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General News of Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Source: Ghanaian Chronicle

Tsatsu Deserves National Award -Mills

The former Vice President and National Democratic Congress (NDC) 2008 presidential candidate, Professor John Evans Atta Mills, on Friday, broke his silence over the jailing of former Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC) Chief Executive, Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata, stating clearly that the convict deserved a national award, rather than a prison term.

He said after working with the man he described as a gem, he was convinced that he was innocent of all the charges, but would not begrudge the court for exercising its duty, and expressed the hope that God, as the supreme judge, would let him come out of prison.

"I witnessed the proceedings at the Fast Track High Court, and can say that Tsatsu is innocent," he said, amidst applause from the emotionally charged students, who gathered at the LLT Hall at the University of Cape Coast (UCC), to listen to him.

Mills said he had known Tsatsu for 40 years, and that the he was an honest man, who dedicated himself to the cause of oil exploration in the country.

Currently, Tsatsu Tsikata is serving a five-year jail sentence, for wilfully causing financial loss to the state.

Mills told the students that his campaign was centered on three thematic areas - Investing in the people through quality education, job creation, and equal opportunities for all.

On education, he promised the students that NDC administration would re-introduce the cost-sharing principle, to ease the problem of high school fees in the country.

He also assured the students of accommodation provisions, and that he was the brain behind the SSNIT hostel projects, and would expand it through private sector participation, when given the nod.

Prof. Mills assured teachers in the country, of study leave with pay, and to better their conditions of service as a means of ensuring quality education.

As the initiator of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), Prof. Mills said he would set aside 2% for research work and the study of mathematics and science, claiming that the country cannot move forward in research and science, without the needed support.

He reiterated his commitment to building an Allied Health Sciences University, and Energy Renewable University, for the Volta and Brong Ahafo Regions respectively.

"I will not promise you free secondary and university for all regions, as someone has been saying," Mills said, explaining that the second cycle education needed expansion to ensure a higher intake.

He also explained that if the NPP wanted to make education free, then it should reduce utility costs, because that had contributed to the high cost of secondary education.

Asked what he would do for women in his administration, the Law and Economics Professor said he would appoint 40% women as Cabinet Ministers, because women are hardworking people.

Prof. Mills agreed with Ghanaians that the politics of today should be based on issues, but equally believed that people should check the character and credentials of politicians, and what that person could use his/her credentials to achieve for the nation.

"Some people can have good credentials, but cannot utilise them to the benefit of all, but Ghanaians should put me to test and see, and I know the good Lord will help me to deliver on my promise," he added.

He condemned the Northern violence, and asked the government to investigate and bring perpetrators to book, without political consideration.

Prof. Mills admonished the students to be guided by the truth in all their endeavours.

Nii Lante Vanderpuye, Operations Director of Prof. Mills campaign team, thrilled the students with an enumeration of the credentials of Prof. Mills, indicating that he attained his doctorate degree at the age of 27.

Prof. Mills earlier visited the Tantri Branch of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), and the Siwdu Garage, where he interacted with both drivers and artisans.

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