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Opinions of Saturday, 6 December 2008

Columnist: Assou-Dodji, Harold K.

Mills And The Search Of A President

The Man Professor John E. A. Mills And The Search Of A President: Ghana Marches On

Part I

A Voice From Afar

Fellow Ghanaians, Men of Valour, Men of Integrity, Women of Class, Women of Substance, the Youth, employed and unemployed, Vulnerable Women and Children, Sons and Daughters of the Republic, Ladies and Gentlemen…

My name is Harold. Harold Assou-Dodji. I am privileged to be able to put across through this powerful medium and for a second time to Ghanaians and the whole world, a declaration about the choices we all face as a Nation on December 7th 2008.

I am writing to make statement. A statement about the Flag bearer of a great Party, Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills of the National Democratic Congress, NDC and the hopes and aspirations he represents for Ghanaian youth of all persuasions, to the struggling average family, to the marginalised in society and to the almost forgotten and abandoned.


Fellow Ghanaians, the NDC as a party is presenting itself to you for the fifth time since the inception of the fourth Republic and for the third time under the able and humble leadership of Professor John Evans Atta-Mills.

Professor John Mills is the man who is offering us wholly and without reservation his heart, his mind and his strength to the service of this Nation as he has demonstrated in the past decades of his public life, and as been recognised in his nomination for awards hélas with ill-intent, by the current NPP administration.

The strength of Prof Mills in knocking persistently for the third time at our individual doors, at the doors of our minds and hearts, should demonstrate to us unequivocally that perseverance and determination in every enterprise and undertaking of noble cause shall yield and must yield positive results. Professor Mills is hoping to find, besides his aspirations and dreams of a better Ghana, the voice of God in your own voices and in the choices you will be making on December 7th.

This is the man who has never, directly or indirectly, glorified or trumpeted his own past achievements on any public platform [Akuffo-Addo, the self-glorifying and arrogant man that he has always been, either directly or indirectly, was at his best persistently and vehemently demanding that Mr Kuffour included his name on the list of persons to be nominated for awards, and that he Akuffo-Addo rather deserved to be awarded and not Professor Mills. What a shame!]. Professor Mills has demonstrated throughout his life, the humility that Ghanaians must look for in the next leader this Country patiently and anxiously awaits. On the other hand and for once again, Akuffo-Addo is considering himself the BEST among 22 million Ghanaians to lead this Nation, when he did not even reach the 50% mark at the primaries that acclaimed him! I appeal to you discerning fellow Ghanaians, to allow your consciences guide you irrespective of your political persuasions, in selecting a true, humble and morally upright leader this great Nation needs.

I myself, the writer of this article, have never met the Professor, have never shaken hands with him and neither have I spoken with him nor exchanged any form of communication with him through whatsoever means. My writing and the convictions expressed therein stem out of a long period of close look and study of the sayings and declarations of the man who never quits, John Atta-Mills.

Professor Mills is not seeking power to rule us. For the third time, he is seeking to find our voices so that he can better represent them. This man is offering himself on the socio-political and economic platform of this great Nation as a lamb-cum-victim ready to be taken to the gallows, ready to offer a responsible and accountable leadership we so direly need in these our trying times. He is fully and consciously aware of the accompanying onerous burdens of leadership. The leader we need to move this country forward to greater heights is one who does not beg and lobby for public/national recognition of his achievements, albeit modest. He is seeking power to serve us.

Identification With The People

Professor Mills early this year during the launching of the NDC manifesto, told Ghanaians that he “was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth”. Now what I understand by “to not be born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth” is “to not be born surrounded with all the basic necessities of life for a normal life”. So it was that as a young child growing up, Prof Mills knew misery, daily hunger, and ill-health. He’d suffered dejection and even occasional rejection. He has known many he grew up with whose ambitions, hopes and aspirations were shattered by politically eccentric, uninspiring and cocooned leaderships of the past. The Man can still see many with unfinished and deferred dreams from years past.

These personal experiences of the Professor, coupled with his once proximity to power, make him a better man to identify with the poor, and to come to the needs of the socially excluded and of those discriminated against by a system that has become tribally and socially biased. Now I doubt if Akuffo-Addo has ever known hunger, poverty, social exclusion, and other social depravities, factors that can largely help shape an aspiring leader’s vision and plan for the masses. Akuffo-Addo owes what he is today due to the privileges he had when his father was once, by historical conflagrations, the president of the Republic. If he claims today that he was at the forefront of fighting hard for democracy to come to Ghana, Ghanaians especially the youth today must be asking a lot of questions about this man and the history he’s been trying to rewrite, a history that never was! On the other hand, Atta-Mills’ story can be compared to that of Barack Obama, the typical and classical American example, who wouldn’t have been able to inspire so many had he not been part of the common experience of the masses and despite the odds against him. He was there among the people.

Professor Mills has listened to the tragic and disappointing stories of so many young promising men. He has seen through the stories of many, how, over the past 8 years or so, majority of Ghanaians have been fighting unsuccessful battles against an increasing cost of living; how, over the same period of time, considerable number of our youngsters nationwide failed, through no fault of theirs, to accept admissions to the various tertiary institutions to pursue their dreams of building Mother Ghana. He has seen how, in the same vein, huge numbers of our young men and women have left the shores of this Nation in search of socio-economic freedom, and how foreign remittances into the country have more than quadrupled in the past few years because Ghanaians at home have had to depend for survival more than ever on their families and relatives and friends working abroad. All in the face of a booming economy!

We have seen how difficult it has become for the average family to make ends meet in an ever expensive, difficult economic system of property-owning democracy; how at the Castle, Kuffour and his NPP bunch of looters call our democracy and wealth-creation property-owning democracy, but on the streets of Ghana and among the masses, the same Kuffour and his people call it poverty-owning democracy; how the dreams we have been dreaming are dreams dreamt on empty stomachs; dreams dreamt on false promises and hopes; dreams dreamt on hard rocks and stone beds; and dreams projected and rooted in a national economic mirage.

We have seen how they have preached Freedom and Justice but refused to accept responsibilities of their acts and allow real universal justice to prevail in the country. Freedom goes with responsibility but for NPP, freedom means acts with impunities if committed by pro-NPP supporters. Justice is only justice when it serves and saves the shameless face of the hawks within the NPP party.

We have witnessed the most rampant, mad-rush for wealth accumulation and property acquisition and land-grabbing by politicians driven by sheer greed and inordinate desires for money and in the process, robbing Ghanaians of the full benefits of their hard works. We have seen how our youngsters, as a result, are driven by a sense of materialism, with the belief that quick money and possession of personal wealth, no matter how it is acquired, is better than perseverance and hard work, dedicated to a noble cause with an honest life.

Men of conscience, men of courage, Professor Mills has the determination and the consuming passion to help stamp out corruption in Ghana and make our dreams come back and come true! He will provide us with real and concrete development based on a pragmatic, verifiable, and truly accountable leadership rather than on statistical figures that cannot replace common sense and the hard cold realities faced by Ghanaians in the course of the past eight years. He will pursue an aggressive agenda in the development of our human capital through investing massively in our peoples and the youth, jobs creation and development of our national infrastructure through massive investment in our road, health, educational and public accommodation infrastructure. The Professor is not only asking us to trust in God and trust in him, but he is also asking us to trust in our abilities and strengths to bring about these functional and real changes.

The Call For Duty: For A Better Ghana

With his own story to tell, Atta-Mills burns with the desire to start a new episode in the history of Ghana. With the passion for a better Ghana burning like fire in his belly, Professor John Mills is asking us to join him forge a time-bridge between the dreams of our founding fathers and the possibilities and realisation of a more just and freer society under the next NDC administration.

This man is asking us to join him start a new national dream that will ultimately inspire us all and our future generations to a life full of accomplishments and possibilities, to a life of unwavering pride in being born and called a Ghanaian, to a life of unadulterated love and defence for the Republic, to a life of limitless opportunities. He wants to reconnect the line of socially oriented policies started under the NDC and disrupted by the NPP, to a new thread of pragmatic and aggressive policies that will make life more meaningful and less stressful for all Ghanaians.

Professor Mills is calling us to partner him to reshape the Ghanaian image, to redefine the Ghanaian identity, to set a national agenda and to redirect our orientations. He desires us to join forces together in order to make this our cherished Land a Land of immense and immeasurable possibilities: where there are no political and tribal considerations in appointments to State Institutions and Agencies; where the efforts of the enterprising youth shall gladly and proactively be met by Government’s total support; where the weak shall be protected and where the life of every single Ghanaian, irrespective of their place of abode, is defended, protected and accounted for; where the right socio-economic environment is created and the youth is enabled and encouraged to pursue their various aspirations, careers, goals, dreams, and where we are encouraged to marry and enjoy the fruits and responsibilities of family life.

God Save The Republic!

Harold Assou-Dodji


Tel.: 0207-845-661/0244-698-146

The author of this feature article is a 33-year old, secret admirer of Prof. Atta-Mills. He’s had several years international work experience in both Francophone and Anglophone West and Central Africa and has witnessed the running of Presidential and National Assembly elections in five of these Francophone countries.