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General News of Saturday, 11 August 2012

Source: Daily Guide

Lawyers Perform Rituals For Mills

The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) yesterday performed special rituals beside the mortal remains of the late Ghana president, John Evans Atta Mills, when members of the association paid their last respect to him at the State House where he was laid in state.

Dressed in their full law regalia, a delegation from the GBA grouped at the feet of the late president’s mortal remains and performed the rituals reserved for only persons called to the Bar.

Though lay persons were not in a position to understand what went into the rituals, the association members explained that the special rituals were proper because the late president died as a lawyer.

The delegation comprised state attorneys, private legal practitioners, law lecturers and lawyers from all shades of the political divide who paid glowing tributes to the late leader.

Dr. Francis Emile Short, former Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), was part of the delegation.

He noted in his tribute to the late president that “it is difficult to find enough words to describe him. This was a man of peace, a man on integrity, a man who devoted his life to the service of this nation.

Without any shadow of doubt, he sacrificed his life to serve the nation. Even when he was ill, he did not consider it necessary to give up but he wanted to do his best for this nation”.

Dr. Short added, “We have lost someone who had devoted his whole life to the service of this nation. This is a great loss to this nation and to the entire African continent.

It is difficult to find words to describe such a man who had so many qualities and devoted his life to the service of this nation.

He was one of the few people who did not enter public service to enrich themselves, but to serve the nation.”

Former Attorney General and Minister for Justice under the Kufuor led-Administration, Nii Ayikoi Otoo, who was part of the GBA delegation, said, “President Mills was sworn in as president of Ghana but not of a particular party so it is only fair, fit and proper that Ghanaians show this outpouring of grief for a lost leader.”

Ayikoi Otoo stated, “I think that history would judge him and at the appropriate time, we would all have time to look at the issues and legacy he might have left for us.

It is always said that leaders are generally good but sometimes it is the handlers of the leaders and advisers who make them look that bad. So these are issues that we have to interrogate after the funeral.”

Another renowned legal brain, Sam Okudzeto, described the late president as a man who preached peace and tolerance.

He suggested the need to inculcate a culture of peaceful co-existence into the younger generation

“If we can begin to teach it to our kids as they grow, then the foundation would have been laid for us to appreciate that we are one country and one people and that we are just the same destiny.

Our aspirations are the same, our needs are the same and we need to realize that we should not allow partisan politics to divide us,” Sam Okudzeto noted.

Joe Ghartey, MP for Essikado-Ketan Constituency and a former Attorney General, was also part of the GBA delegation and he praised the late president.

“We have lost a great lawyer and I happen to be teaching the same Company Law that he was teaching at the Law School.

From time to time, I refer to what he said and so on and I make it clear to the students that even though we belong to different political traditions, when it comes to Company Law, I recognize the late president’s contribution and I respect it,” Joe Ghartey stated.