Lieutenant General Obed Boamah Akwa was born on 20 June 1955. He went through various first cycle educational institutions in the Brong Ahafo, Eastern and Northern Regions of Ghana before gaining admission into Mpraeso Secondary School in 1968. On obtaining his General Certificate of Education (Ordinary Level), he proceeded to Sekondi College for his Sixth Form Studies from 1973 – 1975, and obtained the General Certificate of Education (Advanced Level).
Lieutenant General Akwa enlisted into the Ghana Military Academy in October 1975 and continued with his training at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, United Kingdom, from January 1976 to March 1977. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on 24 March 1977 and was first posted to the 1st Battalion of Infantry, as a Platoon Commander.
Among the key appointments he has held include:
- Adjutant/Intelligence Officer, 1st Battalion of Infantry.
- Aide-de-Camp to the Chief of the Defence Staff.
- Adjutant and Company Commander, 2nd Battalion of Infantry.
- General Staff Officer, Grade III (Operations and Training) at the Headquarters 1 Infantry Brigade Group – now Headquarters Southern Command.
- Deputy Assistant Adjutant & Quartermaster General (DAA & QMG).
- Directing Staff, Ghana Armed Forces Command & Staff College (Junior Division).
- Course Commander, Ghana Military Academy.
- Deputy Army Secretary, Army Headquarters
- Commanding Officer, 2nd Battalion of Infantry.
Whilst in command of the 2nd Battalion, he was appointed as the Military Assistant to the Minister for Defence and thereafter became the Army Secretary at the Army Headquarters with the responsibility for the career management of all officers of the Ghana Army. Between 2005 and 2009, in the rank of Colonel, he served as the Aide-de-Camp to the President of the Republic of Ghana/Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces. In this appointment, he contributed to advancing national security interests through focused and sustained engagements with relevant stakeholders in support of shared security objectives. His special interest area was in deepening civil – military relations. Between 2009 and 2012, he was the Commander, Ghana Military Academy and thereafter appointed Commander Western Brigade of MONUSCO in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In this appointment, he commanded the largest sector of the MONUSCO operational area (covering six of the eleven Provinces of the country) in a highly dynamic, multicultural and multilingual environment. Prior to his current appointment as the Chief of the Army Staff, lieutenant General Akwa was the Commandant, Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC).
He completed both his Junior and Senior Staff Course at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College and also undertook a comparative staff College Course at the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington, India. He holds a Master of Science degree in Strategic Studies from the Madras University, India; a Master of Science degree in Global Security from Cranfield University, United Kingdom and a Certificate in Public Administration from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, Additionally, he did the Senior Mission Leaders’ Course at the Peacekeeping Training Centre, Pretoria, South Africa.
Lieutenant General Akwa has extensive UN peacekeeping experience. Between October 1977 – March 1978 he served with the United Nations Emergency Force II (UNEF II) as a Platoon Commander, in the Sinai Desert. He was a Personnel Officer with the 24th Ghana Battalion in South Lebanon as part of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). He also served as a Military Observer with the United Nations Iraq – Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM) in the immediate aftermath of the First Gulf War. Whilst with UNIKOM, he was re-deployed to serve with the United Nations Military Liaison Office in the former Yugoslavia (UNMLO-Y) prior to the insertion of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR). He also served as the Deputy Commanding Officer of the Ghana Battalion as part of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC). His last UN mission was a Brigade Commander with MONUSCO.
In addition to the United Nations Peace Medals earned from the various Missions, Lieutenant General Akwa has also been decorated with the Long Service and Efficiency Medal (LS & EM) for unblemished service with the Colours and a National Award as a Member of the Order of the Volta (MV), Security Services Division in 2007.
He has a number of significant publications to his credit, including:
- Article on “The Diminishing Influence of the Nation – State” published in September 2014 edition of the African Defence.
- Dissertation on “The Security Dimension of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)” for the Award of the Master of Science degree in Global Security.
- Dissertation on “India’s Nuclear Opinions ” for the Award of Master of Science degree in Strategic Studies, 1997.
- First Prize Award in a National Essay Competition on “The Birth Centenary of Nehru”, 1991.
He comes to his assignment with wide-ranging experience in Defence, Security and Crisis-Management issues and considerable understanding of International Relations. His ultimate vision is to build upon the foundation of his predecessors, generate a combat-ready land force in possessing a vital response capability to accomplish assigned missions and tasks. Lieutenant General Akwa is married to Mrs Dorothy Akwa and has four children and four grandchildren. He is a Christian and his hobbies include reading, writing, outdoor exercises, Squash Rackets and playing Scrabble.