Apparently, doctors of President Atta Mills had detected something unusual in him when he went for his famous June 16, 2012 trip to the United States for a routine medical checkup.
This required him to rest extensively to recuperate, but he wouldn’t listen.
The state funeral for the former president will take place in Accra from Wednesday, August 8 to Friday, August 10, 2012. According to a statement issued in Accra yesterday, the funeral service and burial would be on Friday, August 10.
The statement, signed by Chief of Staff Henry Martey Newman, said further details would be announced later.
Indeed, when President Mills came back from the US, he said his doctors gave him a clean bill of health. He went ahead to tell Ghanaians that he had energy for the “past, present and future.”
Rev. Dr. Nii Amu Darko, a member of the Council of State and a close friend and confidant of President Mills, explained that it was initially arranged for him to take some time off in the presidential lodge at Peduase on the Akwapim Ridge, but he sneaked back to the Osu Castle with the excuse that he was bored on the ridge.
“We persuaded him to go for a rest somewhere, so he moved for a while to Peduase Lodge, and it was from the Peduase Lodge that he inspected the Kumasi-Accra road, and we intended that he would stay and rest for a while. He decided to come home that weekend and come to chapel at the Castle and then go back. Only for him to come to the Castle and decide he wasn’t going back to Peduase because the work was at the Castle,” said Rev. Amu Darko.
When he came down the mountain, his aides arranged for him to make several public appearances to prove to Ghanaians that the president was hale and hearty when it was obvious to them that doctors had given a contrary opinion.
The visibly frail president was whisked to several appointments to inspect and commission projects, including the Accra-Kumasi road project.
On the morning of Tuesday, according to sources, the president, a sportsman, struggled with a light exercise and later had a meeting with his siblings, some of whom had travelled from the Central Region to Accra.
He also called for his wife, former First Lady Naadu Mills, but before she was ferried, the president was no more as he had been rushed to the hospital.
According to a source, arrangements had been made to fly him to Nigeria to see his spiritual adviser, Prophet Temitope Balogun (TB) Joshua of Synagogue Church of All Nations in Lagos, hence the letter to Speaker of Parliament informing the House of the trip.
The source said that they had wanted Prophet Joshua to travel to Ghana but he rather asked them to bring President Mills, but he could not make the journey before disaster struck.
Encounter At 37 Hospital
In a gripping account of his last moments with the late president, the Baptist minister recounted the last image of the president at the 37 Military Hospital on Tuesday where he was pronounced dead.
He said he dashed to the hospital as soon as he heard about the tragic news; only to find his good friend slumped lifeless in a bed at the hospital.
He said he initially thought the president was in a coma and was being revived by the doctors at the 37 Military Hospital.
When he realised this was not going to happen, he told Joy FM on Wednesday, he exclaimed, “What has happened, has it got to that?”
“It knocked me off my feet,” he wailed.
He said he pleaded with the doctors to allow him in to see the president. “I went there and I saw my president and my friend lying down there, lifeless. I called him [President Mills] four times, but he wouldn’t respond; he usually calls me Doc or Rev, he never calls me by my name,” the castle chaplain said tearfully.
The news of President Mills’s untimely death devastated the whole country when it broke on Tuesday, July 24, 2012.
Top government officials, politicians and the general public were spotted breaking down amid uncontrollable tears.
Puffy-eyed Central Regional Minister Ama Benyiwa-Doe was captured in an extreme state of grief.
DAILY GUIDE gathered that deputy Information Minister Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa was almost out of control in his wailing.
Nobody expected the president to die so suddenly even though he was widely suspected to be in a critical health condition, allegedly suffering from a terminal disease.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) functionaries would not admit this though, but close associates of the president were certain he was critically ill and needed rest.
Unconfirmed reports stated that he was taken to the hospital in a critical condition, almost dead, with blood oozing from his nose and mouth.
The foreign news wires boldly stated that the president was suffering from malignant throat cancer.
Presidential aides were quite apprehensive of the rumours because according to them, the rumours had no basis, saying the president was in an extremely good health.
Director of Operations at the Castle Nii Lantey Venderpuye, Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa, Director of Communications at the Presidency Koku Anyidoho and a tall list of other government functionaries publicly condemned the news about the president’s ill health.
Former President Jerry Rawlings was unequivocal about the state of health of the President. “It was not unexpected because he’s been battling the cancer for quite a while,” he told a BBC reporter in Congo Brazzaville a day after the demise of President Mills.
“Quite frankly, I think had he (referring to the late president) been advised and done something wiser earlier on, he could probably have survived,” he stated.
“It got too tight. It got extremely tight and the poor professor has passed away.”
TB Joshua Confession
Contrary to what his aides would want Ghanaians to believe, President Mills’s trusted spiritual mentor, Prophet T.B Joshua, was quoted in a Nigerian newspaper a few days after his death that he knew the deceased president was battling with a terminal ailment for a long time, saying the late president was suffering from throat cancer.
According to him, he and his congregation prayed for him all the time. “Of course, I knew he had been ill for some time now and he had come for special prayers concerning his health three times this year and I and my other ministers had prayed fervently for him.
I was so hopeful he would recover his health completely, but it is sad and only God knows best why he should die now,” stated T.B Joshua.