Wreath-laying ceremonies were held across the country yesterday, to mark the first anniversary celebration of the passing away of President John Evans Atta Mills.
President Mills who passed away on July 24, 2012 became Ghana’s first sitting president to die in office.
Tears and grief characterised the events across the country.
From Kumasi, Kwame Asare Boadu reports that the Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Eric Opoku, said in a brief speech at the wreath laying ceremony that the best tribute Ghanaians could pay to the memory of the late President Mills was to keep the peace and unity of the nation intact.
Addressing a gathering at the Cenotaph in Kumasi, Mr Opoku said peace was a pre-requisite for accelerated development and Ghanaians could not downplay its relevance.
Five wreaths were laid at the ceremony which was attended by political leaders in the Ashanti Region, service commanders, traditional rulers and members of the general public.
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The Ashanti Regional minister laid one on behalf of the government and people of the region, the Metropolitan Chief Executive of Kumasi, Mr Kojo Bonsu, laid another on behalf of the metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs), while the Bantamahene, Baafour Asare Owusu Amankwatia, who represented the Asantehene, laid one on behalf of the chiefs and people of Asanteman.
Special prayers were said for the soul of the departed president.
In Tema, the Tema Metropolitan Assembly organised a remembrance service to commemorate the sad event of July 24, 2012, writes Rose Hayford Darko.
The service was attended by politicians, religious leaders representatives of corporate bodies and the traditional authorities.
Preaching the sermon, the Minister in-charge of the Tema Joint Church, Rev Yaw Danso, advised Ghanaians to emulate the peace, selflessness and loving attitude of President Mills.
He urged Ghanaians not to despair but be thankful to God for the life of the late Professor Mills.
The Tema Metropolitan Chief Executive, Mr Kempes Ofosuware, in an address, described the late President as a man of peace.
The Member of Parliament of Tema East, Mr Daniel Titus Glover, paid a glowing tribute to President Mills and expressed the hope that all politicians would learn from his affable nature.
He called on followers of the political parties to accept the verdict of the Supreme Court, no matter the sway.
Wreaths were laid by representatives of various organisations and the traditional authorities .
Vincent Amenuveve reports that in Tamale, some residents trooped to the Jubilee Park to witness the wreath laying ceremony to commemorate the event.
The Northern Regional Minister, Mr Bede Ziedeng, the security services, heads of department, some district chief executives, the clergy, traditional rulers, some regional party executives of the National Democratic Congress and some officials of the Regional Co-ordinating Council attended the solemn ceremony.
Four wreaths were laid on behalf of the government, the late President's family, security services and traditional rulers.
Some residents said they were inspired by the deeds of the late President, for which reason they stated that "Prof Mills will forever remain in our hearts".
From Asesewa, capital of the Upper Manya District in the Eastern Region, A. Kofoya-Tetteh reports that hundreds of people led by the District Chief Executive, Mr Joseph Tetteh Angmor, defied a heavy downpour and congregated at the market square to say prayers to mark the event.
Eulogising the late President Mills, Mr Angmor described him as a man of peace who worked to better the lot of Ghanaians. For this, he urged Ghanaians to emulate his shining example.
On behalf of President John Dramani Mahama, he laid a wreath in memory of the late President.
Others who laid wreaths were a traditional leader, Nene Peter Nyumui, on behalf of chiefs in the area, Mr Ebenezer Kpabitey, Upper Manya NDC Organiser on behalf of the party, Rev Devine Nartey, who did it for the Local Council of Churches and Superintendent Richard Kumeko, Upper Manya Police Commander, for the security services.
In Koforidua, the wreath laying ceremony was held at the Jackson Park, where the Eastern Regional Minister, Ms Helen Adwoa Ntoso joined heads of department, the clergy, party officials and members of the general public for the event, reports Nana Konadu Agyeman.
Wreaths were laid by representatives of the traditional authorities, the Muslim community, the security agencies and the people of the region.
A recorded address of President Mills at the country’s 55th independence anniversary and the state of the nation address he delivered at Parliament, were played back to the gathering.
GNA reports from Takoradi that a wreath laying ceremony to commemorate the first anniversary of President Mills’s demise was held at the Jubilee Park in Takoradi.
While Mr Ebenezer Teye Addo, Western Regional Minister, laid the first wreath on behalf of the nation, Air Commodore Max Nagai, acting Two Garrison Commander, laid the second on behalf of the security forces.
Osagyefo Kwamena Enimil, Vice-President of the Western Regional House of Chiefs, laid one on behalf of the chiefs and people of the region, while Bishop Emmanuel Botwe, General Overseer of the Christian Faith Church, laid another on behalf of the clergy.
Mr Addo asked the people to reflect on the character and achievements of the late President and learn useful lessons that could guide the country’s political life into the future.
“Let us learn to be tolerant enough to respect the views of our opponents in our daily endeavours, particularly those of us who have the opportunity to speak on the media platform,” he urged.
Dr Henry Seidu Daanaa, Minister of Chieftaincy and Culture, and the Deputy Minister of Chieftaincy and Culture, Mr Alexander Ackon, Deputy Regional Minister, Mr Alfred Ekow Gyan, and district chief executives, were among the dignitaries who attended the ceremony.