FEATURE: Richard Iddrisu Ewuntomah: The apt definition of a real manager
I begin my story with a quote from American Automobile Executive Lee Iacocca who once said 'Decisiveness is the one word that makes a good manager'.
As a football writer and researcher, my quest to see the best standards set for the development of the game in the country has always led me to places I never dreamt of being. I started a football research on the topic 'The development of football in the northern part of Ghana', and even though I am yet to finish, I chanced upon a fascinating scenario at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium which I think deserve national acclamation.
I mentioned a name in the headline of this feature and I am fully convinced that 98% of the estimated thirty million Ghanaians do not know him.
Mr. Ewuntomah Richard Iddrisu is the Ashanti Regional Director of the national Sports Authority, a position that contributes a lot to the development of sports in every region.
I was overly thrilled and fascinated when I visited this gentleman at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium for a short interview on my stated subject earlier.
To my amazement, I saw a totally green football pitch at the stadium and I must admit that I was taken aback at the scene. 'Wow. Is this the Baba Yara pitch,' I murmured.
Prior to my visit to the Baba Yara Stadium, I had visited the brown dusty pitch at the Accra Sports Stadium and had poured out my disappointment at the state of the pitch. So seeing the Kumasi pitch really drove me crazy. I was really happy.
Whilst with Mr. Iddrisu, I swiftly tabled a request for the usage of the pitch for a big program and made him aware that my sponsors are ready to pay any amount no matter how big it will be. I had actually prepared for that anyway. So I showed him documents of the event and the money involved.
In a soft but respectful tone, he said "We have closed down the pitch for the next three weeks. We are not given it out until it is put back in an international shape. We started working on it about three weeks ago and we need to finish it.'
I felt disappointed and my body language epitomised the level of disappointment in me but he said again 'The state of the pitch now can be used but it will not give me the standard I want to set. I know you are disappointed but I am sorry to tell you that even if the President of the country comes for it now, I'll deny him. Maybe he will have to sack me. In the end all will know I did the right thing. I have started and I need to finish."
The seriousness with which he made his last statement pinched me to thank him for his stance. I was really happy even though I was disappointed in not winning the battle to use the pitch.
I expressed appreciation to him for his time and made him aware that despite the fact that he has denied me of the usage of the pitch, I am thrilled by his style of leadership. I cited the situation at the Accra Stadium as a great disappointment to the sports leadership of this country.
I gave a positive account of the Tamale Stadium where the Black Stars hosted Guinea and Togo ahead of the 2015 Afcon juxtaposing it to the current state of the pitch which was in a bad state when Ghana hosted Uganda there in October.
To my surprise, he told me 'I was in Tamale two years ago. I was the Northern Regional Director of NSA when Ghana played Guinea and Togo in the 2015 Afcon qualifiers.'
Just then, the title of this feature vibrated in me and I said 'Here is an example of a good manager'. He did it in Tamale and is repeating it in Kumasi. I know it will get to the turn of Accra. Mr. Iddrisu Accra needs you urgently.
Our informal chat then dived into a formal conversation metamorphosing into an interview. I knew there was more I needed to know.
Mr. Iddrisu told me he inherited a debt of over two billion old Ghana cedis (GHC200,000), with their ECG debt alone being two billion old cedis. There were no lights at the stadium and various users of the facility were also not paying their entitlements to the NSA when he was posted there in 2014.
As of the time we met, 5th January 2017, the debt toll on the Stadium facility was less than GHC50,000 (five hundred million old Ghana cedis) and the light at the stadium had never been disconnected for debts.
According to Iddrisu, he had to send a message to the national headquarters that the monthly revenue that the facility pays can't continue since he had to put the facility in a good position and truly, he is doing it.
I fell in love with the managerial style of this noble man because I felt he was doing the right thing and deserves commendation. Putting the stadium in a good shape is the first thing that ought to be done before any other thing follows.
I am personally fascinated about this man and see him as an example of a good manager because if all the other directors were to be epitomising his style, our stadia wouldn't be weeping for proper management.
Look at the state of the Accra Sports Stadium and the Tamale pitch when Ghana hosted Uganda there and compare it to the current state of the Baba Yara Stadium, you will then understand what is meant by the word management.
Let's hail the good, no matter how small, and not only dwell on the bad. Let others learn from Mr. Iddrisu.
Keep doing the good job, Ghana will one day celebrate Ewuntomah Richard Iddrisu.
By: Sheikh Tophic Sienu @desheikh1 on twitter
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