Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, a senior legal practitioner, has called for a transformation of the country’s political space to attract “good men and women” of integrity to serve the nation.
He said integrity must be the bedrock of nation building, adding that the citizenry had a responsibility to ensure that persons who had demonstrated charisma and integrity were elected into leadership positions.
He made the call when he delivered the 10th J.E.A. Mills Commemorative Lecture in Accra Tuesday evening, July 26, 2022.
Organised by the J.E.A. Mills Memorial Heritage, the lecture formed part of activities marking the 10 year-anniversary of the passing of the late Prof. John Evans Atta Mills.
It was on the theme: “The man John Evans Atta Mills: Ten years on.”
The late J.E.A. Mills, the 3rd President of the 4th Republic, served as President from January 08, 2009 to July 24, 2012 – the day he died.
Mr Tsikata said Prof. Mills achieved political success with the “charisma of integrity,” and indicated that the election of the late President into office in 2008 showed that “in politics character matters.”
“Lack of integrity may seem to be politically successful for a time, but sooner or later, the deep human need for honesty and integrity break through.
“That was what we saw happen in Ghana in the election of President Mills in the 2008,” he said.
“Good men and women like Prof. Mills are desperately needed in our politics to rescue us from the mud into which we have sunk,” Mr Tsikata added.
He urged the youth to make individual character and integrity critical determinants to who they elected in leadership positions at all levels.
“Corruption is more costly to the youth simply because they have the longest span of the future ahead of them and what is squandered from national coffers today leaves the youth with less resources to fix the country to be the country we want,” Mr Tsikata said.
Nana Otuo Siriboe II, the Chairman of the Council of State, who chaired the function, said the late Prof. Mills personified humility, describing him as a “true son of Ghana.”
He said based on Prof. Mills’ humility as Vice President, the late President Rawlings did not hesitate to name him as candidate for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the 2000 Presidential election.
“He (Prof. Mills) was a great man and an epitome of humility,” Nana Siriboe II said.
In a speech read on her behalf, the wife of the late Prof. Mills, Ernestina Naadu Mills, said her late husband “was battered and bruised on the battlefield of politics.”
She said in spite of the challenges he faced as a politician, Prof. Mills held firm to his personal values of truth, simplicity, honesty, and abiding respect for all.
“To Fiifi, serving at the highest echelons of government was an opportunity to help change the character of Ghanaian politics for the better,” she said.
Togbe Afede XIV, the Agbogbomefia of the Asogli State, described Prof. Mills as a “true gem and national icon.”
“The era of Prof. Mills was an era of inclusiveness, an era where we had a man of character as President,” he said.
The J.E.A. Mills Memorial Heritage is a non-profit, non- partisan organisation, which seeks to preserve and build on the legacies of the late President John Evans Atta Mills.
It was established by a group of academics, professional colleagues, students, family and appointees of President Mills.