Johnson Asiedu Nketia is a Ghanaian politician and the General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC). He is devoted Christian and a member of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana where he once served as an Elder.
He was born in Seikwa, a village in the Wenchi Municipal District of the then Brong Ahafo Region (now Bono Region) of Ghana on December 24, 1956 to the late Nana Kwaku Asiedu, a farmer from the Oyoko Royal family and Madam Hagar Akosua Afrah of the Akwamu Royal family. He is the fifth child of his parent’s nine children. He is married to Mrs Vida Adomah Nketia, and has five children.
Mr Nketia had his basic education at Seikwa Presbyterian Primary School. He then proceeded to train as a teacher at St Joseph’s College of Education in Bechem from 1974 to 1978 where he graduated in 1978. At St Joseph’s College, he had to change his Christian name, John, to Johnson, because at the time there were a number of students bearing the name John, and also because he was only 17 years and the youngest among his peers.
He began his career as a professional teacher at Seketia Presby Primary in the Jaman North District of the Bono Region. While teaching at Seketia, he studied at home to sit for the GCE ‘O’ and ‘A’ Level exams. He gained admission to the University of Ghana Business School in 1983 to read a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration (Banking and Finance option). He graduated with a Second Class Upper.
Mr Nketia was a member of the pioneer batch for a Post Graduate Training Programme in Stock Brokerage and Investment Analysis when the Ghana Stock Exchange was introduced. He obtained a Master of Science Degree in Defense and International Politics from the Ghana Armed Forces Command College in 2019, and his thesis was on Anti-Corruption infrastructure in the Fourth Republic of Ghana.
After graduating from University of Ghana, he was posted to GIHOC Distilleries Company Limited for his national service where he was assigned to the marketing department as manager. Just after he had been offered a permanent job at GIHOC, duty called from his hometown to lead the establishment of a rural bank which he had to heed to. Bank of Ghana then brought a regulation in the banking sector that required a banker to manage rural and commercial banks. He was then approached by the chiefs and people of his community to be the manager for the Nkoraman Rural Bank, an offer he accepted. He was then posted to Sehwi Asawinso Rural Bank as trainee Manager by the Bank of Ghana as part of Bank of Ghana’s Professional training programme for managers.
During this period, the Ghana Stock Exchange was established, and he was nominated for the pioneer Post Graduate Training Programme, mostly for bank managers, in Stock Brokerage and Investment Analysis.
He opted to work for the National Trust Holding Company Limited (NTHC) as a stock broker and an investment banker until he was approached by his kinsmen to represent them at the Consultative Assembly.
Mr Nketia was called back to his village, Seikwa, to help run development there. He contested the 1988 Wenchi District Assembly elections, won and was later nominated to the National Consultative Assembly.
He contested the Wenchi West seat and won as a Member of Parliament (MP). He spent 12 years in Parliament, served on several committees of Parliament including Appointments Committee, Finance Committee, Public Accounts Committee, Chairman – Mines and Energy Committee, ranking Member for Food and Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs Committee, Deputy Majority Chief Whip among others. While in Parliament, he also served as deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture in charge of crops under the Jerry John Rawlings administration. It was during this period he piloted cashew, sun flower and cotton, and successfully commercialised sunflower and cashew cultivation in Ghana.
He was also a member of the Economic Management Team (EMT) from 1992 – 2001 that introduced the valued added tax in the country. Mr Asiedu Nketia was nominated by the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana to be a member of the International Parliamentary Union from 1997 – 2005.
After a successful three-term in Parliament, he stepped down in 2005 to retire from active politics and join his family in Canada.
At the party’s delegate congress in December 2005, Mr Nketia won with over 80% of the votes, beating then acting General Secretary, Bede Ziedeng, Mr Sylvester Mensah and Mr Antwi Boasiako to become the 3rd General Secretary of the NDC. At a re-election contest held in Tamale in January 2010, he was delivered a 93% vote of confidence and repeated same feat in 2014 in Kumasi to retain his position as the General Secretary.
His last contest was between himself and his Deputy, Koku Anyidoho, which he won with over 80 per cent. He managed to repair the cracks in the party after it was sharply divided in 2006 due to the factionalism preceding the 2014 delegates Congress that led to the breakaway from the party of the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) by the National Chairman, Gen. Secretary, Women Organiser, some members of Parliament and other party stalwarts.
As General Secretary, he led the NDC from opposition as Campaign Manager to beat Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the 2008 election.[ This was a period where he had to bring together the founder of the NDC, Jerry John Rawlings and Flag bearer of the party, the late Prof John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills and running mate, John Dramani Mahama, to form a three-front campaign which ended up at his backyard in Tain. He chaired the NDC’s campaign for the 2012 and 2016 election.