Welcome Address By Samuel Koku Anyidoho, At The Maiden Seminar Series Of The Atta-Mills Institute Held At The Auditorium Of The Ghana Academy Of Arts And Sciences, Accra, Ghana, On, Wednesday, July 24, 2019, To Commemorate the 7th Year Of The Passing Away Of The Late, Professor John Evans Atta-Mills, Former President Of The Republic Of Ghana.
Ladies and gentlemen, fellow Ghanaians, brothers and sisters,
I wholeheartedly acknowledge the presence of all, and, in the name of God Almighty welcome you on behalf of the Atta-Mills Institute (AMI), to our maiden Seminar Series to champion the course and need for a Mindset Transformation drive to a growth path that can help give a better meaning to adage “Heaven helps those who help themselves”.
It has been seven years since our dear late President, John Evans Atta-Mills passed-on to glory and we have decided to mourn no more in spite of the huge void his departure has left.
Rather than mourn; the Atta-Mills Institute is going to PERFECT THE LEGACY of one of the greatest Leaders to have managed the affairs of state.
In my mind’s eye, I can still see the body of the Father of the Nation lying lifeless at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), of the 37 Military Hospital on that fateful day of July 24, 2012.
Date to date, tomorrow will be exactly seven years that Ghana and the world got hit by that not-too-pleasant history-making event of the Motherland losing a serving President for the first time.
Amidst the weeping and wailing; and in his bid to give us some form of cushion to lay our grieving hearts on, the lead physician at the 37 Military Hospital told us, the close aides of the President, that, we should allow our father to go and rest because he needed to go and sleep peacefully, after “defying medical science for eight years”.
Yes, we were told that President John Evans Atta-Mills defied medical science for eight long years.
What it means is that, throughout the campaign period in the build-up to the 2008 General Elections and throughout his three and half year tenure as President, John Evans Atta-Mills was a walking miracle – the reason for which he did not hide his deep faith in God!!!
My solemn pledge to the lifeless body of the late President that day, was, “Sir, you are gone in flesh but I ask God for the strength and wisdom to do all I can in my own little way to honour your memory for singling me out amongst many, to no not only serve you and my country, but most importantly, drink from your deep fountain of knowledge and tap into you deep recesses of love for God and Country”.
Just for the records, it was Professor Atta-Mills who personally called me on phone in 2006 (so I had to resign my job as Head of Treasury and Investments at the then Metropolitan and Allied Bank, the first private commercial bank in Ghana) to join him as Head of his Communications Team during his bid to seek a third opportunity to lead the National Democratic Congress as its Flagbearer – and when he became Flagbearer, I managed the Campaign Communications which got him elected as President. That is the reason he appointed me to be the Head of Communications at the Presidency – my presence at the Presidency was certainly not a fortuitous one.
Of course prior to 2006, I had been doing a lot of work behind the scenes for the NDC since its formation – especially after the Party lost the 2000 General Elections. Indeed, it is the kind of work that I was doing in the background that caught the attention of Professor Atta-Mills for which reason he decided to move me into the nerve-centre of his third presidential campaign bid, and also to the presidency.
When out of many, a genius identifies something in you and calls you to serve him; there is only one option available – UNALLOYED LOYALTY AND COMMITMENT.
I was loyal and committed to John Evans Atta-Mills, and if we should rewind the clock, I will work for him with even more loyalty and commitment. He was a good man with a very kind heart and I have no regrets ever working for him and being extremely loyal and committed to him. After all, the bible teaches us to be loyal to our Leaders at all levels. Of course, he reciprocated – by also being very loyal to me unto the end.
Together; we saddled the horses, mowed the lawns, tilled the soil, shared good moments, comforted each other in pain, and we smiled at all storms because Christ was in the vessel with us.
If I therefore offended anyone in my line of duty, it could not have been deliberate; it could only have been a derivative of a loyal and committed desire to PROTECT and PROJECT President John Evans Atta-Mills.
The strict disciplinarian that he was, there was no way he was going to allow any of his aides to use the opportunity of working for him to flaunt any unacceptable conduct. He was very sensitive to the mandate given him to manage the affairs of state and was not going to allow anyone to abuse it in any way.
Ladies and gentlemen, fellow Ghanaians, brothers and sisters,
No amount of mourning shall bring our dear late President back to us and so a few of us have decided that rather than remain in a perpetual state of mourning, we shall Transform our Mindsets and rather give greater meaning to the ideas and ideals that the late President espoused and lived for, through our Mindset Transformation Agenda of helping to awaken the consciousness of the nation towards a better growth trajectory.
That is to say, we are PERFECTING THE LEGACY OF JOHN EVANS ATTA-MILLS.
In 2008, then Candidate Atta-Mills, transformed the face of Ghanaian politics when he introduced his retail form of campaigning, by going to the people, in, the, markets, lorry parks, churches, mosques, homes, and preached his gospel of a Better Ghana.
President Atta-Mills succeeded in touching the hearts and minds of majority of Ghanaians and was given the mandate to lead the nation.
Ladies and gentlemen, fellow Ghanaians, brothers and sisters, God knows that President Atta-Mills breathed a lot of life into his pledge to build a Better Ghana and he actually changed the narrative of governance by anchoring his style to his strong belief that, it is only when we end the vicious cycle of the politics of vengeance and retribution, that we shall be able to focus on the real reasons for which the electorate gives political leaders the mandate to positively transform their living standards.
I quote President Atta-Mills from his State Of The Nation Address (SONA), delivered on, Thursday, February 25, 2010, inter alia – “Madam Speaker (Her Ladyship Justice Joyce Bamford-Addo, was the Speaker), … I made a commitment to do away with the style of politics that mistook democratic transfer of power as an opportunity to wreak vengeance.
This Administration is consciously developing an atmosphere where criticisms are not seen as enemy action, but seen as serious alternative views to be respected and considered.
Let us always bear in mind that, as a people, we have much more common ground that unites us than we make it seem.
May I now, Madam Speaker, also invite all Members of this House and all citizens of Ghana, whatever your political inclination, to join me in creating hope, opportunity and peace of mind for our future together. No Government and certainly no political party can carry our nation forward on its own … Not everything is politics! The challenges that we face are challenges to every Ghanaian, and not just to one political group and definitely not exclusive to the Government of the day.
When love for country supersedes personal ideology, it is only then that Ghana can grow and mature as a full participant in the 21st Century Global Village and be a stable, prosperous, democratic leader of Africa’s democratic dispensation. But we can only achieve that if we agree to do it together” ”.
A year later in February 2011, when President Atta-Mills returned to Parliament to deliver the SONA, he spoke life into the heart and soul of the nation when he said “… Ghana will not die but live to give glory and honour to God …”.
These philosophical sayings, fell from the lips of our President, nine and eight years ago respectively – and it is sounding more relevant today than even before.
As a close aide and associate of the late President, and also the person who wrote all his official speeches for his engagements both home and abroad, I know how the late President always wanted his words to reflect his deep sense of concern for his people; all he truly wanted to do, was to build a Better and Prosperous Ghana in which Education and Mindset Transformation will be the key driving forces.
Ladies and Gentlemen, fellow Ghanaians brothers and sisters, it will be remiss on our part, if those of us who were disciples and believed in the course of John Evans Atta-Mills just sit idly by and allow his ideas and ideals to fizzle out.
John Evans Atta-Mills was a genius in every sense of the word. It will interest you to know that it is his PhD Theses Concepts in the areas of Law and Taxation, that he used to frame his Value Added Tax (VAT) Policies and revolutionised Ghana’s tax system when he headed the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for eight years.
Ghana’s tax regime remains one of the most progressive on the African Continent to date.
That is to say, by the time he had successfully defended his Doctoral Thesis at the age of 27, having studied jointly at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London, and also as a Fulbright Scholar at the prestigious Stanford University in the United States of America, his mind was already full of visionary transformational concepts that will eventually reform the tax system of Ghana and other countries.
Also for the records, he was the one who introduced the Law of Taxation as a course at the Law Faculty, University of Ghana, Legon, in 1972. I must have just finished crawling and walking around destroying everything in sight at the time.
I was not surprised when President Akufo-Addo said in France recently, that, President Atta-Mills was a visionary Leader vis-à-vis his mooting the idea for the creation of an African Free Trade Area – which is going to be birthed here in Ghana.
The name John Evans Atta-Mills is most definitely in the league of Reformers and Transformational Leaders and those of us who had the rare privilege to work with such a genius, must do all we can to keep his legacy alive just as Plato, kept the legacy of his teacher, Socrates, alive.
John Evans Atta-Mills is gone with his physical body, but his spirit and ideals still live on hence the birth of the Atta-Mills Institute of which I am humbly the Founder and Chief Executive Officer as well as the Servant-Leader of the wonderful Team I lead. Just as President Atta-Mills was, a, Servant-Leader, so am I a Servant-Leader.
The Atta-Mills Institute was registered and incorporated in 2017 and we have been doing some little things on the quiet but we cannot continue to operate on the quiet any longer hence this Maiden Seminar which is the beginning of greater and bigger things to come as has already been declared in the realms of the Heavens.
Though John Evans Atta-Mills left the shores of human existence as a politician belonging to a political party; he also left as a President and statesman who was Father For All.
To this end, I make the point without any equivocation that, The Atta-Mills Institute is a non-partisan, non-governmental, not-for-profit, Research, Education and Advocacy Policy Thank-Tank.
I repeat; The Atta-Mills Institute is a non-partisan, non-political, non-governmental, father/mother for all nation-building Research, Education and Advocacy Policy Think-Tank.
Our desire is to serve our Nation Ghana and other nations devoid of any partisan colouration.
Focusing more on research, and educating the citizenry through civic education and developing the much-needed mindset of, civic responsibility, is what we seek most to do because President Atta-Mills lived his whole working life teaching and imparting knowledge.
To this end, the AMI aimes at advocating and advancing the course of civic education to promote Mindset Transformation as the most progressive approach to genuinely transforming the nation and building the Better Ghana that we all yearn for.
The AMI believes that it is only a healthy mindset that will lead us to a wealthy Ghana. Our leaf-green colour and the cowrie in our logo speaks to our deep-seated belief that it is only Knowledge with Integrity that will drive us to the point of becoming a Wealthy and Prosperous nation.
It is not by chance that we are having our maiden event in this Auditorium. It is the visionary thinking of John Evans Atta-Mills that gave Ghana this new Auditorium. Read SONA 2012. This is the foremost Centre of Learning in Ghana and the pictures of the persons who have been Presidents of the Academy should tell you what this place represents.
We are approaching our journey on this path of nation-building with the best of intentions and we pray that God Almighty will hold our hands with His powerful hands and guard and guide us every step of the way because we will only be satisfied when His name is glorified.
I want to thank Nene Nagai Kassa Viii (known in private life as Mr. Mike Afedi Gizo), for agreeing to Chair this first ever Seminar Session because his home at Haatso has been both a hatchery and an incubator for this Project. He and his wife Doreen, have been pillars of strength for me in every sense of the phrase, especially after the loss of President Atta-Mills, and I am honoured that he is not only Chairing today’s event, but has also graciously agreed to serve as the Head of the Governing Council of the Institute. Sir,
Another person I want to specially thank on this day, is, Dr. Abu Bako, Founding President & International Director, Logos-Rhema Foundation for Leadership Resource Development, Ghana. Even though I had been working on this Project for some years, it is my association with him early this year, that really pumped me up with the right Mindset and Energy to stop being idealistic, and get the Institute off the ground.
Chief Servant, all I can say is, you a true reflection of what God wanted the Church to be: A Place for the unadulterated teaching of Man’s divine purpose on earth with all the basic principles for living a fulfilling life set out in the Manual of Life – the Bible. Thank you sir for getting me to push myself to the wall in order to build the Structure and Systems to run the Institute.
Of course, I cannot end without thanking my Father, Major General (Rtd) Henry Kwami Anyidoho (DSO for Gallantry. A military decoration awarded for meritorious and distinguished service during wartime – typically in actual combat. Deputy Force Commander, UNAMIR), and my later mother Mercy Abla Mivormawu Anyidoho (Nee Tsegah), for being the vessels that God used to bring me into this world and the wonderful moral and educational upbringing the gave me. Papa, thanks for being here to support me.
Ladies and Gentlemen, fellow Ghanaians, brothers and sisters,
July 21, the birthdate of John Evans Atta-Mills shall always be a Special Event Day on the calendar of the Institute because with a Transformed Mindset, we choose to eulogise the day that God gave such a genius to Ghana and the World, rather than eulogise the day he passed-on to eternal rest.
Also, our Seminar Series will not be limited to a yearly event; we will draw up a calendar of educational Seminars and Workshops, Empowerment Sessions, and Charity Engagements, that will keep us busy throughout the months in the coming years.
At the AMI, we believe that all things are POSSIBLE: It is therefore POSSIBLE to hold hands TOGETHER and walk the illuminating path of transforming our mindset to build a PROSPEROUS and BETTER GHANA.
“At the Atta-Mills Institute, we shall always find true happiness in service to humanity, and in all our undertakings, we shall always owe true allegiance to God and Country as Nation Builders without Frontiers. Ghana and Nations will not die; Ghana and Nations will live to give glory and honour to God our Creator.”
John Evans Atta-Mills cared for this Country Ghana; the AMI shall also care about his legacy! He was a man of unshakable faith in God and so we anchor the Atta-Mills Institute to Psalm 127 ; Unless the Lord builds the house; They labour in vain who build it; Our labour shall NEVER be in vain for we are fastened to the rock which cannot move; grounded firm in deep in the Saviour’s love.
Shalom to you all for coming and we pray you enjoy your stay with us and find the time spent here very useful.
Thank you for your kind attention.
Founder & CEO