President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday in Accra called on African leaders to emulate the exemplary leadership qualities of late Ghanaian President, John Atta Mills, and his efforts at promoting the essence of democracy.
Mr. Jonathan also applauded and recommended, to emerging democracies on the continent, the smooth and prompt transfer of presidential power to President Dramani Mahama; following the death of Mr. Atta Mills on July 24.
He made the call, in a tribute at the final funeral rites of Mr. Atta Mills, at the Accra Stadium in Ghana.
Mr. Jonathan hailed the significant legacy of stable and enduring democratic institutions of governance, established and nurtured since 1992, in Ghana.
He described the late Ghanaian president as a “dependable leader, an affable gentlemen, soft spoken but firm, a self-assured man of honour and of intellect who loved his country, his continent, his race and who served humanity with all his heart”.
“John Atta-Mills did his best as a leader and servant of his people.
“We honour him today as a great teacher, administrator and political leader who dedicated his entire life to the service of his country, Africa and humanity,” he said.
The President assured Mr. Mahama and the people of Ghana of Nigeria’s continued brotherly solidarity and friendship.
Mr. Jonathan said the late President was a great friend of Nigeria and an affirmed believer in the shared heritage and common destiny of all Africans.
16 Heads of State, five Vice Presidents, and other high-powered international dignitaries attended the funeral and burial service of the late President at Accra stadium.
Among the dignitaries were the U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton; Chairman of the Africa Union and President of Benin Republic, Boni Yayi; and former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Anan, who is also a Ghanaian.
Born on July 21, 1944, Mr. Atta Mills was a graduate of University of Ghana Law Faculty, the London School of Economics, and the School of Oriental and African Studies, London where he obtained his PhD at the age of 27.
He spent more than 25 years as lecturer at the University of Ghana and several institutions of higher learning where he rose to Associate Professor.
In 1988, Mr. Atta Mills launched into Ghana’s political terrain when he was appointed Acting Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, and also named Commissioner in 1996.
He was the presidential flag-bearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for eight years that the political party stayed in opposition.
On January 3, 2009, Mr. Atta Mills was declared winner of the Ghana 2008 general elections and sworn into office on January 9, 2009 as Executive President and Commander-in-Chief of Ghana Armed Forces.
He was re-elected in July 2012 as the presidential candidate of the NDC, for the December 2012 Ghana general elections.
Mr. Atta Mills died on July 24, of throat cancer, a few hours after he was hospitalised in a Ghana Military Hospital; three days after his 68th birthday.