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Opinions of Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Columnist: Jackson, Margaret

Classy President Mills

By Margaret Jackson

When leaders speak to their citizenry or deliver addresses to their lawmakers, many have used those occasions to rise beyond partisan predispositions to demonstrate how deep they care about their countries and the welfare of their people. That is why I have personally stated to close friends that real leaders who are a rare breed are normally not born from trees but cast from stones. Many leaders have emerged, some of whom came to accomplish a lot, but authentic recognition and remembrance by and large are given to those leaders who displayed more dept, and whose thinking and behaviour transcended beyond their comfort seats of governments to encompass the living conditions and development of the very people they governed.

Leadership is about being inclusive. True leadership is about giving recognition and respect where it is due. Leadership is not about being served but about serving others. Leadership is not about losing your cool but remain calm and at times classy in the midst of a hostile environment. Leadership got to do with selflessness, which bores down to denying yourself the comfort and luxury for the good of those you are governing. And I remember this famous saying that “Politics is about stomaching nonsense”. The above describes the sterling qualities of President Mills, who the opposition NPP quietly admires in their chambers because they have come to the realization that no matter how much they hit the whip on him he will always remain focused, resolute and not engage anybody in any distractive tendencies.

If there was any point in time that Ghanaians lost this first-rate character trait of President Mills they saw it in full glow when he delivered the State of the Nation address last week. Against the disrespectful taunting and hooting from the shameful and fickle minded NPP members of parliament, President Mills just glided through with his address to demonstrate to Ghanaians and the International Community that he will never dent his God-given temperament, honesty, cool-headedness and respect for all, by descending into the gutters to engage those who were goading him.

There is this ex-president of Ghana who has been going round trying to claim everything that he used the country’s monies to accomplish as his own baby. This man has been running around and fighting everybody who lays claim to anything under his leadership. And many people are disgusted about this behaviour because it portrays some childish tendencies on the part of this ex-president.

It is a fact that ex-President Kufour secured the funding for the 18-kilometer George Walker Bush Motorway (GWBM). This, I give to him. But it is also a fact that the construction and completion of the GWBM was supervised by President Mills. This, I also give to President Mills. We see some similarities of this in 1 Corinthians 3:6, where Paul preached and planted the seed of God in so many cities and communities but had Apollos travelling and doing visitations, offering encouragements and support to water those seeds. That is why we had this famous quote “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.”

Even though we have these facts starring us in the face, Kufour does not want to have anything of those. He wants Ghanaians to give him the sole recognition for the GWBM because he secured the funding. That is why Kufour who is so obsessive about his legacy (I will write an article on this) has been behaving like a wounded tiger and giving a loud growling purr or rawr-rawr-rawr sound when anybody talks about the motorway.

But President Mills sounding classy and reducing Kufour to a school kid who caught his football and ran home because he was being scored plenty of goals by his friend, set the records straight and gave recognition to the big players in the GWBM. President Mills stated that it was the NPP that secured the funding, but the execution of the GWBM was done by the NDC. He therefore, said that in football, we call it a draw. What a classy way to put the issue of the GWBM to bed!

Ghanaians have not forgotten that it was former President Rawlings who secured the funding for the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange. Again, Ghanaians are aware that the execution of the project was done by Kufour. But things are different when compared with the GWBM. First, Kufour changed the construction specification of the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange so that it does not seem that the project was the baby of the NDC. And when the project was finished and was being commissioned ex-president Rawlings who secured the monies for the project was never invited by Kufour. But today we have wise President Mills giving recognition to Kufour for securing the funding for the George Bush Motorway by inviting Kufour to the commissioning ceremony. Just compare notes and keep talking things over.

During the State of the Nation address there was also something that President Mills said that caught my attention. Now read this: “Our common yearning to see Ghana moving forward binds us as one people. Even as we seek to promote our respective political ideologies, we must be willing to synthesize the best ideas from both sides of the House for the advancement of the country. We must all be willing to put aside unnecessary partisanship and keep in mind the big picture of how to sustain together our middle-income status through sustainable economic development. That will be the multi-party democracy dividend for which we all continue to toil in the name of Mother Ghana.”

Can anybody from the NPP ever utter such words, as members of the NPP continue to see the NDC as demons that have descended from nowhere to take their rightful place of governance of the country? For the NPP whose leadership thinks about nothing but how they can return to power and rape the country from where they left off, can you ever imagine anybody from the party rallying the country to see the bigger picture of developing the country for posterity to be the judge?

Even by being classier, President Mills showed how funny he can be, when he used the word gargantuan which has gained a wider currency in the country today, to describe how the minority NPP heckled him in parliament during the delivery of his speech. This sent the audience into laughter and applause, demonstrating how a leader has to behave in the midst of difficulties.

Before President Mills ended his speech he had these sage words for the parliamentarians, “Many Honourable Members of the House have been through a hectic period of campaigning towards constituency primaries. Whether you won or lost, you remain MPs and I will treasure your input at all times. Do not forget there is still a lot of work to be done here in the House.

I wish Members on both sides a fruitful session and may all that we do help in building a Better Ghana. Let us always bear in mind that as a people, we have much more common ground than we make it seem. Therefore let us build on the things that unite us.” I do hope Akufo-Addo is either listening or he read President Mills’ speech.

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