Dr Ishmael Yamson (left), an Economist, interacting with Sam Okudzeto (right), Member of the Council of State, after the “Documenting Ghana” event in Accra. Picture: ELVIS NII NOI DOWUONA
Dr Ishmael Yamson (left), an Economist, interacting with Sam Okudzeto (right), Member of the Council of State, after the “Documenting Ghana” event in Accra. Picture: ELVIS NII NOI DOWUONA

Exhibit integrity, honesty in governance - Ishmael Yamson to leaders

An economist, Dr Ishmael Yamson, has challenged people in authority to exhibit integrity, character, honesty among others if they want their names to go down in history in a positive light. 


He stressed that while they executed their current roles of leadership, people in authority should be guided by how they wanted to be remembered, stressing that as leaders, that was all that would matter when they were gone.

“Leadership is not just leadership.

Hitler was a leader but how is he remembered today?

“We have had 14 Presidents and heads of state, given all the military regimes.

How is each of them remembered today?

How do we remember Dr Kwame Nkrumah today,?”

Dr Yamson, a former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Unilever (Ghana) Ltd stressed.

Dr Yamson was speaking at a screening of a documentary last Sunday about him, put together by documentary filmmaker, Akosua Baayie Quaynor.

The about 80-minute film, dubbed “Documenting Ghana”, offered a focus on the real life stories and events of Dr Yamson and provided an intimate look at his experiences.

By telling the unknown stories of Dr Yamson, the documentary seeks to inspire perseverance, hard work, determination, honesty and kindness.

It provides a comprehensive understanding of the veteran by revealing the motivation and perspectives that shaped his future. 

Leaders who build

Dr Yamson, who is a former Board Chairman of the Standard Chartered Bank Ghana Ltd, said the country needed leaders who built on what they had already been given if the country was ever going to prosper so that we could achieve our full potential as a nation.

“Nobody hands over a country to be destroyed.

Nobody goes to the polls to vote for someone who they know will destroy the country.

We all go hoping that they will come and make life better than they found it.

So if you don’t have the character, principles and values to back it, then the likelihood is that you’ll do the opposite of what people expected,” he stressed.

Dr Yamson commended the brain behind the documentary but lamented the degree to which the experiences and life stories of many were left untold and unwritten.

“If you want to really go and search for some of the people who have gone ahead of us, you’ll hit a wall because nobody cares.

The government doesn’t show interest.

The people who want to do it, don’t have the means.

The people who can support probably don’t see any value in it, so they won’t,” he said.

He urged individuals who had achieved great things and believed their stories could positively impact the lives of people, particularly the youth, to offer themselves for documentation. 


Ms Quaynor said her project was born out of a sad realisation that as a country, we hadn’t celebrated, talked about and documented our unique stories enough to inspire generations that are yet to come.


“My daughter went to school one day and brought home a book written by a Canadian writer about Kwabena Darko, a Ghanaian entrepreneur.

I felt very ashamed after reading it because I wondered how many children in Ghana knew about Kwabena Darko, yet their peers in the US were celebrating him,” she said.

She said the time had come for us to stop being reserved as a people and thrust ourselves into the limelight for the rest of the world to know what we also have to offer, adding “we can’t put a price tag on inspiring a child at the farthest part of this country.”

The Director-General of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Amin Alhassan, said his outfit as the nation’s broadcaster was always ready to partner projects that would highlight the uniqueness of Ghana and Ghanaians as a people.


“Our network reaches every corner of the country and as a public service broadcaster, this is the type of content we should be putting out there,” he said.

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