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    Still on the hot seat with smiles - Mrs. Diana Hopeson

    by James Harry Obeng, The Spectator
    posted Wednesday, 06 July 2011 18:28| 1 Comments

    Veteran gospel musician, Mrs. Diana Hopeson, who currently shoulders the pride and honour as the only woman president in the annals of the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA), indeed continues to lead the male-dominated union with charisma not because she is made of steel to have weathered all challenges without any difficulties.

    No, far from that!

    Rather, she has been a woman leader of difference with a signature disposition that endears her to many in the union, if not everybody, who in turn, readily offer her the necessary support – spiritual, moral, material – to execute her responsibilities dutifully and successfully.

    That disposition, her ever-infectious smiles! With her two big cheek-piercing dimples ever available to match her smiles, Mrs. Hopeson has had the antidote to often subdue whoever comes to her, including the stone-hearted, into co-operation.

    And this, according some people who have known her inside-out, has been one reason underpinning her four-year tenure at MUSIGA. Some members of the musicians union even attest that she has been not just a president, but also a mother with patience, listening ears and enough understanding to provide the much-needed succor for all her ‘children’ – some of whom, in age, could have even given birth to her.

    Anybody with the slightest knowledge about what for years has become known as the ‘politics’ at MUSIGA, would also understand and appreciate that indeed, the president’s seat could be a very hot one for the chicken-hearted to sit on for four years.

    This, without much doubt, could as well be the reason why until 2007, no woman had ascended the position before, probably in the belief that the status quo required a more tough-skinned leader who would not leave the steer mid-way and go to sleep.

    Nonetheless, Mrs. Hopeson has proven her point on the MUSIGA seat, in such a remarkable way that any objective person with understanding about the situation on the ground would pardon her any possible flaws.

    But as many people in authority would readily do on nearing the end of their tenure, Mrs. Hopseson would not be seeking re-election after only a term (four years) in office – which, thus, may come as a surprise to many. Probably, she is been, behind the scenes, pushed aside.

    “Who told you that? Oh no, that is not it!,” the ever-smiling outgoing president exclaimed, as she burst into laughter last Wednesday in her office.

    “Yeah, I understand some of these concerns, particularly when it emerges from insider sources. That makes such suggestions and suspicions very much likely, but in my case, that is not it and nothing or no-one is pushing me to go anywhere,” Mrs. Hopeson said.

    She explained that as a matter of principle, she had planned to exit the MUSIGA seat after a term in office, long before she contested the presidency and won hands-down in 2007 when her predecessor, Alhaji Sidiku Buari, was leaving the scene.

    “I’ve been involved with the work at MUSIGA all these while, first in my position as the second vice-president in 1999 and then, the first vice-president four years later. So I told myself that another four years of life to serve the union will be okay,” she said.

    “I felt strongly that within that duration, I would’ve helped bring MUSIGA to a certain level of stability where my predecessor can take it up from.

    That is the important thing I set myself to do; to place MUSIGA on a stable footing, and that’s all that my four-year ‘Plan of Action’ meant to achieve,” she explained, adding: “Even though I’ll not be seeing some of the works I’ve done materialize during my time in office, I know I’ve done the ground work for whoever comes after me to finalise them.”

    She admitted that “indeed, the (MUSIGA) seat is a very hot and challenging one, so I want my predecessor to fully prepare for it. I’ve been able to do my part with the providence of God and with the support of some well-wishers, including my family, but my predecessor should also brace up for it.”

    Mrs. Hopeson revealed that she done her work as the president voluntarily without taking a monthly pay. “I even remember I had to fund activities of the union with my own money throughout my first year in office, so you can just imagine.

    “When I took office, we had only four members of staff but now we’ve 12 permanent staffs. I’ve been able to buy a car for the union, introduced social security for the permanent staff and many other things.”

    Mrs. Hopeson said despite all the challenges inherent with her duties, her tenure as the president had been worthwhile, in that with the collective support of the union, she had been able achieve a lot under her 4-year ‘Plan of Action.’

    Some of them, she enumerated, included the establishment of a training school to ran training programs, workshops and seminars for the leadership and members at the national and regional levels, both young and old.

    She said her administration have re-enforced the administrative structure of the national and the 10 regional offices, provided them with proper office equipment such as computers and printers, “as well as revised our Constitution and acquired digital machines to update union membership files and digital membership cards.”

    Mrs. Hopeson added that as part the union’s job creation drive initiative, a Performance Rehearsal facility with a mini recording studio equipment has been acquired, in addition to a Public Performance Hall fitted with the desired acoustics and equipment.

    “A MUSIGA Digital Library to assemble meta-data on sound recordings that have been made available to the public over the years in Ghana, has also been set up,” she said, adding: “We have also been involved in the management of Copyright Society of Ghana (COSGA) and at the moment working on a transitional period to form three Collective Management Organizations for the Music, Film and Book industry.”

    “We’ve also held various meetings with the Parliamentary Select Committee to go through the Copyright Regulations in order to facilitate its passage. This is aside the MUSIGA Fund we established which is being managed by the First Bank,” she said.

    A shrewd musician by every standard, Mrs. Hopeson (then called Diana Akiwumi) said her career spanned a period of over a decade, capped with nine albums and projects, and many awards (and nominations).

    The albums, she mentioned included the ‘Halleluyah, Yedi Nkunim / Happy Birthday’ – 2006/2007; ‘The Best of Diana’ (Volume 1) – 2006/2007;  ‘A Nite with Diana’ – 2006; Africa America Project Album – 2003;  ‘Koso Aba’ – 2001; ‘Ebesimeyie’ – 1999; ‘Onyame Asem Se’ – 1997; If Jesus Says Yes – 1995; Yesu Mo Album – 1994; ‘Yeyi W’aye Daa (Winner) – 1993 and ‘He is Lord’ (her debut) in 1991.

    She said she would head to the studio to record her tenth, shortly after MUSIGA’s 5th Congress slated for Tamale from August 16 to 18, this year. That would mark the end of her tenure.

    Some her awards include the ECRAG Award for Best Gospel Music in 1993, Central Region Music Awards (2008), the Grand Medal Award from the National Honors Award (2007), MTN Ceval Gospel Music Award (2007), Ogun Beads Award (2004), Ghana Gospel Music Award Special Award (2003) and the King David’s Award Most Outstanding Female Personality (1999), among others.

    Born in August 1970, to the late Francis Arhin (alias Ten Days) and Madam Hannah Armoo, Mrs. Diana Hopeson hails from Awutu Breku in the Central Region. She is the last of seven siblings and married to Dr. Emmanuel Kojo Hopeson (PhD), a Counselling Psychologist, Certified Mediator and Conflict Resolution (ADR) Expert and Trainer.

    Mr. Hopeson is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Reconciliation Alliance Consult and also the President of the Generation for Christ International (GCI), a Christian Mission and humanitarian organization – where Diana is the vice-president. They are blessed with a son, Joseph Samuel Akiwumi.

    Mrs. Hopeson started her basic education at the Eaton Preparatory School at North Kaneshie in Accra, from where she proceeded to the Winneba Secondary School in 1983 and completed in1989. She entered the University of Ghana (UG) School of Performing Arts from1999 to 2002, graduating with a Diploma in Theater Arts.

    She has taken many training courses and extra-curricula programmes both in the country and overseas. She is currently a Minister of the gospel at the Fountain Gate Chapel at Ofankor in Accra.

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