Ghanaian intellectuals urged to consider participating in politics

Former Governor of Ekiti State in Nigeria, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has urged Ghanaian intellectuals to participate in partisan politics as the country strives for economic progress.

He said the decision by some intellectuals in the country not to enter politics because it is perceived as a dirty game could have dire consequences for the country.

Addressing the third annual Prof. Mills memorial lecture in Accra, Dr Fayemi said these intellectuals are better placed to make policies that address the needs of citizens.

“The purpose of public intellect is to translate rarefied ideas into the vernacular and non-verbal communication of the masses and bring these ideas into the mainstream without being condescending.

“As political actors, intellectuals must take ideological arguments and translate them into tangible policy options that will have an impact on the lives of ordinary people. And as I say very often, work with the people and not for the people”, he added.

MP for Ningo-Prampram E. T. Mensah and Former Minister of State Totobi Kwakye attended the lecture

Dr Fayemi stressed that the Africa requires enlightenment, thoughtful politicians with character and integrity, who are bold and broad-minded enough to consider things which lie beyond the scope of their immediate influences and benefit just like the late Prof Mills.

The late Professor Mills was handpicked by ex-president Rawlings as running mate during the presidential elections in 1996.

After two failed attempts as presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), he finally won the 2008 presidential poll but died in 2012 after a battle with throat cancer.

Dr Fayemi described the late President as one who belonged to the finest traditions of politically responsible intellectuals in African governance and encouraged current Ghanaian intellectuals to emulate him.

Former Defence Minister, Benjamin Kunbuor, La Mantse Nii Kpobi Tettey Tsuru III and Kwesi Pratt (behind Kunbuor) were also present

He added that Prof Mills was “a self-described social democrat,” who was a big believer in the virtues of personal ambition, hard work and achievement; “and likewise recognized the duty of the state to create social safety nets for the most vulnerable to serve as a helping hand to those who have the will to make something of their lives but simply lack the means.”

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Former Finance Minister under the Kufuor administration Yaw Osafo Maafo agrees with Dr Fayemi.

He said, “I believe that you need intellectuals in politics because they tend to bring principles into the game and at the end of the day we can only sustain our democracy if we are principled”.

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