Tribute to my President: from a Ghanaian in London
by Ade Sawyerr*
His Excellency Professor John Evans Atta Mills
* President of the
Republic of Ghana: from 7th January 2009 to 24th July 2012*
1 Corinthians 15:54-57 *-54 **So when this corruptible shall have put on
incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be
brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in
victory. **55 **O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy
victory? **56 **The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the
law. **57 **But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our
Lord Jesus Christ. *
* *The untimely death of our President has been a great shock to all
Ghanaians worldwide and indeed more so to us here in London. The icy hands
of death have struck yet again, this time taking from our midst a man at
the height of his endeavours. We are saddened by the vacuum created by the
departure from the political scene in Ghana of a man of such great
political stature. The Father of our nation has gone to the village to join
our ancestors. We applaud his valour, dedication and continued service to
the cause of our nation even during the period when he must have been very
ill and give thanks to the Lord for ending his pain and suffering.
President Mills was an esteemed man in several respects; he was a
professor, an administrator, a politician and a skilful sportsman and a
devout Christian who was at all times guided by his convictions and his
inordinate faith in his God. He never allowed himself to be caught in the
controversies that normally surround leaders in Africa.
In 1996, he was the surprise choice for running mate after the fall out at
the presidency and served the country well providing much needed balance in
several ways. He was a patient man and after two unsuccessful campaigns to
be president, his perseverance paid off when he won the ultimate political
prize, the high office of president and he served his country to the best
of his ability.
He started his term of office in a refreshing and determined way aiming to
provide political leadership that would be emulated by all in Africa, to
ensure a repair of the social fabric of the country, to deal with
corruption and to grow the economy to make Ghana the most desired space for
investors from all of Africa and the world at large. He supervised the
drilling and extraction of our first oil reserves, a much needed boost to
our economy and his attempts to expand and improve our education and health
infrastructure has been unprecedented in recent times.
He so impressed President Obama that Ghana was rewarded with the first
visit to sub Saharan Africa by the first African American president America.
We in London had hoped that we would have seen a lot more of him during his
tenure of office, for him to help us realise our mobilisation to develop a
Ghana Centre in London. But, knowing what we do now, that he had been
unwell for quite a while; we understand and acknowledge that there were
more urgent things that needed his attention. We hope that with the smooth
succession that has taken place, the new President will refocus his
attention to our needs in London.
Being the most cerebral of our Presidents, not surprisingly because of his
background as a professor, he arrived at his decisions with much thought
and consideration and he brought a measured manner to governance in Ghana.
He also ensured that due process was embedded in the fabric of our
democracy. President Mills must be applauded for doing more than most to
promote the cause of democracy in the FourthRepublic. He commissioned a
constitutional review and insisted on the use of the law at all times.
As we pay tribute to this departed leader, let us reflect that different
presidents have different styles, but running a country requires not only
conviction but also demands consensus. By shying away from confrontation
even in the face of extreme provocation President Mills has united our
country in his death.
His refusal to be pressured into going to war in Ivory Coast over their
election debacle was matured and measured and he leaves the country a more
peaceful one than he found it, an attestation to his sobriquet of President
His legacy should be treasured by all as the need for a new approach to
government is necessary for our fledging democracy and that we all need to
focus on lifting our country out of the misery and poverty that continues
to hold our country back.
President Mills provided continuity in his governance of the country and
has been an inspiration to the many young people and women who he invited
into his government. His place as a true Champion of Democracy is assured.
He has endeared himself to the citizens of Ghana for his modesty and his
humility and we are certain that he is deserving of many posthumous awards.
We extend our sincere condolences to his wife and entire family and hope
that they will be comforted by his call to a higher service. May they
celebrate his life and give thanks in the knowledge that he has gone to a
meet His Maker in a better place.
President Mills, Rest in perfect peace in the Lord.
Damrifa Due, Damrifa Due
Long live the Republic of Ghana, Long live our democracy
President Mills, Yaa wo ojogbann
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