Yesterday, July 24, Ghanaians from all walks of life, in accordance with our traditions converged at the Asomdwe Park, to pay glowing tributes to our departed leader, John Evans Atta Mills.
Two years ago, on that fateful Tuesday, the whole country was thrown into a state of mourning, as for the first time in the history of the country, we lost a sitting President.
The uniqueness of that incident was that he was a man who was loved by many and seen as a man of peace, love and kindness.
Characteristically, we all of a sudden saw in him as a man who walked on water while alive, he suddenly became infallible and was raised to the status of a god, where even everything in the country was named after him.
He had his shortcomings and I will be the first person to ignore that and pretend it did not exist, but like him, we all fall short of the glory of God.
He was the Vice-President from 1996 to 2000, where he contested on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the 2000 elections; unfortunately he lost to ex-President, John Agyekum Kufuor.
In 2004, he staked another claim to the presidency, this time around losing to the same man, until 2008, when he won in one of the keenly contested elections since 1992, when we ushered in the new dispensation.
The man on two occasions, when he lost never held this country to ransom; he left the country to Canada, to do what he does best. Unlike his colleague of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who feel that it is his birthright to rule this country, after been beaten fair and square chose to run to the Supreme Court to have the victory of John Dramani Mahama overturned to make him the President. How do you hope to benefit from an illegality, only Nana Addo understands that logic?
John Evans Atta Mills’ sacrificed finally paid off; he became President before he departed to his Maker.
When the history of this country is being written, he will be among the best Presidents this country was lucky to have had. He was a rare gift of a politician, although it was not every decision that he took as a President that I agree with, but I think on a scale of 1 to 10, I will give him, that score by any marking scheme is a pass mark.
His decision to listen to some of the hawks against the advice of the founder of his party was one decision I wished as a Professor of law, he will have known that you cannot sacrifice loyalty for even family.
Another decision is his refusal to include Dr. Spio Garbrah in his Government because he criticized him when he contested him for the flagbearership of the party and his subsequent article published in the Daily Graphic, captioned “Honouring Nkrumah’s Legacy”.
This article incensed the old Ato Ahwoi, who thinks he had the President by the balls to say over his dead body would Dr. Spio Garbrah ever become a Minister. His wish was granted; Mills is dead and Spio has been nominated to serve as the Trade and Industry Minister.
He will also perhaps go down in the history of the fourth Republican dispensation as the shortest serving President, who was not overthrown in a Coup D’état, but died whilst in office.
He died at a time the country needed him most, his humility and sense of duty coupled with his love for work was what put him way above his peers. He could mean different things to different people, but one thing is certain even to his opponents, the man loved his country.
As a Commissioner of Internal Revenue Service (IRS), he could have been among the richest men in this country, but no, he died with only one house to his name, even how he came about that property is an intriguing story.
He suffered the same fate President John Dramani Mahama is going through today, he was disappointed by people he trusted, people turned themselves into demagogue, because they felt they were untouchable.
He served for three and half years, but his achievements surmounts that of a President who did eight years, we are still counting his legacy. His contribution to our democracy is unmatched, his commitment to making everybody regardless of his or her background to feel part of what we have as a country, was only second to President Jerry John Rawlings.
Last year, we marked his one year anniversary, after the celebrations and shedding of tears, we all went back to sleep. What lessons have we learnt from him and how are those lessons manifesting in our lives?
This is his second anniversary and a lecture has been organized to eulogize him, we say good and great things about the man, what we did not know about him from people who were close to him.
We should not wait until anniversary time, before we are seen in our red and black attires, pretending to love the man and believe in the values he stood for. Our lives must reflect what he stood for everyday.
How many leaders or politicians in Ghana live exemplary life like President Mills, an opportunity to serve this country in any capacity is seen by many as an opportunity to enrich themselves.
Appoint them today and the next time you see or meet them they have become rich over night.
Prof. Mills lived a modest life, he lived like a man who knew that one day, he will die and all that he has acquired will not save him or
accompany him to the grave. His was a life well-lived, but is it a lesson well learned?