Dr. Asoma Banda is a man of controversy and hard-hitting talk. A magnate in his own right, Banda’s humble beginnings have emboldened hi m to speak when others choose to be silent, sometimes inciting the wrath of the authorities that be.
Asoma Banda is the first Chancellor of Winneba University, Ghana. He is also a Member of the Council of State in the Republic of Ghana, and has many official roles, including, Executive Chairman, Antrak Air, Executive Chairman of Antrak Express Ltd, President, Ship Owners and Agents Association of Ghana, Board Chairman, Meridian Port Services Ltd. Banda is also a Board Member of Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Ghana Maritime Authority and The Ghana Shippers’ Council. Banda is an Industrialist, Business Executive, Benefactor, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Antrak Group of Companies. As the story of telecommunication in Nigeria cannot be narrated without inserting the name of Dr. Mike Adenuga, so will the story of shipping in Africa suffer a huge deficit if the name and actions of Asoma Banda is left untold.
Narrating his tale to DDHMag.com, Banda tells of growing Ghana, and herding cattle for his father; a transporter and cattle rearer. On one particular occasion, he trekked for 3 months from Mopte [where the cattle was bought] to Ghana. Such was the nature of his initiation into the world of business.
Eventually, he was able to get an education at a tutorial college at Tottenham Court Road where he undertook his A-Levels. Originally gunning to read medicine, a professor dissuaded him and convinced him to read business-marketing to be precise. According to Banda, he had asked, “What is marketing?” Thus, they were amongst the first marketing students in Britain who studied at Balham and Tooting College of Commerce in the 1960’s.
Armed with a diploma, Banda worked for a British company until he got his brain wave for a roll-on roll-off method of shipping which he was certain would succeed in the Nigerian ports. With no money of his own, Banda convinced an Accountant friend to stand as surety for him. Hence he embarked on the business venture that would bring him wealth and fame as the years went by.
An astute business man, he recognised opportunities and stood on his principles even when it cost him friends or affiliations. One such opportunity which he maximised was the building of flyovers in Nigeria. Julius Berger and all the contractors couldn’t bring in their equipment and would pay any amount to get their equipment into Nigeria.
Surviving when other shipping lines of that era had gone under was no small feat. And Banda did more than survive, he consolidated. Banda is credited with the establishment of several companies in Ghana and around the globe including Antrak Group of Companies, OTAL Holding Group, Cross Marine Services, Nigeria; and the Tema Container Terminal.
His knowledge and expertise in business enterprise and management are recognised through his membership of national and international boards and corporations. In recognition of his devoted service to humanity and in honour of his pioneering and outstanding role in the Maritime and Air Transport Industry, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and the University of Cape Coast have each degree conferred on him a Doctor of Science, honoris causa.
As a king maker in Ghana, Asoma has had the opportunity to steer the polity aright with his timely proclamations. One such controversial statement was when he dared to state in no-nonsense terms that the Ghanaian Members of Parliament “behave like boarding school children who always want their parents to provide everything for them.” (See “Asoma Banda Is Short-Sighted Regarding Activities of Parliamentarians – MP” Peacefmonline.com 2/20/11). At another instance, he threatened to embark on a demonstration if the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority did not revoke licenses to some airlines who operated locally. Banda is 70-something one man revolution!!!
In May, 2012 Galilee Institute Graduate Banda paid a visit to Israel where he invited Major General (Ret.) Dr. Baruch Levy, Chairman, Board of Trustees of Galilee Institute, to Ghana to meet the Minister of Education in Ghana, to finalise the tri-lateral MA in Educational Management and Leadership Programme. The programme is to be conducted by The University of Education, Winneba, Ghana, Galilee International Management Institute, Israel and The International School for Social and Business Studies, Slovenia.
Adjudged to be one of the richest men in Ghana, Banda is still going strong and making an impact. Africans have been playing starring roles in the world for many decades oh! Don’t let anyone tell you different!