President John Evans Atta Mills has said that his name is being used for both good and bad reasons by people in places of authority, including his appointees who have arrogated to themselves powers they do not have.
The President said his name had been so devalued and bastardized that no one would like to pay a penny for it when it is offered for sale in exchange for a peanut. Name dropping, he noted, had been the order of the day. He however did not warn those who had been taking advantage of his name to stop doing that. “As far as the President is concerned, every second the President is saying this, the President is saying that…; my name, you won’t sell for even GH¢1.00. It’s gone, it’s been devalued,” he told journalists last Friday at the Castle during a media encounter.
Mills was responding to a question about the current situation where there seemed to be two different Ghana Olympic Committees (GOC) operating with different presidents as well as his government’s interference in sports – a development that nearly caused the country to be banned by the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA).
The President noted that those who took delight in using his name without recourse to him did so to either create or win favour.
President Mills sought to absolve himself and his government of any blame in the recent raid at the offices of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) by the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) and the parallel structure created at the GOC.
According to him, it was never the intention of his government to create any confusion in the country’s sports administration.
“Whatever I did, I did it in the best of faith,” he said, emphasizing that “it was a mix-up,” especially in naming Abedi Pele for a top CAF position when Kwesi Nyantakyi’s name had been submitted already.
He apologized to the FA president for the embarrassment caused.
“What I thought I was doing was to try to help Ghana to fill a lacuna which I felt appeared to exist. It turned out that things were not the way they seemed to me. My only regret is that if my attention had been drawn to this, as a sportsman, somebody who is familiar with sports administration, I would have taken the right decision,” he said.
The President declined to make a definite statement on whether or not he would seek re-election in view of the stiff opposition and criticisms he is facing in his party and the issue about his health.
“President Mills tried to justify why he had branded 2011 as an action year since he and his government spent the last two years laying the foundation for the economy to take off, adding, “It has not been easy.”
In the same breadth, President Mills said, “When we talk about an action year, it doesn’t mean that we have been inactive for two years. What it means is that we have been making the necessary preparation for takeoff. It just can be likened to a plane that is about to takeoff.”