Former President of Ghana, H.E. John Dramani Mahama, interacted with students of Academic City University College over the weekend during the university’s Leadership Seminar Series under the theme “Taking critical decisions in decisive moments as a leader”.
The Leadership Series was designed as part of the university’s efforts to nurture the next generation of African leaders. It is aimed at ensuring that knowledge developed in the class is directly applied to address contemporary societal problems.
It is expected that the course will provide a platform for students to interact with renowned African leaders who have transcended from political, innovation, education, and industrial realms through sheer force of will and have impacted many lives.
Addressing students, former President, John Dramani Mahama took the students through what leadership entails.
“Leadership is about responsibility first and decision making, you must accept responsibility for the position that you occupy and once you are the leader, people look up to you to take responsibility and based upon that responsibility, take decisive action. You cannot take proper decisions when you have not accepted responsibility for taking those decisions,” he explained.
He also shared a number of decision points he faced as well as challenges he encountered while he served as President of Ghana.
According to him, the most challenging decision he had to take was to deal with corruption, the reshuffling of ministers and seeking assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Former President Mahama stated that erratic power supply, popularly called “dumsor”, was a legacy problem he inherited.
This, according to him is because the previous government did not pay attention to the need for generation of electricity at the same pace as its demand was rising.
“For many years, our demand for energy was growing by 12 per cent a year, we were consuming 12 per cent more energy per year. Unfortunately, previous governments were not putting in generation at the pace at which demand was rising.
“..You must forecast demand and then you must put in the generation to match the demand as it grows. Unfortunately for several years, no new power plant was put up to meet the demand and it all came to a head when I became President,” he said.
He explained that load shedding happened in his era as a result of one of the thermal plants in Takoradi breaking down.
Mr. Mahama said he accepted responsibility for the “dumsor” problem and set up an emergency committee to deal with the crisis, which was in two parts- generation and financial problems.
“We mobilised almost 500 Megawatts of power in the shortest time ever recorded in Africa. In a period of 9 months after February [State of nation address] we had the Ameri power plant producing power so we solved the generational part,” he said.
He added that to solve the financial aspect, the Energy Sector Levy Act (ESLA) was introduced to generate additional revenues to pay legacy debts from Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and some Bulk Distribution Companies (BDCs) supplying petroleum.
Former President John Mahama said another herculean task he faced during his tenure was to reshuffle his ministers.
He said although difficult, he had to reshuffle to prevent the ministers from creating “kingdoms in the Ministry that they are.”
“In my time, I reshuffled and they were not very pleased. Of course, some of them are not my friends anymore,” he added.