Remembering President Evans Atta Mills 11 Years On3 min read
Exactly eleven years ago today he set a shocking precedent in Ghana’s history as the first president to have died on the highest seat of the land. An icon of Peace, unifier and great sports man, the death of President John Evans Atta Mills went down in history as one of the darkest days in the country’s history.
The late Professor John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills was born on 21st July, 1944, at Tarkwa in the Western Region. He hails from Ekumfi Otuam in the Central Region.
He studied at Achimota Secondary School and obtained a general certificate of Education, Advanced level in 1963.
He continued his education at the University of Ghana Legon, where he received a bachelor’s Degree and professional certificate in law in 1967.
While earning a PHD in law from the prestigious school of Oriental and African studies, in London, John Evans Atta Mills was selected as Fulbright scholar at the Stanford Law School in the US.
He was awarded a PHD in taxation and economic development. Otherwise known widely for his sportsmanship John Evans Atta Mills landed on the political scene in 1996, when he was selected as the NDC running mate to late Former President Jerry John Rawlings.
He subsequently served as vice President of Ghana between 1997 and 2000. His attempt to become Ghana’s president failed after losing the 2000 and 2004 general elections to New Patriotic Party’s John Agyekum Kufuor.
He contested again in 2008 and triumphed over NPPS candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, who is the current president of Ghana after the run-off election in the Tain constituency.
Some of the successes of his tenure includes, implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure, massive infrastructure in the education sector, etc. The late President had a unique sense of humour.
He was a staunch Christian and had unwavering faith in God. Much so that at a point he was alleged to have converted the Osu Castle into a prayer centre.
Three days after celebrating his 68th birthday news broke of the death of the first gentleman of the land, throwing the entire nation into a state of shock, mourning and despair.
As a constitutional mandate the Vice President, John Dramani Mahama was sworn into office, to serve the unexpired term of his government.
For someone who worked closely with him, Mr. Mahama recalls the events of that tragic night.
Late President Mills was an active sportsman and his contribution to especially Hockey is immense. His former school mate, Yaw Osafo Marfo shares some fond memories of his exploits.
The late John Evans Atta Mills stood tall in the legal profession, Dean of UPSA, Law School, Professor Kofi Abotsi, speaks to this.
Late Prof. Atta Mills was loved by many, for his peaceful nature which earned him the accolade Asomdwehene, as aptly described by New Patriotic Party, NPP, stalwart and senior statesman Kwame Pianin, the man Atta Mills cut across the political divide. Mr. Pianim is still awed by the personality of the late President.
The late John Evans Atta Mills was married to an educationist Ernestina Naadu Mills and has a son Samuel Kofi Atta Mills.
The man John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills was an embodiment of Peace.
Rest on Asomdwe hene, rest on!