Isn’t it insulting to the memory of Prof. John Evans Atta Mills that after all the vilification and insults from both elements in his party and the opposition when he was alive, we are falling over each other to have everything named after him, now that he is dead.
He has even being raised to the status of a saint, everything that he touched has suddenly turned into gold, and he seemed to have walked on water when he was alive.
What outraged me and most Ghanaians was the decision by the Mayor of the Accra Metropolitan Authority (AMA), Alfred Nii Okoe Vanderpuiye, to change the name from Madam Theodosia Okoh Hockey Stadium to John Evans Atta Mills Hockey Stadium.
Mr. Vanderpuiye should be remembered not only naming monuments after President Mills, but what he did for him when he (Mill) was alive.
The hypocrisy is becoming too much, in appreciating him, we are rather in the process exposing him to ridicule. Naming everything after Prof. Mills loses value, in our quest to honour a great son of the land.
Prof. Mills would certainly not be happy with the way he is being treated. He is a God fearing man who takes his religion serious. As an ardent Christian, he believes no human being should be treated like god.
If there is any lesson that we are learning, it is that we must honour and appreciate our leaders’ whilst they are alive.
This brings me to the main thrust of this article and it summarizes my headline, and that is what we are doing to our two former surviving
Presidents, i.e. Jerry John Rawlings and John Agyekum Kufuor.
Former President Rawlings has been the longest serving Head of State in the history of this country. It was during his tenure as a President that we had a lot of Institutional reforms and the establishments of a lot of Institutions to drive our democratic governance.
He supervised the first time in the life of this country transfer of power from a one civilian and democratically elected President to another. For 19 years, despite several Coup attempts he managed to hold this country together, until it was time to leave in 2000, he exited in his glory.
That one singular gesture has earned him many accolades across Africa and the world.
There are some who would argue that the Constitutional democracy that we are currently enjoying today could not be attributed to Mr. Rawlings, because he had no choice. But I want to tell those people that he indeed had a choice, and that was choosing between the people he loved and have sacrificed 19 years of his life to serve and his own parochial, personal interest, and as usual and typical of him, he chose Ghanaians who made him who he has become to the world.
Examples abound in Africa, when leaders have decided to hang onto power, even when they have overstayed their welcome.
Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo died on the throne, Laurent Gbagbo of Ivory Coast was forced out of office, when it was obvious he had lost an election, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe still believes after 80 years, he still has a lot to offer his people, Muamar Al-Ghadafi of Libya was killed trying to hold onto power, the list is endless.
So yes, Jerry Rawlings had a choice; he only decided to choose peace over war. What have we as a country done or named after him, when he is still alive?
Former President John Agyekum Kufuor, from 2001 to 2009, when he was elected President, dedicated himself, his energies to the cause of this country.
His towering figure and panache both home and abroad earn this country a front seat among the Committee of Nations. He continued from where Jerry Rawlings left. He also introduced a lot of social intervention programmes, among which includes, National Youth Entrepreneurial Programme (NYEP) now known as Ghana Youth Employment and Empowerment Development Authourity (GYEEDA), which is now embedded in widespread corruption.
Mention could be made of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), the N1 George Walker Bush Highway through the assistance of the United State of America (USA) government and many projects he undertook as the President.
I am yet to see or hear of any edifice or monument named after President Kufuor. I bet we would be clamouring over things to name these two gentlemen after when they are dead and gone.
Even their ex-gratia which they deserve after sacrificing for this country has become a contentious issue.
President Mills is even lucky because the National Democratic Congress happens to be in office. Assuming he died when it was the New Patriotic Party (NPP) that was in office, would he have received the burial he had? Or if the NDC had lost the 2012 elections, would Mr. Vanderpuiye have had the nerves to change the name of the Hockey Pitch.
It is time we begin a bi-partisan debate on how to recognize and properly award our leaders when they are alive, not when they are dead and will not be around to appreciate what they have done.
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