President John Dramani Mahama, in a glowing tribute to the late President John Evans Atta Mills at his burial service, described him as a âas a great statesman, a unifier and a possessor of diverse virtuesâ.
He told the nation: âWe have all come to appreciate what our late president has lent to our great Ghana and the world.
âHe is, indeed, a father for all. I am in no doubt that the unifier and the man of peace that our late president was in passing on to glory will be a catalyst for our country to consolidate the peace and forge ahead in unity. His legacy will live long into eternity.â
President Mahama, who succeeded the late president, had arrived at the Independence Square and had earlier lit the perpetual flame before moving to where the casket was at the centre of the square.
The casket, bearing the body of the late president who passed away two days after marking his 68th birthday, was draped in the national colours of red, gold and green.
The Independence Square was like a sea of red and black, with thousands of people who had come from all parts of the country to say goodbye to their president whose vision was to build a âBetter Ghanaâ.
The funeral cortege was led by the Aide-de-Camp of the late president, Colonel Lante Lawson.
Tributes were interspersed with Bible reading and choral performances by a mass choir.
Mourners sat attentively to listen to the sermon and other tributes from the widow, Dr Mrs Ernestina Naadu Mills, the family represented by Dr Cadman Mills, brother of the late president.
The call for the beginning of the ceremony was performed by the Right Reverend Professor Emmanuel Martey, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana and the opening prayer by Apostle Dr Opoku Onyinah, Chairman of the Church of Pentecost.
Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharabutu, National Chief Imam, also offered a prayer.
The scriptural readings were done by Professor Kofi Awoonor, Chairman of the Council of State, Mrs Justice Joyce Adeline Bamford-Addo, the Speaker of Parliament and Chief Justice Mrs Justice Georgina Theodora Wood.
The Most Reverend Professor Emmanuel K. Asante, Presiding Bishop of Methodist Church, Ghana, on yesterday said the life of man did not depend on material gains or earthly possessions, instead on faith in God.
He said: âWhat can a man gain without life with God? Human gains nothing without life with God and life without God is futile.â
Most Rev. Asante made the observation when delivering the sermon at the burial service of the late President John Evans Atta Mills at the Independence Square in Accra, on the theme: âThe Futility In Life Without Godâ.
He said life on earth was transitory; it was a journey from the known to the unknown and the late President Mills understood life in that context.
Most Rev. Asante said: âEven though he was a great man, an academician, a leader of a great nation and an accomplished individual, the late president accepted Jesus Christ as his personal saviour.
âThe late president in his modesty served this nation with humility and fear of God knowing that life with God is futile, empty and hopelessâ.
The Presiding Bishop admonished the public not to depend on their own accomplishment but to accept God as their personal saviour.
He said those who truly committed themselves to the service of God would rest peacefully in the bosom of their maker after death.
âWe are travelers our final destination is with God and we must keep our eyes fixed on that eternal destination with God.
âWe must be consoled and be challenged for the fact that our late president lived for eternity. We are also consoled that God whom we serve will give us the inner equilibrium to face the lost and the pains,â Most. Rev. Asante consoled the bereaved family.
He asked Ghanaians to avoid negative languages in politics and ensure that they sustained the bond of unity that the death of the late president brought among them.
Most Rev. Asante said: âWe must try to do away with that, forge ahead to accomplish his Better Ghana Agenda to mortalise the great leader.
âWe must unite and draw together for peace, especially this election year, we need to unite to ensure that we conduct free, fair and peaceful elections”.
Other members of the clergy were Most Reverend Joseph Osei Bonsu, President, Catholic Bishops Conference, Most Rev. Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle, Accra Metropolitan Archbishop of the Catholic Church, Most Rev. Dr Justice Ofei Akrofi, out-going Anglican Archbishop of West Africa, Right Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Martey, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana and Right Rev. Francis Amenu, Moderator, E.P. Church, Ghana.
The rest were Apostle Opoku Nyina, President, Ghana Pentecostal Council, Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams, Christian Action Faith Ministries, Rev. Dr. Eastwood Anaba, Fountain Gate Chapel, Rt. Rev. Titus K. Awotwi-Pratt, Accra Diocesan Bishop of the Methodist Church, Ghana Rev. Dr. Steve Asante, President, Ghana Baptist Convention and Rev. Dr. Nii Amu Darku, Senior Pastor, Bethel Baptist Church, Dansoman and a Member of the Council of State.
Last Journey On Earth
An enthusiastic crowd followed the cortege of the late President John Evans Atta Mills as he made his last journey through some main streets of Accra to the Geese Park where he was buried.
A helicopter hovered overhead and the huge crowd followed the funeral cortege from the Independence Square through National Lotteries Authority, Old Parliament House, former Rex Cinema, Movenpick Ambassador hotel, the African Liberation Circle, passed in front of the State House to the burial ground. Some among the crowd waved Ghana flags, handkerchiefs and scarves as the cortege passed by them.
Others were seen using their mobile phones and cameras to capture the scene.
A man who gave his name as Kwabena Gyamfi told the GNA that the mortal remains of President Mills should have been sent to his hometown in the Central Region before final interment in Accra.
According to him, it would have given the other relatives and townsfolk who could not travel to Accra for the funeral ceremony, the chance to pay their last respects to their illustrious son.