Former President John Dramani Mahama has revealed for the first time where he was and how he learned of the death of his boss, late Professor John Evans Fiifi Atta-Mills.
On Tuesday, he spoke at the launch of the Atta-Mills Memorial Heritage. The event, held at the Cedi Center, University of Ghana, Legon, drew a large number of party supporters and dignitaries.
According to him, on the day Professor Mills died, Sir James Beebako-Mensah (Professor Mills’ secretary) informed him that he, John Mahama, would be acting as President of Ghana on that faithful day, July 24.
This was due to the President’s upcoming trip to Nigeria. Professor Mills specifically requested that Mahama stand in for him at the official launch of the ‘Brand Ghana Project’ at the Accra International Conference Center due to his scheduled travel.
John Mahama stated that he attended the function with the Chief of Staff, Mr John Henry Martey Newman. He revealed that upon their return to the castle at Osu, he requested an audience with the late President on some pressing issues after completing another meeting in his office.
Mr Newman, the Chief of Staff, called Mr Mahama at this point to inform him that the President had been rushed to the 37 Military Hospital due to an emergency.
“I finished a meeting and prepared my belongings to rush to the hospital.” Sir. James Beebako-Mensah then entered my office and delivered the devastating news. ‘Professor has died. How? “How could Prof die?” I wondered,” John Mahama recalled.
The news of Professor Mills’ death, according to the NDC’s 2020 flagbearer, ruffled him at the time.
“The entire world came to a halt. Nothing in my political life or experience had prepared me for this moment. Working under Prof’s supervision had been a wonderful experience. His death made me hesitant to step up to the plate. “I realized what a huge responsibility I was taking on and that the buck would stop with me and no one else,” John Mahama stated.
Mr Mahama recounted the event, saying, “the swearing-in ceremony was a blur, and I struggled to finish my acceptance speech without breaking down in front of a sorrowful nation.” When I left the podium, I went back to my vice presidential seat, until the uproar from the MPs reminded me that I had sworn the presidential oath and should move to the ceremonial presidential seat. “The rest is history, to be told at a later date,” John Mahama recalled.