No Ghanaian is oblivious of the life and times of the former president, John Evans Atta Mills, his passing on that fateful Tuesday, did not only draw tears from his friends, but his foes as well.
After his death, we witnessed unprecedented attempt by the various ministries, departments and agencies to name every conceivable item in this country after him.
By our culture, we revere the dead, it is no wonder, we have a saying that, do not speak ill of the dead.
We heard tales about his presidency and his days as a law lecturer at the University of Ghana law school. To his lovers and admirers, he was God sent, and as had happened to leaders before him and those, who have come after him, he was the best thing to ever happen to this country. Followers of Jerry John Rawlings said it of him. John Agyekum Kufuor’s people said it of him. John Dramani Mahama people said it of him. And Nana Addo DankwaAkufo-Addo people are saying it of him.
Prof. John Evans Atta Mills is admired in multiple ways. He was one rare of a politician, who stood for the truth and a puritan to a fault.
His disarming frankness, hard work and flair for excellence are largely responsible for his meteoric rise in politics from academia.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC), was blessed to have him as a leader, who was not considered as a remnants of the military era. He was a breadth of fresh air for the party, and although he was lucky on his third attempt after losing the 2000 and 2004 elections, his electoral fortunes kept increasing after his first attempt.
He was a man of peace and was the rallying call around which the party and people of like mind congregated.
Many projects that he initiated as president, is what the NDC is proud to present before Ghanaians, as the reason why the party should be given another chance in 2020 and beyond.
The 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections, was won because of his enviable record, one which readily comes to mind is the Single Spine Pay Policy.
In Ghana, it is always the case that, after your death, pledges will be made, speaker after speaker, will seek to convince everybody present and those who care to listen that, your legacy will be preserved, your family will be taken care of, but after some few months, as you are buried, so will you be forgotten.
President Mills, is so big a colossus, for him to be forgotten just five years after his passing. For the New Patriotic Party (NPP), although he was a former president, they do not have anything in common with him, and will wish him away so quickly, but for the NDC, any attempt to pretend not to acknowledge what the man has done for the party and the country breaks my heart and resolve.
We worship the dead; we sing praises of the dead, even when we know that, what we are saying is far from the truth. But Prof. John Evans Atta Mills did not only leave a legacy, he touched many lives, like never seen before and the tears that flowed at his funeral were not made, but genuine tears.
The NDC, is supposed to celebrate him on July 24, every year to mark his anniversary. The event which is always marked with a lecture, comes and go without the active involvement of the party, as we saw when he first passed.
His final resting place, ‘Asomdwee Park’, was left unattended to, although the place was supposed to be a tourist site, no particular attention was paid to it, until the government’s attention was drawn to it, earlier this year.
The NDC, cannot move on to win any future election, until the ghost of Prof. Mills is appeased. Those in charge of affairs today, who think they are invisible, must remember that, death will come for all of us. Today we are talking about Prof. Mills and expecting them to do the needful by not pushing his name and legacy into history, tomorrow, it could be any one of them.
We have a saying that, if you do not know death watch sleep. If a man who died not as a former president, but sitting president, can be quickly forgotten, then I wonder what will happen to them, when they are dead and gone.
The worse of a dead man Mills, is better than the best of most of our leaders, we have had since independence. He could not complete his four years mandate, but he was able to lay the foundation for a lot of the things that, the country and the National Democratic Congress, could take pride in.
I do not want to mention some of the projects he initiated, but the evidence is not far-fetched. He contributed so much to the eight years legacy of the NDC. most of the projects he initiated, were completed or took shape after his demise.
Another lecture, as has been done since his unfortunate passing is been organized. I will be keen to see, who and who, will make it to the programme. A day is not enough to celebrate such an illustrious son, but even if, we decide that, a day is all we could commit, it should be done with some passion.
Those who have dedicated themselves to preserving his legacy, must be commended, it is my hope that, the NDC, will adopt the day, as one of the most important days in the calendar of the party.
Prof. John Evans Atta Mills deserve better.
May his soul and the souls of the departed, rest in the bosom of the Lord.