Prof. Mills was humility personifiedTribute by T.V. Musah
What is the meaning of humility, God fearing, modesty and integrity? Before you reach out for your Dictionary, let me give you the answer. It is President Professor John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills.
I first came into formal contact with Professor Mills, then Dr. Mills, in 1982, when as a member of the Hearts of Oak first Africa winners’ cup committee, together with the late Professor Acquaye of the University of Ghana, Legon, we planned Hearts campaign together.
As a staunch follower of the Phobians, he was always with the team whilst we camped at Girl Guides Campus at Achimota or at Sarbah hall in Legon. It came as no surprise that when Marcus Hughes was appointed as Hearts Chairman, Dr. Mills was the special advisor to the ex-chairman and he continued in that capacity when I took over from Marcus Hughes in June 1986, when he resigned.
Later on, Hearts of Oak played Horoya club of Guinea, and due to my heavy schedule at my former office at Danafco, I delegated Professor Mills to lead the Hearts contingent to Conakry, Guinea. It was no surprise to me, Dr. Mills then came and rendered a very accurate account to the club and also brought back forty pounds sterling (£40) as balance.
Again, when fire was raging in Hearts of Oak in 1998–2000, Prof. Mills, then Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, called me several times and appealed to me to tell my colleagues on the opposite side, the Bright Akwetey faction, to smoke the peace pipe. He did this constantly till peace eventually came to Hearts of Oak
This relationship at the Hearts of Oak club and NDC brought us together. As Vice President of Ghana, Professor Mills called me to the castle at least five (5) times in a year to discuss social and political matters.
During the 2000 presidential election campaign, I accompanied him to almost every town and village in the southern sector of Ghana; Volta, Eastern, Greater Accra, Central and Western Regions.
I repeated this also during the 2004 elections, all because of the good and sweet relationship we shared together. I told Prof in his office one morning that “the perception in Ghana is that, you could have won the elections hands down, but for somebody, so let’s form our own party,” he got closer and said to me in the fante dialect: “T.V., se me ye dem a, na maye boni aye ni,” meaning “if I do that, I would have been ungrateful”
In the sum–up to the 2008 Elections, President Mills recommended me to the then Parliamentary Candidate for Ablekuma South constituency and now minister for information, Mr. Fritz Baffour, and I was subsequently appointed as the Special Assistant to him during the elections.
I was always with the Prof at his Osu Kuku hill campaign office at least three (3) or four (4) times in a week, to give him and his staff moral support, whiles running some petty errands for him.
At the campaign office at Kuku hill in Osu, Prof received countless number of NDC supporters and sympathizers daily, and one wonders how he was able to receive every one of them without complaining. And what was more, the good man always dipped his hands into his pocket. He was a “paymaster extraordinary”.
Prof Mills was so humane that when walking he even did not want to thread on ants. He didn’t want to hurt any living thing. He was genuine, courteous and respectful, and a God fearing man who held a strong faith in the Lord.
When President Mills last travelled to the US for medical check–up , I called him one time at 12:45 GMT and I asked him of his health, he said: “T.V, I am ok, just that some people are trying to impose sickness on me. But I pray for Ghanaians every minute of my life”.
When I broke the news of the death of Mr. Emmanuel Asamoah Owusu Ansah, MP and former Ashanti Regional Minister in the NPP Government to him, he exclaimed “Oh! Oh! Oh! That was a nice gentleman, he was a sporting friend and a colleague lawyer, extend my condolences,” the ex-President added.
I was very close to the President and all his aides and staff at the castle. He was the President whose cell phone number was known by about 30% of the populace. He would pick calls from anyone who cared to call him, even those who abuse the privilege to insult him on his cell phone. Never have I in my life seen an honest, humble, peaceful and loving man. No, No, No, never!!
I end my tribute by quoting from John chapter 14:1-5 “ Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in me. In my father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place for you I will come back and receive you unto myself…” Prof, many of us believe the Lord has already received you in Heaven.
I believe that Prof, as affectionately called, is with his maker and it is up to us, those of us who ridiculed him to amend our ways and serve God diligently. We miss you dear Prof, you have played your part. May God almighty, whom you feared and loved, keep your soul forever till we meet again. I miss you dearly.
Da yie, President Professor Mills, Damirifa Due
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