6 key lessons from Prof Lumumba’s address at Atta Mills’ Commemorative Lecture



African nationalist leader and renowned Kenyan lawyer, Professor Patrick Lumumba on Thursday, July 27 eulogised Ghana’s late President Prof John Evans Atta Mills for the service he rendered during his short presidential tenure.

According to him, Prof Mills was able to lead with empathy, make informed decisions and govern in a manner that reflected the needs and aspirations of Ghanaians.

“He was vocal about his commitment to fighting corruption in Ghana. He established mechanisms to root out corruption within the government and took a firm stance against any form of malfeasance. He respected and upheld the rule of law. He believed in a just and fair legal system that treated all citizens equally and protected their rights.”

Speaking at the 11th JEA Mills Commemorative Lecture at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, he said that Prof Mills made efforts to bridge the regional disparities in Ghana by ensuring that development and opportunities were not concentrated in specific areas but spread across all the regions in the country.

Prof Lumumba noted that the former president maintained an open-door policy and made himself accessible to Ghanaians who wished to meet him.

The Kenyan lawyer added that Prof Mills welcomed people from all walks of life, regardless of their social status or political affiliations.

He emphasised that the ‘Asomdwehene’ was one who stayed connected with the grassroots and was able to prioritise local issues and the concerns of Ghanaian citizens.

“This approach allowed him to govern with a deeper understanding of the needs of the population. He also believed in inclusive decision-making and sought to involve the public in the governance process. By listening to the grassroots, he incorporated the perspectives of the people into policy-making and development initiatives,” he stated.

To this end, Prof Lumumba noted six valuable lessons that Ghanaian leaders should emulate from the former president’s exemplary leadership and contributions in Ghana and Africa to help the leaders navigate the path of progress and prosperity for Ghanaians and the African continent as a whole.

Commitment to Ethical governance “As you lead your great nation, embrace the principles of ethical leadership and recognise that the power entrusted to you is not for personal gain but to serve the people with utmost dedication and selflessness”, he said.

Stay connected to the Grassroots

“Atta Mills’ emphasis on staying connected to the grassroots is a vital lesson for us all. As leaders, it is crucial that we remain accessible to the people we serve. Engaging with citizens from all walks of life, listening to their concerns, and understanding their aspirations will empower you to make informed decisions that truly reflect the needs of your people. Be inspired by Atta Mills’ unwavering commitment to social justice and equality. His tireless efforts to uplift the marginalized and vulnerable in society serve as a reminder of your duty to bridge the gap between the privileged and the underprivileged. Leaders can learn from Atta Mills’ Page 13 of 15 emphasis on inclusive economic growth, ensuring that the benefits of development are spread across all segments of society and regions. You must ensure that every Ghanaian has equal access to opportunities, education, healthcare, and economic prosperity.

“Fellow leaders, we cannot forget the importance of unity and inclusivity. Atta Mills believed in bringing people together, transcending political and social divisions for the greater good of the nation. Go on and embrace diversity, foster a sense of national cohesion, and work collaboratively to achieve your shared goals.”

Commitment to the Youth

“He recognised the potential of our young generation as the driving force for Ghana’s progress. As leaders, we must invest in their education, skills development, and empowerment to build a brighter future for Ghana and Africa at large.”

Diplomacy and International Relations

“Fourthly, Atta Mills’ emphasis on diplomacy and international relations can serve as a lesson for current leaders in effectively representing Ghana on the global stage and fostering positive relationships with other nations.”

Legacy of Integrity and Commitment to Ethical Governance

“Fifthly, Atta Mills’ legacy of integrity and commitment to ethical governance can serve as a guiding light for present-day leaders, reminding them of the lasting impact of leadership rooted in principles and values.”

Significance of Humility in Leadership

“Atta Mills was a man who led with humility and grace, always willing to listen and learn from others. This humility enabled him to connect with the people on a personal level and earn their trust and respect. As you lead, be humble in your actions, acknowledging that you are servants of the people, entrusted with the responsibility to lead with compassion and humility.

“By embracing these lessons from Atta Mills’ life and leadership, current Ghanaian leaders can contribute to the continued growth, prosperity, and unity of the nation, fulfilling their sacred duty to serve the people with dignity and distinction,” he concluded.

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