- as Naadu and Tsatsu Tsikata pay glowing tribute
Dr Cadman Atta Mills, brother of late President, John Evans Atta Mills, has stated that it has begun weighing the options of dragging the one-man Atta-Mills Institute (AMI) to court over the misuse of their family name, as it has neither sanctioned nor authorized it.
According to the family, the institute, which is being run by Koku Anyidoho, does not represent the values of the late former president and it is being used as a tool to sow division, rather than peace, which the late president represented.
Dr Cadman Mills, currently the head of the Atta Mills family and executor of his Will, who made the disclosure yesterday at a public lecture to mark the 10th anniversary of the death of Prof Mills, lamented that the resting place of his later brother the Asomdwee Park, was refurbished only to promote the institute and its “pay masters”.
Dr Mills, therefore, stated that the Mills family, will be exploring all the legal means available to stop the activities of the AMI.
“Asomdwee Park and the work that was done there… I’m sorry (to say) it is obscene to use a very strong word. I did not recognise Fiifi there… everything (about the Asomdwee Park) was about them (AMI and their paymasters).
“They used this so-called refurbishing to promote themselves, to promote their institute and to promote their paymasters. That is not what Fiifi stood for. Fiifi hated people who self-promote.
“Atta Mills institute is being used as an instrument to sow division, to sow controversy, for self-promotion.
“In my capacity as the oldest living sibling of Professor John Evans Atta Mills, as the person who Professor Mill designated in his Will to be the executor and also the custodian of his legacy and now in my capacity as the ‘Ebusuapayin’ (family head), the family has decided that we will contact our solicitors to make sure that they explore all avenues to stop the Atta-Mills institute,” he said.
His widow, the former First Lady of Ghana, Ernestina Naadu Mills, in a statement read on her behalf, said that beyond all the political vilifications John Atta Mills was battered with, he never lowered his high principles.
She explained that, it is for this reason that she knows that posterity will be a good judge of his legacies.
“It has been 10 years of solitude since I lost Fiifi, my husband, friend and confidant. Ours was a rather quiet and private life until a higher national duty came calling.
“Then suddenly, we found ourselves in public limelight with its accompanying opportunities and challenges. Fiifi was often battered and bruised on the battlefield of politics but he held firm to his personal values of truth, simplicity, honesty and abiding respect for all; qualities I loved about him.
“To Fiifi, serving at the highest echelons of government was an opportunity to help change the character of Ghana politics for the better. In this regard, I believe posterity will judge him well. Therein lies my consolation for the many sacrifices he had to make,” she said.
The 10th anniversary celebration was observed officially by the state at a commissioning of a refurbished Asomdwee Park, the place his mortal remains was buried.
It was attended by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Vice President Bawumia, as well as Koku Anyidoho, who’s Non-Governmental Organization, the Atta Mills Institute, AMI, got the government to undertake renovations at the Park.
John Dramani Mahama and the National Democratic Congress, as well as the Atta-Mills family, held their own commemoration at the Park hours after that of the state had ended.
Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, who delivered the lecture, said of Prof Atta Mills that “he was not someone who sought political office; rather he was sought after to hold political office. Mills’ integrity as well as his humility and his dedication to public service were, clearly, all character traits which attracted President Rawlings. He was sought after because of the contribution that it was thought he could make for the country and for the person (Rawlings) and the party (the NDC) on whose ticket he was going to run”.
“President Mills had a tremendous work ethic. He applied himself tirelessly to whatever assignment he was undertaking; he could never be accused of laziness. Even in the period when he was not in good health, he kept pushing himself to work right until he had to be taken to the hospital. He knew how to face tough times with a determined spirit and with a focus on what he considered the essentials, an aspect of the grit that was his hallmark”.
Mr Tsikata, continued that “President Mills aspired to “A BETTER GHANA”. That is undoubtedly a shared aspiration we alI have as Ghanaians, unless the circumstances of our absurd partisan politics make some refuse to share that aspiration because it was espoused by someone from a political party other than the one they belong to. We shall look at how even his short time as President saw some important steps he took towards that BETTER GHANA agenda and, more importantly, how his human qualities can help our quest for a BETTER GHANA, our resolve to make our nation great and strong.
He stated that “when he was invited in 1996 by President Rawlings (May his soul rest in peace) to be running mate, Professor Mills had not previously sought national elective office and had also not been involved in the political arena. He was an academic lawyer, not a politician and certainly not involved in partisan politics.
“The choice of running mate, at a time when those opposed to President Rawlings had been given a boost by his own former Vice-President joining their ranks, was obviously an important one. Bringing in Professor John Evans Atta Mills proved to be an inspired choice that enabled President Rawlings and the NDC to retain the confidence of the electorate in the 1996 elections. Mills went on to prove himself an able, dedicated and exemplary Vice-President.
“Professor Mills’ character and personality – a person of integrity, someone who was peace-loving and not out to seek vengeance against political opponents – were huge positives and his soft-spoken and gentle manner were an effective complement and balance to President Rawlings whose own integrity and passion for the welfare of the ordinary man were obviously what made Mills accept to be his running -mate. We must not forget, of course, that Professor Mills identified himself as an Nkrumahist and sometimes referred excitedly to the orientation he received at the Kwame Nkrumah Ideological Institute while a student at Legon.
“He was, therefore, very much in tune with the political orientation of the NDC and fitted easily within the tradition. At the time he was announced as the Vice-Presidential candidate, I recall that many of his contemporaries would say of him that he was “a good man” and then, quickly, go on to doubt if he could succeed in what they regarded as the “dirty” world of politics. I will demonstrate that President Mills was a success in politics while not allowing himself to be tarnished by the dirt. He sought to clean up the politics of our nation. By the end of the second term of President Rawlings, he was clear in his mind that the mantle of leadership should pass on to his Vice-President.
“There were, however, others in the NDC who thought otherwise and Professor Mills had to face leadership contests which now gave him the opportunity to show his political mettle. I believe that a key part of what made him such an attractive Presidential candidate for the NDC in the 2000 elections as well as in 2004 and then in 2008, was his character, precisely, his integrity, modesty and humility.
“For his selection as the NDC candidate for the 2008 elections, Professor Mills, had to withstand the challenge from a number of more established NDC personalities.
His success showed the clear grassroots backing from delegates throughout the country for the person who they had not just seen operating as Vice-President, but whose personality and character had been exposed to them through the 2000 and 2004 election campaigns and who they now viewed as beginning a new era for the party.