The John Evans Atta Mills Presidential Library, a memorial and research facility that immortalises the late President Mills, was inaugurated by President John Dramani Mahama yesterday at Cape Coast in the Central Region to mark the fourth anniversary of his passing.
As the first presidential library in Ghana, the memorial facility has a 100-capacity auditorium, 45-seater multi-media centre, seminar rooms and a museum that holds historical materials that reflect the life and works of the late President.
The two-storey edifice, situated opposite the Cape Coast Castle in his home region, also has a virtual sound room that echoes the voice of Prof. Atta Mills in his memorable speeches and images that bring to life his sojourn as a celebrated academic, a keen sportsman, a humble politician, a devout Christian, a servant, leader, a President and a peace loving Ghanaian.
Although not a typical book library, it will preserve and make available the papers, records, collections and historical materials of the late President Mills and other prominent African intellectuals and political leaders.
President Mahama inaugurating the facility, said nothing better immortalises the late President than such a library to promote research and academic work.
Recalling memories of the late President, President Mahama described his deceased boss as a “patriot, tolerant, humble, peace-loving, loyal, devout Christian, father-for-all and calm leader.”
According to him, the high level of tolerance and humility exhibited by the late President were attributes that Ghanaians, particularly political leaders needed.
For him, he said, those attributes have helped him to effectively executive his mandate of serving the country for the past years, and asked others to do same.
Commenting on the unique location of the building, President Mahama said while the Cape Coast Castle reflects the story of slavery, the library tells a story of an emancipated Ghana and the efforts of a leader to transform the nation.
Apart from academic benefits, he believed the presidential library would help to enhance tourism in the region, and called for its effective maintenance.
He thanked the Oguaa Traditional Council for releasing the land for the project, and commended the members of the Ghana Telecoms Chamber, particularly Airtel, Tigo and Vodafone for supporting the project.
The facility will be managed by the University of Cape Coast Libraries, and its research events would be coordinated by the university’s Faculty of Arts with support from the Directorate of Research Innovation and Consultancy of UCC.
Osabarima Kwesi Atta II, Paramount Chief of Oguaa Traditional Area, who chaired the ceremony, described the library as a “befitting tribute” to late the President Mills who cherished education.
Professor Domwini Kuupole, Vice Chancellor of UCC, in his address, expressed delight about the project, and hoped it was the beginning of the presidential libraries system in Ghana.
He cited other countries where such libraries were used to preserve the legacy and records of leaders for present and future generations to draw lessons, and urged Ghanaians, particularly teachers and students to make use of the facility.
Regarding the management of the library, he proposed the establishment of a foundation to coordinate public support towards the work and sustenance of the facility since government alone cannot provide sufficient resources in that regard.
The ceremony was attended by a large number of government officials, Members of Parliament, politicians from various parties, academicians, members of the Diplomatic Corps, traditional leaders and family members.
It was graced by the former President of Malawi, Joyce Hilda Banda.
The late President Mills, the first sitting Head of State to have died, passed on July 24, 2012.
From Edmund Mingle, Cape Coast