President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo yesterday commissioned the refurbished Asomdwe Park, in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the death of the President John Evans Atta-Mills.
Speaking at the ceremony, the President noted that the commissioning of an infrastructural project by government should naturally be a joyous occasion, and should elicit the display of pomp and pageantry in recognition of the feat achieved.
“But today’s event is not one of those normal occasions. Exactly ten years ago, a truly tragic incident occurred, one we had never witnessed, and hope will never reoccur in our history, certainly not in our lifetime – the death of a sitting President in office, the death of the 3rd President of the 4th Republic, Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills,” he lamented.
According to President Akufo-Addo, he was a contemporary of the late President at the University of Ghana, were members of the same hall, Legon Hall, and played in the same University football team.
“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 further recounted that, sometime after becoming President, he became aware of the sad state of Asomdwe Park, and, in 2020, he received a request from the late President’s Communications Director, Koku Anyidoho, who runs the Institute named after the President, for the assistance of Government to rehabilitate the facility.
“I agreed, and, subsequently, I instructed the Coastal Development Authority to undertake a thorough rehabilitation of the Park, with the close co-operation of the Institute. 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 Asomdwe Park has been elevated to a status befitting the final resting place of a President of the Republic of Ghana,” President Akufo-Addo added.
The President explained that he did so not to exploit or take advantage of any so-called divisions in the National Democratic Congress, stressing that “those alleged divisions are not of my making, and do not, in any way, inure to my benefit.”
President Akufo-Addo also noted that there had been unfortunate accusations levelled by some against Government about the supposed desecration of the tomb of the late President in the process of rehabilitating the Park.
“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, Jerry Ahmed Shaib, in a public statement under his hand,” he stressed.
The President reiterated his sincere condolences to the family of the late former President, John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills, saying “the man from Ekumfi Otuam will not be forgotten”.