Feature Article of Tuesday, 9 October 2012
Columnist: Abroni, Thomas
Dr. Michael Abu Sakara Foster, popularly known as Dr. Abu Sakara, is a
specialist in Agriculture and Rural Development (Development Agronomist).
Dr. Sakara is a family man, he is married to Mary-Lily Kafela (MBA), an
economist and Business Administrator. They have four Children aged 29, 26,
23 and 22. Their eldest daughter Miama Weppia (MSc) is an economist who now
works as an Executive for an international Bank based in Ghana. Seidu
Sakara (MSc), their only son, completed with distinction an M.Sc. in
Information Technology and Business at the London School of Economics and
now works for an international Oil and Gas company and is based in Ghana.
Yomba Biba (BSc.) the third born has completed a degree in Biology and
Business at the University of London, Queen Marys’ College and is on an
internship year in Ghana. The last born Alexia-Michelle returned from
London School of Arts and is on an exploratory year in Accra. Dr. Sakara
and his wife are now settled in Ghana focused on the real estate
development and farming. He is also the Executive Director of an
international consulting firm for Rural and Agricultural Development. Dr.
Sakara maintains links with his extended family in Bole-Mankuma and
Kpembe-Salaga and also his in-laws who hail from Kasem- Nankani in
Navrongo. His sense of family and community is a strong driving force for
Dr. Sakara is an open approachable person whose character is firmly
grounded on Christian principles of conduct in his private, social and
professional life. Dr Sakara maintains a wide network of friends and
associates from his international professional life and also from his
connections with different communities in various parts of Ghana. Dr.
Sakara’s broad international exposure makes him at ease dealing with a wide
diversity of peoples of varying social and religious backgrounds. He just
at ease with small scale farmers or Presidents of nations.
*International Outlook with Indigenous Roots*
Dr. Sakara’s ancestral roots are Guan and specifically Gonja in Northern
Ghana. His paternal roots are in the Kekulasi clan from Bole. Kekulasi
occupies a position of great honor and privilege in Gonja as Wurbinaah.
Kekulasi is inextricably linked to the seat of the Yabungwura (King of
Gonja) as Chief Councillor and Custodian of the kingdom’s secrets. Kekulasi
has oversight of the royal mausoleum at Mankuma that houses the remains of
all Yabungwura’s after Ndewura Jakpa, founder of the Kingdom. Dr. Abu
Sakara was born to a teacher and politician, the late Mr. S. S. Sakara, son
of Keulasi Wura Bamatu Borkma I. His father was popularly known as Teacher
S.S. Sakara, an Ankora man. Dr. Abu’s late father was a District
Commissioner and Member of Parliament for Damongo-Daboya Consitutency; and
also later a Regional Secretary of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) for
Northern region. Mr. S. S. Sakara, a contemporary and close ally of of
Imoru Egala, was a staunch and dedicated supporter of CPP. He played a
major role in political mobilization of support in the north of Ghana
pre-independence and subsequently in all CPP governments until his death in
1986. He was renoun for his good humor, humility, honesty, integrity, hard
work and competence.
On his maternal side Dr. Sakara hails from the house of Sunbung, one of
three traditional ruling houses of the Kpembe Division or Gate. Abu
Sakara’s mother, Hajiah Abiba Isaah, hails from Eastern Gonja, she lives in
Salaga when she is not with her son in Accra. Hajia Abiba Issah was also an
accomplished business woman – a whole sale trader in food commodities. Dr.
Sakara spent his early life in Kpember with his mother and grandmother. His
maternal grand uncle was the late Yabungwura Doshi I.
Dr. Sakara imbibed from his father values that underpin Nkrumahist brand of
scientific socialism as a political philosophy and learned from his
mother’s achievements respect for entrepreneurial thrift.
*Highly Qualified but Pragmatic Practitioner*
Dr. Sakara began school in Kpembe Primary school, East Gonja at age six
years and then moved to Sawla Primary school for a short period. Thereafter
he came back to school in Salaga untill the 1966. After the 1966 coup Abu
Sakara was sent to study and live with friends of his father Mr. and Mrs.
Foster, evangelical missionaries. He entered Yendi Secondary school as a
pioneer in 1972. Under the stewardship of the Fosters he later went to
study in the united Kingdom where he obtained his first degree in Soil
Science from the University of Reading. Dr. Sakara trained for a year as a
research Scholar at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in
Nigeria. He gained postgraduate training with the UK’s Overseas Development
Administration for his Masters degree and then worked as an Associate
Scientist in Mexico at the International Center for Maize and Wheat
Improvement. He completed His PhD at 27 years old and took up appointments
in Southern, Eastern, Central and West Africa consecutively.
*Proven Professional with Tangible Achievements*
Dr Abu Sakara’s work experience as an Agronomist spans over 29 years of
International Agricultural Development work in Africa and the Americas. Dr
Sakara has worked in several countries like Ghana that are all trying
similar economic development interventions to achieve prosperity and good
governance. The variety of results obtained and variations in management of
the interventions make for instructive comparison that is highly relevant
to Ghana’s situation today and in the future.
Dr. Sakara has applied his profession in the development of rural
economies. His speciality is on technology and institutional reforms for
improving productivity of the small scale farming sector. During his career
Dr. Sakara has visited to over thirty (30) countries on four continents and
been stationed on long term assignments in five countries. Dr. Sakara has
engaged with several international organizations and was the World Bank
Liaison person for his last employers, the Nippon Foundation. His
versatility enables him to relate with peoples of any standing in society,
from the high level policy makers to to ordinary people, especially small
scale rural farmers most of whom are women.
*Diasporan Experiencc of Successful Return to Ghana and Service to Community
Dr. Sakara has planned and carried out a gradual process of resettling his
family in Ghana over the past 15 years. Dr. Sakara resigned his
international position in May 2008 and returned home to focus on building a
new life in Ghana for himself and his family. He has now started a private
consulting firm and also supports joint business investments with his wife,
Mary-Lily Kafela –daughter of the late Mr. Alexander Tigenoah (MD for
Garnypharms Medical Supplies Ltd). Together they have jointly invested in
several types of business of which the successful ones that have remained
are MLK properties Ltd and its City Apartments in Accra and other projects
in Accra. Dr. Sakara also acquired land for a farm up north and has been
progressively making investments in it. He has so far established about 100
acres of cashew plantation and is ranching cattle on the farm. His
intention is now to focus on developing an agro-processing industry that
has a comparative advantage in that ecological niche. Dr. Sakara has
mobilized capital among his associates to form Buuwuloso One stop Rural
Bank based in Damongo. The rural bank serves a few Districts in Western
part of the Northern region.
*Mature Politician but Young outlook -Political Experience*
Dr. Sakara’s is committed to rebuilding the CPP to provide Ghanaians an
alternative choice to the two dominant parties. This will hopefully free
the country from the antagonism between the two major parties which seem to
be mired in the politics of acrimony to the detriment of the country. Abu
Sakara’s current and past efforts are firmly rooted in the belief that
Ghana’s democracy will benefit from a process that depolarizes the
political landscape to produce a more mature constructive opposition that
emerges an an alternative third force in Government.
Dr Sakara has supported parliamentarians in four constituencies in northern
Ghana since 1996 and participated in two election campaigns. He has also
been an active member of the Patriots whose efforts were aimed at
rebuilding the CPP. Dr. Sakara contested in the 2007 congress and won a
position as the first National vice chair person of the CPP. He has been at
the helm of affairs of the generation change that has rejuvenated the CPP
to become Ghana’s foremost party in ushering in the successor generation of
leaders since independence. The 54 year old Dr. Abu Sakara is the
Presidential candidate for the CPP in 2012 general elections. The CPP is
lead by 51 year old Samia Nkumah daughter of the founder of CPP and Ghana’s
Dr. Sakara considers it a privilege that it is his generation’s turn to
take on the mantle of responsibility to move the vision of the founding
fathers from political liberation to achieve economic emancipation.