Kofi Adda and the 12-year-old
A 12-year-old boy won the heart of a cabinet minister for gaining admission into a senior high school with aggregate eight – but a Municipal Chief Executive, unenthused about the boy’s rare feat, rubbished a move by the media to bring the wonder kid into the limelight.
The boy was spotted among some first-year students at the Navrongo Senior High School (NAVASCO) when the Minister for Water and Sanitation and Member of Parliament (MP) for Navrongo Central, Joseph Kofi Adda, visited the school among some second-cycle institutions in the Upper East region to observe the implementation of the government’s fee-free education policy.
Whilst Mr. Adda, together with the Upper East Regional Minister, Rockson Ayine Bukari, was addressing the students in a hall, the boy, who mentioned his name as Jeremiah Ngambire and said he hailed from Pelungu in the Nabdam District, told Starr News in a whispered interview he was 12 years of age and that he gained admission this year on an aggregate eight obtained at the Lovely Home Academy, a private school in the Central region.
When Starr News took the boy to the dignitaries as they were about to leave the hall, an enthralled Kofi Adda held the boy warmly close and asked him what programme he had been admitted to pursue. “Science,” he replied. The minister, then, pulled out a complimentary card from his chest pocket and handed it out to the student. “Give this to your parents,” the MP said. “I want you to read medicine and be my doctor in the future,” he added as the hall smiled and cheered.
But the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Kassena Nankana, Williams Aduum, shocked many after he dragged the media into a telephone row to dispute the relevance of a proposed publicity for the boy.
Discoveries of this nature will inspire youngsters in basic schools if they hear about them, hence a move by Starr News to make it known to the public- but first to extract more details from the boy as to how he came by the exploit.
He could not readily provide contacts to his parents, but he mentioned that his family lived at Sokabiisi, a suburb of Bolgatanga, the Upper East regional capital. There was hardly time to get more information at that moment than just the name of the residential area he mentioned as the minister’s convoy was heading in a hurry for the Sandema Senior High/Technical School- the next school on the tour list.
After the trip, Starr News placed a telephone call to the headmistress in charge of NAVASCO, Francisca Yizura, to help reestablish contact with the boy so he could give a clear direction as to how his parents could be traced in Bolgatanga. She agreed.
But about an hour later, she gave Starr News a call, saying the MCE had requested to speak on the intended publicity. The MCE, speaking through the headmistress’s phone apparently from her office, questioned the motive behind the move to project the boy. As far as he was concerned, there was nothing special about a boy being in a senior high school at 12 years and that any interview engagement with him would only distract his studies.
“What is new about it? Would you go round and interview all the students who have been placed in various schools? We have exceptional children that start school early. We have students who are 20 years and are in form one. You can be four and you start primary one,” he argued strongly.
The MCE also claimed the student was “nervous” and “shedding tears” at the headmistress’s office after he was told “a journalist was coming to interview him”.
Starr News managed to trace a mobile contact to the proprietor of the boy’s immediate-old school, Rev. James Ayarega. He provided a link to his father, Shadrack Ngambire, who confirmed his son’s age and the aggregate he got.
“His mother was once a volunteer teacher in one of the government schools at Kakiase, a community under the Bole District. He was born on 31st August, 2005. The secret is God. He started school when he was 3 years. The child too, by God’s grace, likes learning. He started primary school in 2011. God being so good, they realised that he was doing well; so, from primary one he was given double promotion to primary three and from primary three he was jumped to primary five,” the father said.
Before his visit to NAVASCO, the minister had taken his tour to the Bolgatanga Senior High School (BIG BOSS), the Bolgatanga Girls Senior High School (BOGISS) and the Notre Dame Minor Seminary Senior High School.
He described the takeoff of the Free Senior High School Policy (FSHSP) in the region as smooth and told fresh students everywhere he went that the policy had brought relief to legislators nationwide.
“Please, be serious and studious. Work hard and make sure we do what we can to help our country to develop and to prosper. Every day, you should also say a prayer for Nana Akufo-Addo to have long life and be strong for the government to survive to be able to get money to help you to pay the rest of your school fees the next two years coming and for your younger ones who are coming.
“We MPs now can sleep. If we had no free SHS, tomorrow you (fresh students from Navrongo) would be in my house. Now I can rest. We are here to beg you to do the right thing for your own good. Do the best you can. Make your parents happy. Make your schools proud. And serve better Ghana well,” Mr. Adda told the students.
The Upper East Regional Minister, who all through the tour also grabbed his turn to address the students each time after Mr. Adda had finished speaking, underscored the need for the students to manage their time seriously, saying golden opportunities were attracted to only those who valued punctuality and cherished discipline in general.