I woke up on Tuesday, July 24, 2012, believing that I had woken up to a normal working day.
As is my routine, I had my Morning Devotion; rolled through some other routine stuff; and readied myself to hit the road to the Castle to go and finish working on a speech I was writing for the President of the Republic of Ghana.
As the speech writer for the President, I was under very strict instructions to always ensure that I got all speeches ready at least four days before major events because the President never wanted to go to any function without fully internalising his choice of words and simulating his thoughts.
Little did I know that Tuesday was going to come with its own heavy dark clouds that will hang around the neck of the nation for a very long time!
I got into my car; drove to the Castle; went straight to my office and locked up so as to prevent any form of disturbance.
I did not go to see the President at his residence that morning as was the norm, because I did not want to give another excuse for not having the speech ready.
A little while after I settled in, and started engaging the keyboard of my laptop to complete the speech, I heard a sustained aggressive bang on my door and had no option but to walk to the door with a very stern look on my face ready to eat up whoever it was that was disturbing my writing rhythm.
The stern look I wore, broke into a look of morbid trepidation when I was told the earth-shaking news that the health condition of President John Evans Atta Mills had hit a very low level and he had been rushed to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the 37 Military Hospital in an ambulance (and not in the boot of my Ford vehicle as was vilely rumoured), by his Medical Team.
In my state of consternation at hearing the scary news, I screamed for my driver and rushed to the 37 Military Hospital.
The short distance between the Castle and the 37 Military Hospital, seemed like an endless journey, with my thought processes running in a multiplicity of wild directions amidst a deluge of phone calls from all angles.
I shall never be able to blot out the picture of the lifeless body of my, boss, mentor, friend, advisor, and teacher, when I was allowed to enter the ICU to see for myself that, the President of the Republic of Ghana, and Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, had taken his final breath. Phew!!!!
Weeping, wailing, and finding myself lost in a labyrinth of misty theories and postulations, I could only hold on to my strong acceptance of the words as put out by the Prophet Isiah in his preaching in the Holy Bible.
Isiah 55: vrs 8-9; “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts”.
Most certainly, it is only God who knows why the flesh of the sitting President of the Republic of Ghana, had to leave this world of sin, and for his spirit to move into higher realms of sanctity and tranquillity.
I cannot forget how my biological father, Major General Henry Kwami Anyidoho, deeply appreciated what I was going through and rushed to the Castle to console me and give me his shoulder to cry on, after we left the 37 Military Hospital back to the Seat of Government to quickly work at getting Vice President John Dramani Mahama sworn-in as President of the Republic of Ghana and Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, so as not to create a constitutional hiatus.
In other words, my biological father had come to accept the fact that President John Evans Atta Mills and I, had an extremely close and binding attachment that, was beyond a “master/servant”, relationship.
It is already five years since President John Evans Atta Mills passed on to glory, and the memory keeps flooding into the forefront of my thought process as if it happened only yesterday.
Certainly, after five years, I am not shedding tears anymore but I cannot get over such a monumental loss that hit me as a person, and hit the nation in general.
Incidentally, the 5th Anniversary of the passing-on of President Atta Mills coincides with the 25th Anniversary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and as the Party celebrates its year-long Silver Jubilee, there is no way we can forget the stoic leadership role the late President played in the 25 years of the existence of the NDC.
The reluctant politician (as is known to close associates) that he was, President Atta Mills, however, never failed to dig into his inner being and offer the needed the leadership at all times.
If my statistics is right; in the 25 years of the NDC, President Atta Mills holds the record as the longest serving Leader of the Party.
He led the NDC into the 2000 elections; led the NDC into the 2004 elections; and led the NDC into the 2008 elections, and also led the Party for the three and half years he served as President of the Republic of Ghana.
The first time I got hit very hard by death; was, after the passing away of my late mother, Mrs. Mercy Abla Mivormawu Anyidoho (Nee Tsegah), in 1993, when I was in my final year at the University of Ghana, Legon.
Nothing can be more excruciatingly painful than losing a mother, and I shall forever miss her.
May the soul of my loving mother continue to rest in perfect peace!
The second time death that hit me at a very close range again like a thunderbolt, was when President Atta Mills passed away.
To watch a sitting President, and Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, pass away, only reinforced the fact that, death will come when it chooses to come, and there is nothing any human being can do about it.
Were it possible to fight death; the Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces would have sent out the Army to fight death by land; sent out the Airforce to fight death in the air; and sent out the Navy to fight death on the sea.
Alas, it was not so!
No man can fight death; and this is a fact of life we all have to understand and know that, one fine day, we shall have no option but to beckon to the call of our ancestors and depart to the Land Beyond.
As fleeting and ephemeral as life is; our sole duty on earth is to leave our memories positively etched on the mind of the people we encounter.
Of course, for those of us who have the opportunity to serve as leaders of the Nation, our sole duty is to leave a positive memory properly etched on the mind of the nation.
I can say without any equivocation that, President John Evans Atta Mills, has left his memory eternally etched on the right side of the nation’s mind and NOTHING can erase that solid memory.
As a political party, the NDC can NEVER forget that immaculate role President Atta Mills played in leading the Party in the dark days of Opposition when the NPP Government did all it could to decimate, dismember, and totally annihilate the Party.
As Opposition Leader, the more the NPP referred to him as a “Serial Loser” (because the NDC lost the 2000 elections, and allowed the NPP to steal the victory in 2004), the more Candidate Mills got energised to work and win the 2008 elections so as to prove to the world that he was not born to be a “Serial Loser”.
Very often, he will say to me; “Koku, I am not a loser ooo; don’t worry, we will win and I will prove to the NPP that God’s time is the best”.
When the NPP stole the victory in 2004 via Jake Obetsebi Lamptey’s (may his soul rest in peace) infamous speech at the Castle Gardens, Candidate Atta Mills REFUSED to make this country ungovernable, and kept telling us that; “I will never want to become President by shedding innocent blood so let the NPP take the victory. If it is God’s will that I should become President, four years will soon come and Ghanaians will vote for me to lead them”.
Indeed, the prophecy of the Asomdwehene, came to pass, and Ghanaians gave him a joyous mandate in 2008 in spite of all the dirty machinations of the NPP to once again rig an election.
The immense struggle President Atta Mills went through to lead the NDC to win back political power in 2008 is a story well known.
Even the near-nation-wrecking move by the then Chief Justice, Georgina Wood, to get a court to sit on the 1st of January, 2009 (New Year’s Day and a public holiday), to create a backdoor path for the NPP to stop the Electoral Commission from declaring the results of the 2008 General Elections, did not stop the victory of President John Evans Atta Mills and the NDC.
For sure, the NDC has a strong and resilient spirit, and President Atta Mills made a solid contribution to giving more verve to the resilient spirit of the Party.
I will forever miss eating from the table of wisdom, and drinking from the deep fountain of knowledge, of the late President.
He was indeed a good man!!!
I thank the Good Lord for the divine opportunity to have served President John Evans Atta Mills in a very high capacity at the Seat of Government, and I am grateful to the late President for giving me the rare opportunity to work closely with him as a close aide and confidant.
I am also thankful to the NDC for giving me more opportunities to continue to serve the Party.
I have no doubt that the NDC shall see many more brighter and better days as the Party begins another phase of rebuilding towards, Unity, Stability, and Development.
The lights, of anchoring nation-building to the pillars of decency that President Atta Mills, lit, continue to glow especially in the current dark dispensation of evil Invisible and Delta Forces running amok and drowning the nation in a sea of lawlessness.
There is no denying the fact that, the legacy of the good old Professor, shall continue to stand tall!
May your good soul continue to rest peacefully in eternity till we meet again at the Feet of Jehovah!!!
Deputy General Secretary (NDC)
Founder/CEO, Atta Mills Institute (AMI)