On Sunday, July 24, 2022, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President of the Republic, officially opened the renovated Asomdwoe Park to mark the tenth anniversary of the passing of the late Professor John Evans Atta-Mills, the third President of the Fourth Republic.
The launching of an infrastructure project by the government should naturally be a happy occasion, and should evoke a display of pomp and pageantry in celebration of the task achieved, according to President Akufo-Addo, who spoke at the ceremony.
The event, however, is not one of those typical occurrences.
The death of the third President of the Fourth Republic, Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills, was a really awful event that we had never witnessed and hope would never happen again in our history, certainly not in our lifetime. This event took place exactly ten years ago.
President Akufo-Addo claims that he was a classmate of the late president at the University of Ghana. They both played on the same university football team and were residents of the same hall, Legon Hall.
“As fate would have it, we ended up belonging to and leading different political organisations. We contested the presidency in 2008, and even though some will say it does not count, I won the first round and he won the second round, the round that really mattered. I was looking forward to a third round in 2012, when the Almighty called him home on 24th July 2012,” he added.
The President said that shortly after taking office, he learned of the poor status of Asomdwoe Park, and in 2020, he received a plea for government support from the late President’s enthusiastic communications director, Koku Anyidoho, who oversees the Institute bearing his name.
I concurred, and after that, with the Institute’s close assistance, I gave the Coastal Development Authority the go-ahead to complete a thorough renovation of the Park, he stated.
President Akufo-Addo continued, “It was not right that the Park had been allowed to deteriorate considerably over the years since his burial in 2012, and I am happy that it was under the Presidency of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, allegedly his ‘fiercest critic’, that Asomdwoe Park has been elevated to a status befitting the final resting place of a President of the Republic of Ghana.”
The President emphasized that “those reported splits are not of my making, and do not, in any way, inure to my profit,” adding that he did not act in order to capitalize on or take advantage of any purported conflicts inside the National Democratic Congress.
He also addressed the “unfortunate accusations” that some have made against the government over the purported vandalism of the late President’s grave during the Park’s rehabilitation.
“Nothing could be further from the truth, and it is good to note that these false, malicious statements have been firmly dispelled and debunked by the Coastal Development Authority, through the agency of its CEO, Mr. Jerry Ahmed Schaib, in a public statement under his hand,” he indicated.
President Akufo-Addo reiterated his heartfelt sympathies to Ernestina Naadu Mills, the late president’s former first lady and spouse, to her family, the National Democratic Congress, and the people of Ghana “for their enormous loss,” adding that “the man from Ekumfi Otuam would not be forgotten.”