Born on February 4, 1946 in Accra, Ghana, the second son of Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey (a prominent lawyer and politician) and his Dutch wife Margaretha, Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey had his primary education in Accra, before travelling to England to further his education.
In 1966, he began work as a radio and TV scriptwriter, commentator and presenter at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC). In 1969, he joined Lintas West Africa, an advertising firm, as an account executive and radio and television producer.
As Client Service Manager of Lintas in Ghana in 1971, he wrote, co-ordinated and executed Family Planning, Motivation Campaign for the Ghana National Family Planning Programme. Obetsebi-Lamptey was appointed General Manager of Lintas in Ghana in 1974 and thereafter worked on a number of programmes for the company and others in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Kenya.
From 1984 to 1999, he worked with the World Health Organization (WHO). Obetsebi-Lamptey was the Plenary Speaker at the World Summit on AIDS, London, and Second International Symposium on the disease in Yaoundé, Cameroon. He is a past president of the Advertising Association of Ghana.
From 2005 to July 2007, Obetsebi-Lamptey served as Minister of Tourism and Diasporan Relations in the cabinet of President John Kufuor. Previously Obetsebi-Lamptey was Minister of Tourism and Modernization of the Capital (2002–05) and Minister of Information (2001–02). He was the National Campaign Manager of the victorious New Patriotic Party (NPP) during the 2000 Presidential elections, which saw the first constitutional (civilian-to-civilian) transition of power in Ghana.
He resigned his posts in July 2007 to campaign for the NPP nomination for the 2008 Presidential elections. As of February 2010, he was the National Chairman of the NPP.
Obetsebi-Lamptey has several publications to his credit, covering topics from family planning to AIDS prevention in Africa.
As a professional communicator, he was given the task of working on the identity of the party. He worked with Dan Quaye, an artist, to design the NPP flag, colours, symbols and other visual identity items.
As first chairman of the publicity committee, he handled publicity and media for presidential candidate Professor Adu Boahen during the 1992 campaign. As was the practice in those early difficult times when party members sacrificed to fund party activities, Jake paid for much of the publicity campaign activities from his own pocket and resources.
Sacrificing for the party is not something that started after 2000.
Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey contested the national chairmanship in 1995, and came second to the late Peter Ala Adjetey.
As Chairman of the Communications Committee, he founded the NPP News with Ferdinand Ayim. The newspaper was able to make a small contribution to party overheads.
In 1997, he successfully contested the Regional Chairmanship of Greater Accra. He was re-elected twice more, serving a total of three terms as regional chairman before stepping down in 2005. During his chairmanship, the party, for the first time in the Danquah-Dombo-Busia tradition, since 1947, became the majority party in Greater Accra, as evident in winning the Accra Central (Odododiodoo) and Osu (Klottey Korle) seats.
For the 2000 elections, he was appointed the campaign manager for the J.A.Kufuor.
Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey worked hard on the presentation of the candidate and the party and also worked hard to reduce the level of manipulation at the polling station. He introduced the innovation of “voters tally sheet” and heightened awareness that the NPP would put itself into position to be able to ensure that correct results were declared.
The campaign saw the transfer of power through the ballot box for the first time in Ghana’s political history.
In 2004, Jake was again appointed campaign manager for the successful re-election of President J.A.Kufuor.
In government, he had many appointments, starting with being the first Chief of Staff during the transition from the NDC to the NPP era. At that time, only President Kufuor and Mr J.H. Mensah had ever served in government before and there were fears that some elements might try to reverse the NPP ’s election victory.
Contested flag bearer
In 2007, Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey was one of the 17 who contested the flag-bearer position of the NPP.
In 2010 he stood successfully for election as a national chairman. His team produced the result that landed in the Supreme Court, where President John Dramani Mahama was declared elected.
Jake stood for re-election as NPP national chairman to make sure that the NPP presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo is elected President of Ghana with NPP majority in Parliament but lost to Mr Paul Afoko.
Cross he carried