|Late President John Atta Mills|
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
GHANA MOURNS A YOUTH-FRIENDLY PRESIDENT
“As far as this Administration is concerned, education is the key to giving the youth the skills they need to make the most of their lives”.
“To the youth I say, the future belongs to you. Take control of your destiny and anchor yourselves to the virtues of life knowing that it shall profit you nothing if you gain the whole world and lose your soul. …There are no shortcuts to success. Hard work is what will bring you genuine success.”
These were some statements of the late Ghanaian President, John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills. A man considered by many as a peace maker, unifier, humble and over all God fearing. I generated a personal like for him because of his love for young people. His administration by far had one of the highest numbers of Youth serving as Ministers of state and in other equally important capacities. He also committed himself to women empowerment in Ghana. He took bold steps to appoint females to key positions like the office of the Speaker of Parliament, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice and a number of others .
This week, many parts of Ghana are clad in either black or red, mourning the late President. There has been an outpouring of grief from even some of those who vehemently opposed his leadership style. Many world leaders, from the UN Secretary General, presidents, business tycoons and to religious leaders, have had good to say about late president Mills’ legacies. As a young person, President Mills was a hero, a father and someone who the young generation could look up to.
He showed humility to people irrespective of their background. There is even an instance where he was said to have referred to kindergarten pupils as my brothers and sisters in an official interaction with them. In the educational fraternity, the president spent over 25 years as a lecturer at the University of Ghana and the Ghana Law School. At age 27, he got his PhD in taxation and economic development from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and later became a Professor at age 30: a feat rare to attain in many parts of Africa!
His 3-year tenure in office as president saw the ratification of the African Youth Charter, Launch of the National Youth Policy, and establishment of a National Youth Parliament. These frameworks are geared towards ensuring social, cultural, political and economic development of young people in Ghana. His Government also made several efforts to improve education at the basic level. For instance, few days before his death, he inaugurated one of a set of basic schools being built to abolish schools under trees and school shift system in the Accra Metropolis. Others programmes of his government included free Uniforms and exercise books for students, Capitation Grant for Schools and School Feeding Programme. If these policies and projects are well implemented, I believe Ghana would be able to achieve targets under Goal 2 of the Millennium Development Goals. This goal aims to achieve Universal Basic Education by 2015.
His Vice President, now President John Mahamah, described him as a father, brother and a mentor. It’s good he acknowledged the instrumental role the late president played in his life. I hope he would continue with the good works of the late president and to also give the platform for the youth to realise their potential. I wish other African leaders could take some time to reflect on the kind of impact they’ve also created in their respective countries. Taking cognisance of how they would be remembered after their demise. It’s really hard to know that President Atta Mills is no more; but then, his deeds shall continue to be a source of inspiration to me and generation yet unborn. My heartfelt condolence to all Ghanaians as his funeral begins on Wednesday 8th August.
May His Soul Rest In Peace!
“Yaa wor Jogbann, ts3 kpakpa”