Ghana’s High Commissioner to India, Mike Oquaye Jnr, has successfully gone through vetting to challenge the Deputy Majority Leader and Minister of State in charge of Public Procurement, Sara Adwoa Safo, for the Dome Kwabenya parliamentary slot of the governing New Patriotic Party.
The two would be facing off for the second time since 2012.
Mr Oquaye Jnr, first son of the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, would be following the steps of the father should he become successful in the primaries slated for April 25.
Professor Mike Oquaye came back from India as Ghana’s High Commissioner to become the MP for Dome Kwabenya from 2004 to 2012.
About the constituency
The Dome-Kwabenya constituency, a traditional NPP seat, was partitioned from the former Ga North constituency in 2004. Professor Mike Oquaye, first MP for the area, spent two terms in Parliament, leaving the House in 2012. He won the seat with 42,914 in 2004, against the NDC’s Isaac Adama, who polled 21,161 votes. However, in 2008, the Reverend Professor reduced the NPP’s vote to 35,321, when he faced the NDC’s Zita Okaikoi, who appreciated the NDC’s vote to 24,163.
Before becoming the NPP’s parliamentary candidate for the 2008 election, Professor Oquaye defeated Adwoa Safo in the NPP’s parliamentary primaries with 52 votes against 13. Those were the days that the NPP had limited number of delegates electing its candidates.
Ahead of the 2012 election, when Professor Oquaye opted out of Parliament, Adwoa Safo defeated Mike Oquaye Jnr in the parliamentary primaries with 186 votes, against 124.
She subsequently won the parliamentary election, convincingly, with 63,373 votes, representing 63.75 per cent, against the NDC’s Sophia Karen Ackuaku, who polled 35,366 votes, representing 35.58 per cent.
Notwithstanding the massive victory, Ms Safo challenged the results, revealing serious electoral infractions. The basis of the challenge prompted the NPP to take a second look at the national results, whereupon the party filed its now famous 2012 Election Petition at the Supreme Court.
By 2016, the NPP had expanded its electoral college and Dome-Kwabena had close to 1,000 delegates. In the primaries, Ms Safo, who was seeking a second term in Parliament, defeated her sole contender, Isaac Amofa, with 674 votes, against 249.
The Dome Kwabenya constituency produced the highest number of voter turn-out in the whole country in 2016. Though the constituency was second with 138,557 people on its voter register, coming after Ketu South in the Volta Region which had 141,698 number of registered voters, 94,030 voters turned out to vote.
Adwoa Safo increased her votes to 66,488, representing 67.99 per cent, against the NDC’s Nurudeen Mohammed, who decreased his party’s votes to 29,392 representing 31.48 per cent.
About Oquaye Jnr
Mr Oquaye Jnr was among 22 other distinguished Ghanaians who were named to head various Ghana’s diplomatic missions by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in 2017.
Ghana’s High Commissioner to India is contesting the upcoming primaries for the second time, after losing in the 2012 primaries to Adwoa Safo. A vibrant party follower, Mr Oquaye is a former Deputy Greater Accra Regional Communications Officer of the party. He is a loyal party member, who has exhibited loyalty to, especially, the foot soldiers of the party.
There are reports that after losing in 2012, he declared support for the second term bid of Ms Safo, hence the decision not to contest in 2016.
It is believed that his loss in the 2012 primaries was partly occasioned by his relation with the then sitting MP, Professor Oquaye. Many in the party believed at the time that the seat was not a “family stool” to be inherited.
Mr Oquaye Jnr is an international lawyer, who was called to practice in England, Wales and Ghana. He is a former student of the Presbyterian Boys Secondary School (Legon PRESEC). He holds an LL.B from the Oxford Brookes University in the UK. In 2006, he took the Bar Vocational Course at the BPP Law School.
Adwoa Safo was appointed as the Minister of State in charge of Procurement at the Presidency in March 2017. Entering Parliament in 2012, she is currently the Deputy Majority Leader, the first female MP in Ghana to occupy that position.
From a privileged home, she did not attend both basic and senior high schools but was home tutored. She wrote and passed the GCE ‘A’ Level in 1998 and entered the University of Ghana’s Faculty of Law at age 17, where she obtained her Bachelor of Law (L.L.B.) degree in 2002. She continued to the Ghana School of Law and was called to the Bar in October 2004, at the age of 22, the youngest lawyer ever to be called to the Ghana Bar.
She furthered her education at the George Washington University Law School, United States, where she obtained a Masters of Law Degree (LLM) in Government Procurement Law in 2005. Ms Safo worked briefly with the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Colombia, Washington DC, United States, before returning to Ghana.
In late 2005, she joined the law firm Kulendu @ law, then Zoe, Akyea & Co, as a private legal practitioner. She concurrently serves on the Mediation Committee of the Legal Aid Board of Ghana as a Mediator. She also offers her services as a legal practitioner to many Legal Aid clients for free.
She worked as the first legal officer of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) for two years, and was very instrumental in the formulation of the proposals that formed the basis for the creation of the Appeals and Complaint Panel of PPA and the change of the name Public Procurement Board to Public Procurement Authority.
She currently owns a legal firm, AS, AA &CITI – Law, Kantanka Chambers, which she established in 2009, with her area of specialty being public procurement law.
Ms Safo was active in student politics during her school days. She was the vice-president of the Law Students Union (LSU), 2001 – 2002) and a member of the Volta Hall Judicial Committee from 2001 – 2002.