Mardah, the community builder
Alhaji Mohammed Mardah
was born in Ghana on February 28,1966.His father Alhaji
Ali Mardah, was the Chief of the Grunshie community in
Accra, and his mother, Hajia Fati English. She was the
daughter of Alhaji English, one of the most famous
philanthropists in Ghana in the late fifties and early
Mr. Mardah went to primary school in Additrom Elementary
School in Adabraka before transferring to Harrow
International at Abeka. He entered Accra Academy (a
family tradition) in 1978-1979, and finished in 1986.
From there, he did one year of National Service at the
Controller and Accountant General's Office and then
immigrated to the United States in September of 1989.
Mr. Mardah entered Bronx Community College in 1992 for
further education. He started with taking one course per
semester because of financial constraint. His lack of
proper immigration status prevented him from getting a
job with a decent pay that could allow full time
In 1996, Mr. Mardah secured his green card, promptly
enrolled as a full time student at the same school and
graduated a year later. He then went on to Lehman
College in the Bronx where he graduated 2002 summa cum
laude in Business Administration.
Mr. Mardah officially joined Yankasa Association, one of
the various ethnic associations for Ghanaians in North
America (NCOGA). A year later, he was appointed Deputy
Public Relations Officer. In this position, he
served as the official master
of ceremonies for all Yankasa social functions -
weddings, outdoorings, religious events, etc. Because of
the efficiency with which he held this position, he
became even more popular.
In 1995, Mr. Marhah was elected unopposed to the
position of General Secretary of Yankasa Association.
Consequently, he became the representative of Yankasa at
the umbrella Ghanaian community council (NCOGA) in 1996.
In 1998, the then Secretary General of the Council,
Kwamena Eshun was transferred by his employer to North
Carolina, and Mr. Mardah was asked to act as deputy to
the then Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Mawuli Agbenu,
who now was the Acting Secretary General. Mr. Mardah was
elected a year later as the Deputy Secretary General
under Thomas Mensah. Four years later, he was elected by
council as the youngest Executive Secretary General of
NCOGA after Thomas had completed his two year term of
The National Council of Ghanaian Associations is an
umbrella organization presently comprised of fourteen
Ghanaian groups representing the different ethnic,
cultural, civic and religious groups in the New York
City area. It was founded twenty years ago as a unified
body to promote the interests of Ghanaians and seek
their general welfare in the United States.
Under his leadership at the Council for the past three
years, Mardah has been able to expand the range of the
organization, solidified its position as the mouthpiece
of the community, and encouraged more youth oriented
events. He initiated the first NCOGA Health Fair, the
first forum on travel meetings with airlines servicing
Ghana through carriers such as North American Airlines,
Delta and Emirates.
Realizing the importance of information propagation,
Mardah established the NCOGA website as a source of news
and forum about its members and a venue through which
the entire members of the Ghanaian community can
interact. Images of picnics, business meetings and other
activities are posted on the site for all to see.
Through the website, NCOGA has become recognized on the
The NCOGA Board of Directors, a group which had been
dormant for a few years, was reconstituted in the first
three months of his leadership. The Board members, all
Ghanaians and some of whom had been unknown to the
community, have greatly helped the organization. They
include the perennial Dr. Dodoo as Chairman, Eddie Agboh
a founding member and former President of the
organization as Vice Chairman as well as Thomas Mensah,
the immediate past Executive Secretary General as one of
the strongest members. For a complete list of all the
Board members, please visit www.ncoga.org.
Mr. Alhaji Mardah says,” The idea of public service is
something innate. It takes a special person to commit to
helping his or her community, often taking great abuses
and insults. It is a thankless job, and yet we commit
ourselves. There is only one reason, and that is we are
born with it. Helping people is part of our nature, and
how we do it makes no difference.”
Today, NCOGA is without a doubt, the leader and
mouthpiece of the Ghanaian community and it is men like
Alhaji Mardah who made it possible.
Kobia Annan, Jr. March 26,