At a very young age of thirty-three (33), he was made the Deputy Chief of Staff at the Office of the President, the youngest to have occupied that high office. Having distinguished himself in that office, he was rewarded by his constituents to be their representative in the Eighth Parliament, and later appointed by the President of the Republic to one of the biggest and busiest ministries in the country, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, to superintend over the management, exploitation and utilisation of the lands, minerals, forests and wildlife resources of the country.

And today, he has been given an additional responsibility as the caretaker Minister for Trade and Industry, another huge and very busy Ministry.

The story of Samuel Abdulai Jinapor should be an inspiration to the teeming youth of our country, and if there was any further evidence required to prove that the youth of this country, given the opportunity, can manage the affairs of the country, Mr. Jinapor is that proof.

From a humble beginning as an aide to the then Candidate Akufo-Addo, when many people doubted his loyalty, due to his brother’s association with the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr. Jinapor has distinguished himself with every single opportunity he has been given. The New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) shocking loss of the 2008 elections, having taken the lead in the first round, did not deter him. He continued to work diligently for the party, while pursuing his law career.

As Deputy Chief of Staff, he was in charge of Operations, and acted as Chief of Staff in the absence of his boss, Mrs. Akosua Frema Osei Opare. With humility, dedication, and commitment, he won the admiration, not only of the President and his boss, the Chief of Staff, but all those who came into contact with him.

Then he took the bold decision to contest the parliamentary seat of Damongo Constituency, the maternal hometown of the former President, John Dramani Mahama, a seat that has always been won by the NDC.

Hon Abu Jinapor

His constituents testify that he went to every corner of the constituency, engaging people one on one, and telling them why they should vote for him to lead them in Parliament.

Many were those who thought this was impossible, having regard to President Mahama’s connection to the Constituency, the stature of his opponent from the NDC, and the historical voting pattern of the Constituency. But again, he proved everyone wrong, and showed that hard work really pays.

By 8th January, 2020, he had won the elections with over fifty-four percent (54%) of valid votes cast.

Indeed, his colleagues in Parliament, testify to his prowess in arguments on the floor, and his contribution to debates. A recent survey published in the media, put him as the second best performing Member of Parliament, only after the MP for Effutu. Today, he has become the “star boy” not only for the people of Damongo Constituency, but the whole of Savannah Region.

But this is not the only time Abu Jinapor has proven people wrong. When President Akufo-Addo appointed him as Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, many questioned why such a young man would be put in charge of such a sensitive Ministry, with all the issues to do with illegal mining, illegal logging, Rosewood, land administration, among others.

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The prophets of doom predicted that he was destined to fail, but those who had followed him, at least from his time as Deputy Chief of Staff, knew what he was worth, and what he was bringing to the table.

Today, even though the issues of illegal mining have not been completely dealt with, there is no doubt, that he has distinguished himself in that office. From the ban on reconnaissance and prospecting in forest reserves, to the declaration of River Bodies as Red Zones for mining, the launch of Operation Halt II, the revamping of community mining schemes as alternative to illegal mining, the introduction of the National Alternative Employment and Livelihood Programme (NAELP), the introduction of mercury-free gold katchas, and the use of speed boats to patrol river bodies, are just some of the initiatives that he has brought into the fight against illegal mining. There is no doubt that our situation would have been worst without these initiatives.

In the Forestry sector, his ban on the harvesting, exporting, importing, trading and/or auctioning of Rosewood has crippled the cartels who were involved in this business, and has brought sanity to our attempts to protect these endangered species. His decision to introduce the Green Ghana Day, an idea he mooted during his vetting as Minister, has seen to the unprecedented planting of over thirty million (30,000,000) trees in two years.

And under his Green Street Initiative, the major streets of our country are having a facelift, with the planting of trees in the median of the roads.

His contribution to forest solutions to climate change has been recognised by the international community, and today, at a young age of thirty-nine (39), he co-chairs the flagship Forest and Climate Leaders’ Partnership (FCLP), made up of over thirty Ministers from different countries, with no other person than the United States’ Special Presidential Envoy on Climate, Secretary John Kerry.

Under his leadership, the Lands Commission, for the first time in the history of the country, is able to conduct a composite search from the various Divisions of the Commission, saving Ghanaians the stress of conducting three different searches from the same Commission. And to put the icing on the cake, these searches can now be conducted online, without the need to go through “goro boys.”

It is therefore not surprising that President Akufo-Addo has asked him to be the caretaker Minister for the Ministry of Trade and Industry, following the resignation of the substantive Minister, Hon. Alan Kyeremateng. With what he has done at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, and his previous work as Deputy Chief of Staff, there is no doubt that Abu Jinapor will distinguish himself with this additional responsibility too, despite the enormity of the work at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, and his commitment to the work of his constituency and Parliament.

Hon. Samuel A. Jinapor, MP, congratulations on this new feat, and continue to be an inspiration to the youth of this country. There is, obviously, no shortcut to success. As, arguably, the greatest footballer of all time, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, also known as Pele, puts it,

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”

Hopefully, your story will inspire many more youth to learn the virtues of hard work, humility, sacrifice and loyalty, and give our leaders the confidence to actively engage the youth in the affairs of the nation.

Iddi Muhayu-Deen

Student, Ghana School of Law
Member, New Patriotic Party (NPP)

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