In fondly memory of his late Boss, John Evans Atta Mills, former President John Mahama recounted the great experience he had with the late former Ghanaian leader whom he had privilege to work with him as a man of peace and tolerance.
According to him, truth, integrity, tolerance and peace were the nature of his predecessor and boss, the late President Atta Mills.
He however urged Ghanaians to emulate these virtues.
Describing him further as a moral and political colossus, he said there can be no limit put on the vehicles and instruments that eulogize and ingrain the late President’s memory and history in the hearts and minds of Ghanaians.
Mahama made these remarks when he launched the John Evans Atta Mills Memorial Heritage yesterday at the Cedi Conference Centre, University of Ghana to mark the 10th anniversary of the passing away of the former university law lecturer and former head of the Internal Revenue Service, IRS, now Ghana Revenue Authority, GRA.
The John Evans Atta Mills (JEAM) Memorial Heritage is the brainwave of a group of academics, professional colleagues, students, family and appointees of the President John Evans Atta Mills with a former Health Minister, Alex Segbefia, as Chairman of its governing board. The theme for the launch was, “The man John Evans Atta Mills – 10 years on.”
According to the organizers, The Memorial Heritage is a non-profit, independent, non-partisan organization anchored in Professor Mills’ passion and commitment to inclusivity, transparency, accountability and his relentless quest for peace and a better society.
“Professor Mills was my boss, my comrade, my mentor and my friend. He was tolerant, kind, fair, but firm. I am proud to have honed my political skills at his feet. I know there are many who also revere Professor Mills as their teacher and mentor. He taught for over 25 years and contributed to producing many astute legal practitioners from the Faculty of Law; and also, fine business minds from the then School of Administration, now University of Ghana Business School (UGBS)” Mahama said of his former boss.
“Professor John Evans Atta Mills was a good man! It therefore gladdens the hearts of the many millions of people who loved him, that this decision was taken to launch the Atta Mills Heritage here on the campus of the University of Ghana”, Mahama further said.
The Former President went on to touch on Ghana’s rapid growth in every field of endeavor under President Atta Mills which has resulted in his name befittingly assigned to a significant number of national infrastructure across the country.
Touching on how he received the news of Atta-Mills death and how it affected him, Mahama said that fateful day, he had been alerted that he would be asked to act because Prof. was likely to travel to Nigeria.
“I was informed by his Secretary Sir Bebaako-Mensah that he had requested specifically that I stand in for him at the official launch of the Brand Ghana project at the International Conference Centre. I attended the function with the Chief of Staff Mr. John Martey Newman. Upon my return to the Castle, which was then the seat of Government, as I proceeded to my office, I asked the Chief of Staff to inform Prof that I was going to come over and see him to discuss a few important issues after meeting with a former President who was waiting in my office. Moments after our return, the Chief of Staff called me frantically and said Prof has been rushed to 37 Military hospital in an emergency. I wrapped up my meeting and prepared my staff to rush to the hospital. It was then Sir Bebaako-Mensah entered my office and delivered the devastating news. Prof dead? How? How can Prof die?
“The world came to a standstill! Nothing in my political life and experience had prepared me for a moment like this. The shelter of working under Prof had been a wonderful experience. His death left me in trepidation of stepping up to the plate, realizing the huge responsibility one was stepping into and that the buck stopped with me and not someone else.
The swearing-in ceremony was a blur and I struggled to complete my acceptance speech without breaking down in front of the whole nation. When I left the podium, I missed my way and sat back in my Vice Presidential seat until the uproar from the MP’s reminded me that I had sworn the Presidential oath and should move to the Ceremonial Presidential seat. The rest is history to be narrated at another time.”
Renowned Economist and elder statesman, Kwame Pianim, speaking at the launch described President Atta Mills as a man of peace, honesty and discipline, attributes needed to bring order in the chaos of politics in Ghana today. He said Mills was one who could reach across the political divide easily to get things done for the country because of his clean conscience.
The Omanhene (Paramount Chief) of Esikado, Nana Kobina Nketsia V, who chaired the function also eulogized the late President, asserting that his high moral principles reflected in his work when he was both Vice-President and President. He questioned the ability of a person to rule when that person has weak morals.
“If you want to know people you have to know them by their routes, Character always matters. It is something we forget. A person’s character shines and what we saw of Prof both as a Vice President and as president was a man of character… Once we lose the moral end, once you lose the moral authority, you lose the capacity to rule and Prof always had that morality about him in his behavior, in his discussions” the chief said.