Feature Article of Monday, 5 November 2012
Columnist: Gyimah, A. P.
By Mr. A. P. Gyimah
October 29, 2012
The Old Adage “Good People are Those Who Die Early” is certainly true - The Late Dr. Mills.
President John Evans Atta-Mills graduated from the Academy of Life mysteriously – my condolences to the president and government of Ghana, the widow – Madam Naadu Mills, Dr. Mills’ extended family, former president Mr. J.A. Kuffour and his wife, former vice president Mr. Aliu Mahama and his wife, parliamentarians, judiciary, security services personnel and all Ghanaians.
As officer commanding The Diaspora Forces in Defense of Atta-Mills Administration, I had to remain calm and bold and watch from behind until the funeral was completed before submitting my message of condolences.
Therefore, Mr. President of The Republic of Ghana, please accept this late message of condolences for the late Dr. John Evans Atta-Mills, my in-law and the only friend of mine, one of my real and stronger leaders who impatiently did not wait for me to go home and meet with him. He left for the eternal world on July 24, this year, to take up a new assignment with our Father, after spending 68 years in the World Academy of Life with several assignments completed meritoriously. He has left me in despair.
Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am Ghanaian. My name is A. P. Gyimah. Inasmuch as I am concerned, and insofar as Dr. Mills was born Ghanaian and as long as Ghana remains forever, some of Dr. Mills’ noble qualities should have a lasting positive impact on Ghanaians. The late Dr. Mills had a personality we consider as an excellently well-trained professional educator, human rights fighter, statesman and a leader without power.
After his nine-month sojourn, he finally arrived and enrolled in the World Academy of Life on July 21, 1944, at Tarkwa, where he met the citizenship requirement of the former Gold Coast; an indisputable requirement to get admission into the Academy’s branch in the Gold Coast in the 1940s. And, as the Academy does not have a set of hours for completion of coursework for graduation, it was indeterminate when Master Atta would graduate. Everyone hoped for a far longer period of time than to July 24, 2012.
During his admission day, July 21, 1944, all those who gathered to welcome and sworn him in as a natural citizen of the Gold Coast prayed for him for long life and prosperity - a usual customary ceremony held during admission ceremonies of newly-admitted citizens. A traditional belief of the prayer is that God will sustain the newly born to live longer and without difficulties than to stand the test of time with disappointments and sufferings.
Master Atta grew up in the Academy with faith in God and made prayer a centerpiece of his daily activities. The completion of his coursework on July 24, 2012, at about 2:15 P.M. GMT, and final graduation ceremony scheduled for August 8-10, came as a surprise and disappointment to many and sundry, including me, in particular, because of the premature timing; despite the fact that majority of his well-wishers, by monitoring and evaluation, have graded Dr. Mills’ accomplishments as excellent.
Although his accomplishments were broad and superseded the others’, at least the “so-called” among the many, in all fields of human endeavors, and are beyond mentioning, there was still far more room for further accomplishments. Notwithstanding, Dr. Mills made it outstandingly with high honors. His disappointment, however, will remain in the minds of many and all, for years to come.
Throughout Dr. Mills’ Academy of Life career, he carried with him and demonstrated the qualities of: 1. Law abiding, humility, honesty, patience, peacemaking, tact and diplomacy, punctuality, respect for his parents, particularly his mother, teachers, elders, peers, children and youth; non-violence and powerless, proper exercise of authority, love for his true nation, respect for human rights, teamwork, good leadership, tolerance, hard work, friendliness and kindness, civility, excellent communication skills; and he also disregarded pieces of advice from the suburb of the barbaric and uncivilized communities. 2. All of this sums up as, “he was indeed a professional educator, human rights fighter, statesman and a powerless leader.”
Those who knew Dr. Mills personally and very well, and for longer than a reasonable period of time or there about, with the exception of a few, will undoubtedly give testimonies of him as a great leader and an authentic statesman. And yes indeed, my friend was.
As a human, the intellectual but common man Mills may have had his shortcomings with individual personalities and/or groups of people he encountered in the World Academy of Life. If this was the case with you, please I ask you to forgive him. He was my friend indeed.
For me, I was unfortunate that my contact with this great personality happened very late in the Academy - in February 2009; yet, I gained a lot of insights from his daily leadership undertakings, of which, at this time, I am obliged, by virtue of tradition, to share with mankind, why and how I knew Dr. Mills.
I started researching Dr. Mills when he was my country’s presidential candidate in 2000. I found out he was born to accountable, honest, humble, faithful, responsible, truthful, transparent and law abiding parents, and like all others’, his mother too was industrious. His non-deceptive father was a teacher by trade. As a boy, he was obedient to his parents, particularly his mother, who wanted him to excel in the Academy, a common phenomenon of mothers’ of the 1940s, 1950s and 60s, wishing their babies, children and teenage sons to become doctors in medicine and other noble professions.
In 2004 when I was in Ghana, I found out my biological brother, I come after, who lives in London, was married to Nana Adwoa, one of Dr. Mills’ sisters’ daughters.
Because of Dr. Mills’ humble and non-violent beginnings, his teachers liked and loved him best, and he did best in his first cycle education, leading him to Achimota Secondary School, a prestigious Ghanaian second cycle institution, where a vast majority of students enter through hard work, and not by bribery, headmaster persuasion, ethnicity, nepotism, racial or skin color privilege.
Because he made respect for his teachers and peers a hallmark of his Academy life, he did not abuse or waste Achimota resources as others’ did. He passed out from Achimota with flying colors and arrived in the University of Ghana, Legon, where his title master was immediately changed to mister with an ambition to earn LLB degree. It is not known if he had scholarship for his Achimota and Legon studies, but given his academic superiority and sportsmanship, there is no doubt his studies in these schools may have been on scholarships and grants.
From Legon, his intellectual pursuit took him to the University of London. In those days, the University of London had a tradition for admitting only highly brilliant students from around the world and it overwhelmingly accepted Mr. Mills after processing his academic transcripts from Legon. Mr. Mills’ plan with the University of London was to change his title from mister to doctor of philosophy in taxation and economic development.
Like his friends in democracy, such as the former Ghanaian President J.A. Kuffour, he always sought the highest by hard work only and avoided threats, intimidations and violence as tools for seeking the best for himself to cater for his family in the future. He continued on to exemplify himself in his academic endeavors, and for those who knew him at the time, from far and near, it was over expected when Mr. Mills left London for California to add one more credential at Stanford University, one of the best higher places of learning in the world, to his Academy file, and this time again, in law, master’s degree.
From the foregoing, it is apparent Dr. Mills was born first-class in God’s name and attended only first-class institutions, yet he was not arrogant. He humbly submitted himself to mankind at all the time.
By age 27, he had diversified his academic transactions and was highly marketable in the global job market. Hence, he became a promising figure for Ghanaians. His divine intervention to become a president had already been laid down by his creator and Ghanaians were ever ready to welcome Dr. Mills as president of the World Academy of Life’s branch called Republic of Ghana at the appropriate time.
Here, ladies and gentlemen, please allow me to announce that Mr. Mills’ academic trips to London and Stanford were scholarship-sponsored. He neither defrauded Ghanaian government nor defrauded any foreign embassy to travel outside of his home country for better life. He did not to seek political asylum in any country for better life because, like his father, he was not born a liar, and also because he did not have any political problem at home. He was the opposite to many of his unconstructive critics across the world.
Unlike his unconstructive critics from Ghana seeking greener pasture in the developed world who are claimants of tertiary degree holders, Dr. Mills was not selfish. He was not money conscious. As a dynamic young man, he could have stayed on in the United States or United Kingdom to seek a faculty position with a reputable university, but he did not. He was a patriot. He loved his nation. He returned to work for Ghana in different capacities as soon as he graduated – as a lecturer in law, IRS commissioner and vice president of Ghana, all to train trainee(s) and suppress their human rights abuses, as the late Mr. Justice D. F. Annan was well noted for, for taking up positions with undesired governments in Ghana. This was a time of high demand for human rights in Ghana.
For example, by accepting a position as IRS Commissioner, he hoped to collect taxes from individuals and corporations who actually owed taxes to the state, without the use of force - seizing tax payers’ property, beating market women for failure or refusal to pay taxes, etc. My friend detested that nonsense. Those were his main goals – eliminating human rights abuses. As vice president, he trained the needy. And, as professor of law, he trained many students to enter the legal market to help in the fight against human rights abuses. Thus, when he lawfully assumed the office of the presidency of my true nation, his focus was to allow the justice system to operate without presidential interference – respect for separation of powers, for everyone to learn, especially the needy.
His quietness, kindness, politeness and exceptional communication skills made him a national hero as a professional educator, especially when throughout his lifetime, he absented himself from miscellaneous and unprofessional publications in unprofessional newspapers, including online publications, a critical background of the so-called academicians from minor universities whose daily writings are a symbol of their unconstructive criticism of and hate for Dr. Mills.
Put simply, for Dr Mills, it was not a journey to progress but a journey of life experiences and respect for national development.
Naturally born patient, he remained patient until on January 7, 2009, when Ghanaians, under God’s guidance, transferred him to the Castle to work as president of the Republic of Ghana, a post he considered as servant of Ghana.
It was from here that I personally encountered Dr. Mills. This encounter occurred in many forms - in my writings to him, my calls to his professional secretary, all for pertinent national issues, where, at one time, without a request, his humble secretary advised me to speak with the servant, an opportunity I humbly declined for professional standard reasons only; but if I knew that Dr. Mills was going to leave so soon, I would have spoken with him.
But, whilst some took power for themselves, without even meeting the basic requisite qualifications for the job, but by the use of force, and conferred on themselves such titles as chairman, head of state, president, and did it their own way for two decades, without respect for human rights, but only respected the rights of their cohort-based, and without making any positive achievements for my nation, servant Atta Mills was just the contrary.
My deliberations with the president went on very well. It appears he attended to all of my communications to him. My report to him regarding police abuses of two minors in Vakpo Police Station near Kpando in the Volta Region was attended to, although as of now, ex-Police Officer Samson Asare and the rapists are not tried. This strained my working relationship with the presidency and the Ghanaian Police Service administration. As a result, I could not continue on with the ‘Operation Elimination of Police Abuses’ because that project will involve a lot of arrests and prosecution of suspects. If Samson Asare and co. were free men, could the police arrest the others? I pondered. I never told my friend why he did not hear from me again about the project. I was upset but was not angry. Our friendship inwardly and outwardly grew stronger than before, though. Even when I heard that he was ill, I resorted to prayers for his speedy recovery.
In March this year, I had a different thought about how to help solve the matter. I decided to draw the president’s attention again on the minors’ abuses through the first lady, Madam Naadu Mills. As a result, because of the respect I have for Madam Mills and her office, I worded the letter very politely and professionally. (I have misplaced the flash drive I saved it on. I am searching for it and as soon as I find it, I shall submit it “as is” to His Excellency, with a request to forward it to the Attorney-General and the Inspector-General of Police for their attention; at which time, I shall publish it to the attention of all Ghanaians and residents of Ghana to study how I respect my first lady.)
When the nation was in flames, Dr. Mills quickly adhered to terrorism fighting strategies I advised him on and the police quickly used the tactics. The terrorist is still at large, though. I anticipate he may be treated like Muammar Gaddafi or be in the custody of the international authorities in The Hague by the end of 2013. Enough is enough. One family cannot overpower 24 million people for more than three decades. Absolutely no.
When I explained with illustrations why and how investigations of the sporadic killings of women in Accra since 2000 could be revisited, he did not hesitate to ask the IGP to reopen the investigations. In spite of this, not surprisingly, disrespectfully, recently a woman was killed at the terrorist’s doorstep in Sogakope.
In 2010 when I briefly addressed the problem of language abuse in Ghana as a result of “dirty politics” to His Excellency, President Mills was on air the following day advising Ghanaians to stop abusing language.
When I wrote and highlighted on the ex-gratia issue to him, he took it into consideration. When I proposed a peace plan to him, he began working on it by first inviting our former president His Excellency Mr. John Agyekum Kuffour to the Castle in the early hours of January 2011 for preliminary talks, while waiting to hear from me with full details of the peace plan. Details of his talks with Mr. J.A. Kufour were not disclosed, but I can say that whatever topic(s) they deliberated on, it was my friend’s intention to have a preliminary meeting with his democratic predecessor before my peace plan was released to him. Eventually, when he had the plan, he did not take off with it as a whole. The reason is known to the two of us. (Due to his peaceful nature, he probably wanted inclusiveness. But that cannot and will not be the case. A suspect must always be treated as a suspect because a suspect is dangerous all the time. My plan was for only statesmen to participate, not states troublesome men.) He, however, picked certain portions of the plan for execution. For example, in 2011, during his birthday celebration, he was with the Osu Children’s Home for the celebration of his birthday. Thus, his devotion to national duty was exemplified by his punctuality and tireless attendances.
He convincingly demonstrated himself as a king of peace, but his unconstructive critics selfishly and hatefully attempted many times to work to see his failure as a king of peace in practice, but in theory only.
The foregoing is a testimony of President Mills’ example of excellent service to Ghanaians, which imperatively, we need to honor his example of service to our nation.
It is said that Dr. Mills’ death is a peace plan he left for us. I doubt it. But, if it is really his peace plan, is not the peace plan I submitted to him. In fact, Dr. Mills has disappointed me as a friend and in-law. He did not inform me of his peace plan; I would have quickly rejected it. The supposed peace plan Dr. Mills left for Ghanaians was forced on him by the Ghanaian god, the god’s wife - the fetish priestess, and some NPP members led by the so-called Sir John and his Accra-based Alhasan and their U.K. and Washington D.C Metro.-based allies. This is a crime which, by the grace of God, they will dearly pay for.
My working relationship with Dr. Mills was so cordial that he devised a security or language code from my writings whereby it did not matter where Dr. Mills was in this world, if he wanted to talk to me, in his public speeches, he would talk to me and I would know what he needed. I had fun with Dr. Mills a lot. I will miss him very dearly.
Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen, when people talk about President Mills’ accomplishments, there is one omission they make. They fail to factor in his corresponding partner’s contribution to his progress in the Academy of Life. Our former first lady, Madam Naadu Mills, is indeed the God-ordained wife for Dr. Mills, for their qualities were highly compatible. Not only is she humble, respectful, industrious, an excellent communicator and many more but she properly and professionally advised her husband on pertinent national issues concerning human rights. To sum it up, the couple possessed the twelve tenets of leadership and was fearful of God.
Madam Naadu Mills deserves more than our appreciation for everything she did for Dr. Mills, his extended family and fatherland Ghana. Madam, we thank you particularly for being a very nice legitimate first lady of the land. May God bless you. Continue to remain calm, strong, and patient, for Dr. Mills is not gone as some of us may think. You will meet with him again at the right-hand side of our Almighty whilst the others’ will be sitting at God’s left-hand side pleading for mercy. Dr. Mills has impatiently left us. I was going to apply for membership with Friends of Naadu Mills, and for the position of communications director in-charge of the diaspora, but Dr. Mills did not wait for me to get the position. He has disappointed me in life.
Dr. John Evans Atta-Mills, bye-bye and safe journey. Rest in peace. We shall meet again in the next life. Convey my sincere greetings to the General I. K. Acheampong and co. Please tell them that they should continue to patiently watch their faithful, lovely and loyal ones they left behind because God’s time is the best.
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen, my advice to our first family, Mr. Kuffour’s family and Mr. Aliu Mahama’s family is that, times like this are hard. Therefore, they should frequently keep in contact with Madam Naadu Mills to keep her comforted. Telephone calls and occasional personal visits are proper.
Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen, all is said, but not all is done. Please, all will be done when we have helped ourselves to put Dr. Mills’ name to rest, as his soul is now resting in perfect peace. May I ask all of you to do just that, please. Thank you very much for your attention, cooperation, patience and understanding.