When president John Evans Mills, went the way of all mortals on that fateful day of July 24, 2012, various government agencies were fallen over each other to rename everything after him.
We wailed, cursed death, but when the dust settled and tears dried, we forgot he ever existed.
A few of his loyalists gather every year, to celebrate his life, a lecture is organized and an imminent person invited to speak to a chosen topic. Obviously this is all that, can be done, as we cannot resurrect him, but the way and manner the whole anniversary, is organized and celebrated is what bothers me.
The vice-president, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, over the weekend was in the northern regional capital, Tamale, to supervise the renaming of the Tamale Sports Stadium to the Aliu Mahama Sports stadium.
Alhaji Aliu Mahama, the former vice-president, passed away on November 16, 2012, as a people we waited to honour and celebrate him only after the New Patriotic Party (NPP), assumed the reins of power.
This episode, is as disgraceful and embarrassing, as in Ghana, we have a saying that, we only honour our heroes after they are dead. So the question is, what went wrong?
A Foundation, which was established in his name, only begun to function, because the party he belongs to, is in power, and as expected, it will continue, until the NPP, loses power.
When someone, rises to become president, he or she ceases to belong to any political party, the person becomes a statesmen and the country must accord him or her the respect, recognition and reward they truly and rightly deserve.
A leader in this country is respected and given his rightful place, depending on which political party is in power.
What has now complicated the issues is the apparent misreading of the dialectics of history, where a debate for who or how many people founded this country, has been ignited by the proponent of Daquah-Busia.
We tell our history to suit, whichever political power is in power, this has contributed in no small way in how we treat our leaders, both dead and alive.
The initiative to rename the Tamale Sports Stadium after Alhaji Aliu Mahama, is commendable, as it encourages others to contribute their quota to the socio-economic development of this country, knowing that, when they join their ancestors, their country will not forget about them.
But in terms of historical impact and monumentality, one would have thought Prof. John Evans Atta Mills towers above Alhaji Aliu Mahama, and so before the government goes about honouring him, they should first do so for Prof. Mills.
The New Patriotic Party, has never taking part in the anniversaries organized in honour of Prof. Mills. In opposition, one will pardon them, because they had little say, but in government no excuse will suffice.
History has always reminded us that material things are perishable. Only fondness rooted in public memory is eternal.
Both leaders, have touched some lives and have given most part of their lives to the country they love. We cannot be cherry picking, based on sometimes not even the political party in power, but where the president hails from.
Prof. Mills, never got to complete his four years mandate, he died whiles in office, the least we can do to his memory, is to form a bi-partisan committee to oversee his anniversary. Like Jesus Christ, we are not celebrating his life before he became vice-president to Jerry John Rawlins to president, but rather when he assumed those positions.
He was a vice-president and president to a nation, not a political party. If there ever was any president in the history of this country, who believed in inclusion, then we cannot look further than Prof. John Evans Atta Mills.
Most of the people, occupying position in the present government are either his peers or his students, the president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, was his year mate in the university, the senior minister, yaw Osafo Marfo, was his mate and friend at the Achimota school, so they know him well and must help in preserving his legacy.
It is high time this hypocritical attitude was dispensed with and a garb of sincerity of purpose, truthfulness of conviction be put on.
A leader is our leader, regardless of which political party he or she belongs to. In other developed climes, once someone becomes president or vice-president, that person ceases to be an asset of a political party, the person transcends the boundaries of politics.
In Ghana, we recognize and celebrate our leaders, depending on which political party, is in power. This practice only seeks to divide us and deepens the lines.
I hope that, apart from a street name that was named after Prof. Mills, more will be done, including considering renaming the Cape Coast Sports Stadium, after Prof. Mills, for his love and contribution to sports.
It is not too late to chart a new path, a path of reconciliation that seeks to recognize every leader, regardless of their political affiliation, because a president today, will become ex-president tomorrow.
The government should endeavor to be part of next year’s anniversary celebration of Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, and the opposition National Democratic Congress, should also take part in Alhaji Aliu Mahama’s anniversary celebration next year.
We can have a national celebration for our past leaders or a political celebrations, the choice is ours to make.