General Secretary, “a position that requires a lot of energy and dynamism,” but is quick to add that although the other candidates are younger, he is more mature and it is for this reason that he chose to contest the position.
He sees himself as a one-term General Secretary He welcomes the competition from the other candidates who he believes are all fairly capable. He acknowledges his friendship especially with Andy Appiah-Kubi, who succeeded him as National Chairman of the Youth Wing of the Party, and Ferdinand Ayim, the substantive Tourism Minister's Special Assistant. Mr Abeeku Dickson was part of the Foundation Membership of the National Youth Wing of the Party when the NPP was formed. He has actively participated in the campaigns and agitations of the Party since 1992 through elections in 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004.
In 1996 he contested the parliamentary primaries in the Agona West Constituency; he has since become a major pillar of the constituency for the NPP.
In 1998 he became the Acting National Chairman of the Youth Wing of the NPP after Alhaji Malik Alhassan Yakubu, MP and Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament. As National Chairman he led the youth wing to jointly establish the Organisation of African Liberal Youth, and to become candidate member of the International Federation of Liberal and Radical Youth. He also developed partnerships of the NPP Youth Wing with the Swedish International Liberal Centre, the Frederich Naumann Foundation, and the International Academy for Leadership of Germany.
He organised a lot of training workshops for the youth of the Party and for party activists across the country. He arranged for several youth members to participate in international youth seminars in Germany, South Africa, Canada, Sweden, Senegal and Burkina Faso. Most of these young men and women are in the NPP government as Ministers, Members of Parliament, and District Chief Executives. A lot more are in national, regional, constituency and polling station executive positions of the Party itself.
He led the youth wing in various activities including poster campaigns and membership drives. He led the inauguration of several TESCON branches of the Party in tertiary institutions. He actually opened up the NPP Youth Wing to make it an all-embracing, attractive organisation.
In September 2003, he was appointed the Deputy Director of the National Service Secretariat. In February 2004 the Board of National Service found his principles and dynamism inconsistent with their style. The Board terminated his appointment. In the five months that he spent at the Secretariat, his initiatives were so profound that it permeated the whole country.
He has been practicing as a lawyer since March 2005.