President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, yesterday laid a wreath at the refurbished ‘Asomdwee Park’ in Accra to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the death of the late Professor John Evans Atta-Mills, the 3rd President of the Fourth Republic.
The Atta-Mills family, the Methodist Church, traditional leaders, Diplomatic Corp, and the Atta-Mills Institute also laid wreaths on the tomb of the former President.
President Atta-Mills passed away on July 24, 2012, after a short illness. He passed away while in office as President of Ghana.
After laying a wreath on the tomb of the late President, President Akufo-Addo formally inaugurated the refurbished Asomdwee Park.
Present at the ceremony were Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, top government officials, traditional leaders, Members of the Diplomatic Corp, political figures, and residents of Osu in Accra.
Speaking at the ceremony, President Akufo-Addo noted that the commissioning of an infrastructural project by government should naturally be a joyous occasion, and should elicit the display of pomp and pageantry in recognition of the feat achieved.
“But today’s event is not one of those normal occasions. Exactly ten years ago, a truly tragic incident occurred, one we had never witnessed, and hope will never reoccur in our history, certainly not in our lifetime – the death of a sitting President in office, the death of the 3rd President of the 4th Republic, Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills.
According to President Akufo-Addo, he was a contemporary of the late President at the University of Ghana, were members of the same hall, Legon Hall, and played in the same University football team.
“As fate would have it, we ended up belonging to and leading different political organisations. We contested the presidency in 2008, and even though some will say it does not count, I won the first round and he won the second round, the round that really mattered. I was looking forward to a third round in 2012, when the Almighty called him home on 24th July 2012,” he added.
The President noted that, sometime after becoming President, he became aware of the sad state of Asomdwee Park, and, in 2020, he received a request from the late President’s energetic Communications Director, Koku Anyidoho, who runs the Institute named after the President, for the assistance of Government to rehabilitate the facility.
“I agreed, and, subsequently, I instructed the Coastal Development Authority to undertake a thorough rehabilitation of the Park, with the close co-operation of the Institute,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo continued, “It was not right that the park had been allowed to deteriorate considerably over the years since his burial in 2012, and I am happy that it was under the Presidency of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, allegedly his ‘fiercest critic’, that Asomdwee Park has been elevated to a status befitting the final resting place of a President of the Republic of Ghana.”
The President explained that he did so not to exploit or take advantage of any so-called divisions in the National Democratic Congress, stressing that “those alleged divisions are not of my making, and do not, in any way, inure to my benefit.”
He also addressed the “unfortunate accusations” levelled by some against Government about the supposed desecration of the tomb of the late President in the process of rehabilitating the Park.
“Nothing could be further from the truth, and it is good to note that these false, malicious statements have been firmly dispelled and debunked by the Coastal Development Authority, through the agency of its CEO, Mr. Jerry Ahmed Schaib, in a public statement under his hand,” he stated.
Reiterating his sincere condolences to the former First Lady and spouse of the late President, Ernestina Naadu Mills, to the entire family, to the National Democratic Congress, and to the people of Ghana “for their great loss”, President Akufo-Addo stated that “the man from Ekumfi Otuam will not be forgotten”.
The Founder of the Atta-Mills Institute, Samuel Koku Anyidoho, commended President Akufo-Addo for his commitment to renovate the park into a befitting resting place for a former President
“What we are seeing here today is work that has been done under the direct supervision of the Coastal Development Authority (CODA) and the overall supervision of the Office of the President,” he said.
Mr Anyidoho eulogised the late President, describing him as a great leader whose memory would forever linger for generations
The Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Ghana, Most Rev Dr Paul Kwabena Boafo, in a sermon at the event, stressed the need for Ghanaians to live in peace and harmony.
He said the late President exemplified peace and urged politicians to learn to engage in political discourse in an atmosphere of peace and respect for one another.