General Politics

How Ivorian beggar prophesied Atta-Mills’ rise to President – Brother recounts

Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills, the third President of the Fourth Republic was interested in public service but not in active frontline politics.

Little wonder it took repeated persuasion by the then President Jerry John Rawlings and other kingpins of the then governing National Democratic Congress, NDC, to get the law professor who was head of the Internal Revenue Service to accept an offer of being Vice President.

But long before the NDC made the overture to a man whose work at IRS was admired by the President late Jerry John Rawlings, a beggar in Ivory Coast had foretold Atta-Mills’ rise to become President.

This is per an account shared by his brother Samuel Atta-Mills in a documentary commemorating the 10th anniversary of Atta-Mills’ passing as aired on Joy News Channel.

“He never thought about getting involved in politics, he was all about helping as many people as he could. Doing public good,” Samuel, who is lawmaker for the Komenda Edina Eguafo Abirem Constituency said.

“But there was a time that he had a trip to Cote d’Ivoire and he has some friends who are still around who could testify to that. There was a beggar who was sitting on the side of the street.

“The guy was asking for money and he (Atta-Mills) was the only one out of the group who gave him some money and then when he gave him some money, the guy called him back and said, ‘you, one day; you will be president.’

“… the other guys asked him what did he tell you… he told them (that the beggar said he would become president one day) and they laughed it off and went away.

“It was after he had become president that some of his friends came and reminded him that, ‘hey, you remember when we went to Cote d’Ivoire, this thing happened,’ that wasn’t his thought to get involved in politics,” he said.

He revealed that Atta-Mills had also attended the “Kwame Nkrumah Ideological Institute and he was someone who cared for the neighbour and he did it well.”

The late president went from the lecture halls of the University of Ghana to the IRS, then onward to the seat of government, Osu Castle, as Vice President for a four-year term.

He lost elections twice in 2000 and 2004 and over that period returned to the lecture hall till 2008 when he won the presidential election. He served three and half of his four-year tenure before he died in 2012 with months to the General Elections.

The 10th-anniversary celebration of his passing was observed officially by the state at the commissioning of a refurbished Asomdwee Park, the place his mortal remains were buried.

It was attended by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Vice President Bawumia as well as Koku Anyidoho, whose Non-Governmental Organization, the Atta Mills Institute, AMI, got the government to undertake renovations at the Park.

John Dramani Mahama and the National Democratic Congress as well as the Atta-Mills family, held their own commemoration at the Park hours after that of the state had ended.

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