Of Prof. John Evans Atta Mills and the naming of monuments!

Of Prof. John Evans Atta Mills and the naming of monuments!

Like Achilles in the movie ‘Troy’, the late president Mills has left footprints in the sands of history.

I am not a movie-fan. However, there are some movies that only the blind (with all due respect) will resist watching due to the powerful historical, inspirational or good message they portray or translate. One of such movies is the Homer’s poem The Iliad’s movie depiction starring Brad Pitt of Hollywood fame. No wonder it became Pitt’s Magnum Opus. Troy is the title of the movie. No need for me to trumpet the efficacy of the movie because a good thing they say, “sells itself”.

In the movie, the protagonist Achilles (played by Brad Pitt) had an interlocution with his goddess-mother about whether he should stay home or join the battalions for the greatest war history ever recorded.

His mother Thetis told him “If you stay in Larissa, you will find peace. You will find a wonderful woman and you will have sons and daughters who will have children. And they’ll love you and remember your name. But when your children are dead and their children after them, your name will be lost. If you go to Troy, glory will be yours they will write stories about your victories for thousands of years and the world will honor your name”.

Today, the manifestations of the name Achilles in popular culture alone epitomizes the fervid and intense realization of his desire to choose the Road Not Taken and go for the war. Truly, he left his footprints in the sands of history and the world really honored him. Thus we have many monuments named after him, movies made to depict him abound and other things done to eulogize the enthusiasm, zeal and gusto he showed when he decided to abandon his safety zone and plunge vociferously into the Trojan War. No wonder Achilles heel, Achilles tendon and the 2011 novel that won the 2012 Orange Price for fiction (The Song of Achilles) were named after him.

The decision of the to name monuments of repute in the country after John Evans Atta Mills is a step in the right direction. This is due to the fact that the man really laid his course to benefit humanity as a whole and the world continues to honor him. His life is a chronicle of dynamism and heroism. The most important virtue he left for Ghanaians is his humility and tolerance amidst all turbulences and pestilences.

The news of his death hit me spell bound when I was then returning home from Mercy Islamic School as a National Service Person. Indeed death comes at a time! The day of his internment, a man made a poignant statement that still lingers in my mind. The man was awed by the sea of crowd that thronged the Black Star Square to give him the final salute. Indeed Lexicographers must coin a new word to describe the preponderant crowd that came to pay the man his last respect.

The man said “If you die and only your children, parents, family and friends miss you, you have lived a useless life.” The whole world should miss you. When Professor Mills died, the whole world virtually came to a stand-still! Professor Mills indeed lived a useful life. From humble beginnings, he rose through the ranks and passed through the mill yet left a mark of excellence wherever he went.

When free school uniforms are mentioned, laptops for students; schools under trees eliminated are mentioned, one name pops up in mind – John Evans Atta Mills!

Like Achilles, his name remains in the sands of time due to how the tentacles of his influence spread. He changed the “barbaric” way our politics was heading towards. The politics of vendetta, vindictiveness and witch-hunting was sunk into the darkest bowls of history by the learned Professor.

It is miraculous to even state that posthumously, he calmed nerves, maintained sanity ,ensured equanimity, upheld serenity in the country that was virtually, in my view – at the brink of war due to the intemperate language that was been spewed by politicians. He was a man who really manifested his telenity to the omnipotent. His impact on people was profound such that one senator from Nigeria, Hon. Patrick Obahiagbon stated that the death of Prof Mills has left him in a state of metabolized melancholia.

Achilles’ service was the heroism he showed to make the Greeks win the Trojan War. On the other hand Professor Mills’ service was all-encompassing. The University of Health and Allied Sciences in the Volta Region and the University of Energy and Natural Resources in the Brong Ahafo region showed his commitment towards the factory that changes animal into man – education. If he had done nothing more, these two will have sufficed it. But the man awed Ghanaians and the world by moving along to make significant impact on almost all the aspects of life.

As we celebrate him, I suggest we do what Mr.Kadre Desire Ouedraogo (the President of the ECOWAS commission) said “The greatest tribute to the memory of Ghana’s late President is to immortalize his ideas of peace building and demonstrate a passion for regional integration which he lived and died for.”
Indeed those who leave the comfort of their safety zones to serve humanity will continue to be immortalized and eulogized.

Prophet Mohammed (Peace and blessings of Allah) stated it poignantly, “The best of a people is the one who is a source of benefit to the people”.

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