Members of Parliament (MPs) on Thursday took turns to pay tribute to late President John Evans Atta Mills on his 78th birthday, with majority of them describing him as a selfless statesman with a legacy of integrity.
Late President Mills was born on 21st July 1944 at Tarkwa in the Western Region and died on July 24th, 2012, in Accra.
Thus, he is the first Ghanaian President to die in office.
Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu, who led the tributes with a statement on the floor of the House to mark the 10th anniversary of the passing of late President Mills, recalled the monumental outpouring of genuine sorrow and the sea of emotion that engulfed the nation on the day of his demise, 24th July 2012.
“The resilience of our constitutional democracy was tested and as an enduring testament of his peaceful and unarming persona, the citizenry and our institutions, particularly this Parliament emerged with flying colours.”
He noted that late President Mills remains a refreshing and iconic addition to the Ghanaian intelligentsia and national politics.
Mr Ablakwa in honour of the late President’s memory highlighted a selection of 10 “Millsian” attributes which the MP humbly considers to be epitomizing and defining of his character and works, stating that late President Mills left a legacy of high-grade integrity.
“He (late President Mills) didn’t have to say it, he simply lived it. Both those of us who worked with him closely and those who observed him from afar knew that was his true character,” Mr Ablakwa said.
“Integrity came to him naturally. He was absolutely incorruptible and throughout his service to Ghana as a lecturer, tax administrator, Vice President and President – never was he embroiled in any scandal. That was a rare achievement for the extremely sensitive positions he held.”
He noted that late President Mills had a strict personal policy about gifts and even sought to extend same in his Government by banning the acceptance of gifts including Christmas hampers which he considered inducements.
“It is, therefore, not surprising that during his tenure as President, independent assessors ranked Ghana high on all integrity indicators.”
Mr Ablakwa said: As we reflect on his legacy and thank the Good Lord for blessing Ghana with this great Pan Africanist, Visionary, Thinker, Moral Leader and Believer in the Youth, may I appeal that he is allowed to rest in dignity and in peace.
He noted that late President Mills towers above egotistic pettiness and division.
Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority Leader, advocated for the University of Health and Allied Sciences to be renamed after President Mills.
He lauded late President Mills for giving young people like him to serve in his Cabinet.
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the Majority Leader, commended late President Mills for genuinely serving the country.
Mr Cletus Avoka, the MP for Zebilla, hailed the late President for giving credit to his predecessors for projects that they embarked upon and inviting them to their commissioning.
He said in the sports field, late President Mills was a master to nobody; to the extent that he would sacrifice everything to support the sports administration of this country.
On his part, Dr Stephen Amoah, MP for Nhyiaeso, hailed the late President for being a peacemaker.