The immediate past Governor of Ekiti State in Nigeria, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has stated that the selection of the late Professor John Atta Mills as presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was a reward for his competence.
Delivering the 3rd Atta Mills Memorial Lecture on Tuesday, Dr. Fayemi said Prof. Mills’ selection and overwhelming endorsement by NDC delegates was a fitting reward for the late President.
“When eventually, he was announced by Rawlings as his preferred successor and endorsed for the Presidency, it was a fitting reward for his competence, integrity, modesty and loyalty,” he stressed.
The late Professor Mills who had served as the Vice President of ex-President John Rawlings was handpicked by his boss to lead the NDC in the 2000 presidential elections.
After two unsuccessful attempts to win power, the late Mills finally became the President after the 2008 elections.
According to Dr. Fayemi, Prof. Mills during his tenure as President of Ghana until his untimely death was an influential leader.
He said the late President “brought a radically different dynamic to the Presidency,” and “almost got into trouble when he said on a campaign trail that he was going to be taking advice on a daily basis from the former President, Jerry Rawlings.”
“Professor Mills shun the limelight, preferring to work behind the scenes. He soon became the influential architect of official interventions in many areas but he was always far more interested in getting results rather than milking his fame for political capital,” he remarked.
The former Ekiti State Governor further described the late President as a man who “often cultivated relationships with some of his fellow leaders as preferred channels of quiet personal diplomacy.”
He expressed admiration at the manner in which Prof Mills pursued his Better Ghana Agenda relentlessly.
“He shunned disdained, flamboyant, self promoting photo opportunities, opting instead to work behind the scenes,” a leadership approach Dr. Fayemi said was “immensely successful.”