The Readers Hub-GH is highly pleased to bring to you another insightful and thrilling encounter from our Social Convo session as we engage one of our ardent readers with vast and demonstrable experience in both the field of academia and the world of politics. Indeed, from where he hails from, he is regarded as “The man of the people” and a veritable conscience of the masses who has mentored many youth in leadership positions and capacity building programs and continues to contribute towards the needs of his constituency as a change agent.
Our guest is an Assistant Professor of Accounting and Financial Management with the University of Sheffield. He also sits on the British Accounting and Finance Association Special Interest Group on Corporate Governance. It must be noted that the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) counts among two chartered professionals bodies/status our guest holds.
He also serves as an Associate Editor of Qualitative Research in Financial Markets and is also a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy; UK. He is also a born politician with some unique and unparalleled leadership traits among his peers that earned him a compendium of positions held while schooling.
With the help of one of our Moderators Haadi Bachang, our guest will take us through his life’s journey thus far, the motivators, the drives, strengths and weaknesses, and possibly the secret of his enviable achievements, the challenges, notwithstanding.
Ladies and Gentlemen, sit still and enjoy this most informative, insightful and thrilling encounter with The Readers Hub-GH (Social Convo) session.
Ladies and gentlemen, sit still as we present to you a most thrilling encounter as usual.
Haadi: You are welcome to tonight’s edition of Social Convo.
Dr Sharif Mahmud Khalid: Delighted to be here
Haadi: Doc, there is always a tendency for people who are politically exposed to have their personality misrepresented and mutilated to score political points. To put the records right about your personality by yourself, who is Dr Sharif Mahamud Khalid?
Dr Sharif Mahmud Khalid: Such a loaded question. How about if we break it down to what is deemed some of the misrepresentation and mutilations? In short though, I’m Sharif Khalid. I hail from Wa, and currently an academic with the University of Sheffield.
Haadi: May you take us through a systemic journey of your educational, and social life, highlighting the rivers you crossed (key milestones you accomplished), how you crossed them (your sources of inspiration and support), which ones you couldn’t cross (pitfalls and challenges), why couldn’t you cross them (lessons), and why you crossed or seeking to cross some rivers (purpose and vision)?
Dr Sharif Mahmud Khalid: I did primary school and JSS at Dan-Ibu JHS, Senior High with Ahmadiyya SSS both in Wa and BA (Hon) with the University of Cape Coast. Following these were graduate degrees from the Aberdeen Business School and Henley where I obtained an MSc and a PhD respectively.
In terms of milestones, after stints with politics and some Professional engagements, I was advised strongly by my dad to take up graduate education and settle on a specialized field as he believed politics was no profession.
His philosophy is that one needed to be established in a particular profession before you could ever venture into politics. To him politics is meant to be self-actualization.
Going forward, I heeded to his advice and took to graduate education. In my first semester of graduate school, I could tell industry was not my thing but academia. There and then I decided to read a PhD. In my strenuous efforts and unrelenting determination, I began perusing a doctoral admission with my first semester results (How ambitious!).
Alhamdulillah, (God being so grateful) I was able to secure a conditional offer for a PhD after several applications and search for supervisory fit as that is key to enrolling on any PhD. The condition was that I would be allowed to commence the PhD programme while I await my final Masters Degree results for which I stood the risk of being withdrawn should I not make a merit/distinction. Thankfully I meant the requirement and stayed on the programme. The rest they say is history.
Haadi: Wow, this is impressive!
Dr Sharif Mahmud Khalid: It is really an interesting journey. I never got to attend my undergraduate graduation ceremony because I was already enrolled on a Masters programme before then. I was also three months into my PhD before I went to graduate from my Masters
Haadi: Interesting, please tell us more Doc!
Dr Sharif Mahmud Khalid: I will tell you an interesting story. Given that I had not graduated from my MSc I was asked for a reference that would vouch I could meet the requirements for a PhD before and post my MSc. Thankfully a Professor I thought would not grant me one as I used to debate with him a lot in class was happy to do me one. I would say it was one of the great references I have ever had. Truth be told, I admire people of knowledge and impact hence my inspiration for academia.
Haadi: And you are an inspiration for academia too. But Sir, your father, Mr. Mahamud Khalid, is also an academic and a politician! You are also an academic and a politician. Can we conclude that your father is your career development coach/mentor or you got on the same career trajectory with him by coincidence?
Dr Sharif Mahmud Khalid: With my dad; given our closeness, undoubtedly has great impact on me. However, the academic and political routes are just sheer coincidence
Haadi: Impressive! Like father like son. Now from observations, it appears the contest for a seat in Ghana’s Parliament has become or is becoming a contest for the wealthy, populists and philanthropists but academics and people with very high academic profiles like you, seem to be unwelcome in electoral politics in Ghana. From experience in electoral politics, do you think this assertion is valid? Could you have performed better and perhaps win the seat if you were a distinguished and wealthy philanthropist with a first-degree qualification or even below?
Dr Sharif Mahmud Khalid: Interesting questions. In my opinion I reckon there is more to the quest for Parliament. The factors are so varied and intertwined that it becomes difficult to single out major factors.
In all of these, I think the determinants are local in nature. For credentials alone one could make it within certain constituencies, some for wealth while others are both. So I would say it depends on the kind of constituency. But invariably wealth or money appears to have become the single most important factor. Let me add also the perception of money, thus the perception that one is wealthy could be a contributory factor. I just think our society is wired to appreciate wealth
Haadi: You have accomplished so much in your academic life than in your political life. Many people would have expected that a young professor in one of UK’s top-ranking universities, you will focus on further developing and consolidating your career as an academic but it appears your heart is more into politics than academics because you contested for the candidature of Wa Central Member of Parliament under the ticket of National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Did you acquire all these tremendous academic laurels to use as a trump card and springboard for launching a political career and pursuing your political ambitions?
Dr Sharif Mahmud Khalid: Not at all. I actually delink my professional career from political. Having been a Senior Prefect in Secondary School and an SRC President at University one would have thought that the trajectory would be straight into politics. But no, it started with academia. I only saw my return to politics as something I have built over the years in terms of experience to serve as an agent of development rather than a career. I love academia to bits and it will be at the cost of great sacrifice if I ever left without attaining a full Professorial status. Besides, I doubt if academics credentials are a requirement for politics. I did them for academia not politics. And to be fair; I still focused on academia as I never left for politics. I only offered to serve my people.
Taking it a step further, one side of my political journey many seem to miss is that I was politically active from my undergraduate days. I was a member of the NDC’s National Communication team before I left for my graduate studies.
Haadi: Between academics and politics, where does your heart belongs and in five years from now, do you see yourself as an accomplished (academic) professor of international fame or a frontline politician in Ghana?
Dr Sharif Mahmud Khalid: I would say both. They are both in the service of humanity. One is a calling and the other; there exist a clear rubric to attain. Politics is a calling in my opinion. You get called either through an election or appointive authority. In this regard there is no rubric to determining one’s faith in politics. In academia, however, you meet the requirements of the rubric and you are there. I have over the years being working towards meeting the requirements and Insha’Allah (By God’s grace) five years from now I should have attained the full glory of the academe.
Haadi: Members of The Readers’ Hub wish you well in all your life endeavors. Presumably, if you never succeed in your ambition to become a Member of Parliament for Wa Central Constituency or any political portfolio in Ghana, it is most likely that you remain academic in the United Kingdom. Assuming this scenario comes to manifest, which other ways do you intend to contribute to the social and economic development of the people of Wa and Ghanaians as a whole?
Dr Sharif Mahmud Khalid: Before running in a Parliamentary Primary I have been contributing to mentorship and capacity building programmes for the youth of the region and still continues to do so. I have in the last few years sponsored training programmes through model UN for some youth of the region through which public speaking, engagements, drafting skills etc. were harnessed. I am a big believer of soft skills so I shall continue in the trajectory.
Haadi: Marvelous! If your aspiration to be a Member of Parliament or a key political figure ever materializes, what initiatives or actions would you pursue to ensure that political corruption, political vigilantism, political exclusion as well as vile political vendetta and partisan insanity are effectively curbed if not completely eradicated from Ghana’s political space?
Dr Sharif Mahmud Khalid: Through my research publications, and engagements. To borrow my former school’s motto: Brighten your corner where you are. I believe to brighten my corner where I would be. Should we all do so the nation would be well it.So I call on us all to brighten our corners wherever we find ourselves.
Haadi: Doc, in a brief narrative, may you please share with Readers, your most valuable experiences, lessons and values in life?
Dr Sharif Mahmud Khalid: Keep a clean heart. Do unto others what you wish to be done to you. Avoid being needlessly judgmental while you stay focus running your race.
Haadi: Wow! Before I forward questions from Readers to you, how are you managing family life with academic cum political life? Do you have enough time to serve career interest without constricting or sacrificing a considerable part of the amount of time that is optimal for your family life since both academics and politics are very demanding?
Dr Sharif Mahmud Khalid: It is a delicate balance. It does run all smooth. So from time to time you require running an assessment and making adjustments as some aspects may be suffering.
In fact, the last two years has been very busy and hectic. I earned a Gold flying status form trips to and from Ghana on the political journey. Meaning lots of air miles. Many climate advocates would obviously not be happy with me. Hahaha
Regardless of the outcome however, I consider it a win. The valuable experience garnered could have been bought off any shelf on the market. The people management School skill enormous
I will tell you an interesting story. I planned to write an academic paper out of my experience on the cost of politics in Ghana
I began to document the expenditure from my political enterprise until one day I returned from Ghana and went into my books to add up the latest expenditure from the said trip. As I run the numbers it fit me that this was an experience that has no price tag to it. There and then I shredded all of it. Do I regret? NO. To be honest I am at peace with myself and engrossed in many of the opportunities I have been offered anew. Life must move on. Politics to me is no profit or loss business. To the accountants here it is no debt or credit business
Haadi: Politics is no profit or loss business. Point well noted with gratitude.
QUESTIONS TME WITH OUR READERS FROM (THE READERS HUB)
Bagura Shamuddeen: I am very grateful to be able to ask you a question in person today. I first watched your interview on TV3 in 2018. Since then I looked forward to ever meeting you in person. I am very fascinated by your determination. My question is; as a northerner and a Muslim, has your identity ever posed as a challenge to you during your educational and professional pursuit?
Dr Sharif Mahmud Khalid: Hi Bagura, not at all. Possibly haven’t paid much attention to that as I do not believe in such (not to say they not exist). I am often more focused on positive energy. To add to that, I believe we should become the very ambassadors of our various religious through our deeds and acts. And above all tolerate and respect for other religions.
Wahidu Saaka: Listening to the current Majority Leader on Pm Express on JoyNews, he made mention of the fact that you must build a career before taking up politics, he however added that it is good to start a political career early. Do you agree with his assertion? If yes how do you build a career and start politics early at the same time?
Dr Sharif Mahmud Khalid: Hi Wahidu, a yes and no answers as there exists career politicians plus it will depend on the individual. Given my own example if I had no career what would have been my fate after the parliamentary primaries? Two days after the primaries, Alhamdulillah I was back to work in full gear leaving the past behind me. I think my example should be enough to answer your question if I am not mistaking? Kindly pardon if I do and we can have a follow up.
The risk of not having a career before politics would be that, there may be limited opportunities for you post-politics or should you ever lose. But a career plus political experience grant vast opportunities – an oyster of a sort. My tuppence!
And talking about how to start a political career early, I would say there are several routes to politics, either from the district assembly level, Parliamentary etc. However, by career politician reference is made to persons who stay on for over decades in politics. There is really no such thing as that in its professional practical sense given the hazards of elections and electoral office. It is just a nomenclature or moniker that comes with long serving politicians.
Bassing Kamal: Would you say it is safe to argue that one must join politics to be able to serve his/her people better?…..What avenue if any, would you recommend to the youth to follow to serve their people better beside politics?
Dr Sharif Mahmud Khalid: Bassing, we can all serve our nation in whatever form in droplet. However, politics is the greatest and most effective route. Propound all the scientific theories, propose all the great policies, make all the greatest discoveries, if a politician says no it is no – hence the balance of it.
Barnabas Muonibe: In his intimation(s), what is/are good yet necessary life’s blueprint(s) to have/observe/experience for us the young ones who are invariably struggling to string subject and verb to agree, but see politics as the sure way out in life?
Dr Sharif Mahmud Khalid: Hahaha, Barnabas, I’m not one who is of the opinion that formal education is key to politics and would want to reduce it to either dotting Is and cross Ts or high degrees if literacy and numeracy skills. But the ability to comprehend policy, think policy and advocate policy in whatever form or shape. I also do appreciate the import of your question that a lingua Franca of a particular trade should be a benchmark to its entry. Politics is a global trade with the English language as its corner stone.
Mr. Adams: Please tell us about CIMA qualification which you are a member
Dr Sharif Mahmud Khalid: CIMA stands for Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. Just like ACCA, its sister professional body which is the chartered status for Financial Accountants. CIMA is for Management Accountants for which a series of professional exams, CPDs, workshops and degree exemptions are routes via which to attain. So the CMI which is the Chartered Management Institute is one for Management
Issahaq Rasheed: Please which will you recommend for a university graduate in accounting, Masters or CA?
Dr Sharif Mahmud Khalid: Rasheed. It depends. Should you wish to specialize in Financial Accounting you go the ACCA route. If your desire is in Management Accounting you go CIMA to become a Global Chartered Management Accountant. To emphasis they have same status in their various fields.
It will depend on what the market of a said economy welcomes. In Europe a CA or ACCA professional route alone (without a degree) is enough for one to qualify as a professional accountant – it may also vary from country to country. Also some markets may require degree. With a Masters Programme which must be accounting focused one could earn some exemptions to qualify as CA. So, your choice would be based on what your market accepts. Some jurisdictions equate a CA qualification to a degree.
Chief Moomen: Doc, would you have come this far had you stayed in Ghana for higher education? If No-or even still Yes-what is it about the UK educational system that has facilitated your meteoric rise in Academia?
Dr Sharif Mahmud Khalid: To be honest I would say no. The UK’s educational system welcomes evidence of ability to fit within a said path. For instance I switched to Accounting and Financial Management at the graduate level meaning my undergraduate degree was not in Accounting and Financial Management. Things might have changed but in my time it will be very difficult if not impossible to have done this.
Also in terms of Career progression permit to share yet another interesting story. In my desire to return to Ghana, the day I completed my Masters (awaiting results) I was on the plane to Ghana. It will later happen that under a week I will be back to the UK for a PhD. At the twilight of my PhD I relocated to Ghana to write up my thesis.
Before I could put the last full stop to my thesis I was flown to the UK for an interview for an academic post. I was the only candidate on the interview list yet to have fully graduated from a PhD yet I was offered the job. I doubt this would have happened in Ghana. Interestingly, while all of these were going on, I was told the Ghanaian Universities I had approached that I must graduate and have a hard copy of my certificate at hand to be considered for a place
Dr Kuusaana: Are you considering the SD UBIDS in Wa in the future?
Dr Sharif Mahmud Khalid: Sure! I have much to do. I admire Dr Kuusaana and many others for the great work they put out there. We very much look forward to joining soon so we can drive the change agenda with like-minded youth. I am actually considering a sabbatical there
Haadi: Doc, in as much as we enjoy this encounter with you, time won’t allow us to go on and on. I Wish I could pause the time to allow you inspire us the more. Before your concluding remarks, what are your hobbies? We would also be grateful if you could share a book or two that have impacted your life and also recommend a book worth reading for members on the page.
Dr Sharif Mahmud Khalid: Hobbies, interesting. To start with I don’t do TV. I have never owned a Television set in my life. That said I love to read biographies and autobiographies of leaders and watch documentaries for either on my phone or an iPad. I read the news for my pocket or from PCs. I enjoy running. I do 10K a day
On recommended books, I would say the following:
1. Africa: Altered Starts Ordinary Miracles by Richard Dowden
2. The Establishment by Owen Jones
Haadi: Your concluding remarks please
Dr Sharif Mahmud Khalid: I have very little to say. I would rather not conclude but make a confession. Just as any Whatsapp group I was skeptical about this group as I feared it degenerating into an echo chamber of peripherals. I must say it has become the melting point of inspiration, growth and development. Kudos to all here. We can’t afford to fail our generation.
Haadi: It has been an exciting encounter with you and we can’t thank you enough. You have been an inspiration and sharing your life journey so far with us means so much to the READERS HUB and we are very grateful .With you and others we know our generation and the future generations are in safe hands Thank you so much for your time and inspiration. We will always call on you for more encounters on our Social Media Monk session. We wish you all the best that life entails in all your endeavors
Dr Sharif Mahmud Khalid: Thanks and many more to all here and beyond. Grateful for the latitude granted me to share my thoughts.
Haadi: Readers, we have come to the end of tonight’s Social Convo.
I believe you enjoyed it and got inspired by our young academic cum politician. Until we come your way with another edition of Social Convo next month, stay blessed and remember COVID-19 is real and therefore observe all the social protocols. My name is Haadi Bachang and our guest has been Dr Sharif Mahmud Khalid. Have a restful night! (Exeunt….)
NB: Please don’t forget to share after reading for others to also benefit.
Hub Editor: Bassing .A.M.A.Kamal.