In an apparent response to the fact that he was sidelined at the state funeral of President John Evans Atta Mills on Friday, resulting in his inability to lay a wreath on his father’s grave and even read a tribute, Samuel Kofi Atta Mills last Saturday organized a ‘befitting’ funeral for his late father.
The deceased president’s only known offspring hosted many invitees at his Roman Ridge official bungalow, a few meters away from Medlab in Accra.
The guest list was significantly devoid of any government or National Democratic Congress (NDC) official, but had such personalities as family members of his deceased father, mother and friends.
Also in attendance were the chairman of the People’s National Convention (PNC) Alhaji Ahmed Ramadan, who was a neighbour of Mills’s son’s grandfather at Abeka La Paz in Accra and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Adenta chairman, Nana Obiri Yeboah, an uncle to him.
The funeral party he organized, according to him, was to have friends and family members join him in celebrating the life of his late father.
The tribute to his father, which he could not read at the final funeral rites on Friday, even after rehearsing it with State Protocol officials for days, was read at the Saturday funeral service by his friend.
The tribute highlighted the usual nice things bereaved sons would say about their fathers.
A friend who introduced the reader of the tribute on his behalf said Samuel Kofi Atta Mills was unable to read the tribute at the state funeral out of deference to his stepmother, Mrs. Ernestina Naadu Mills.
Sources claimed that the young Mills was stopped from reading his tribute at the last minute despite assurances, because of certain concerns raised by Naadu.
The explanation got the guests wondering how not reading the tribute constituted respect to the widow, his stepmother.
DAILY GUIDE learnt about how the widow insisted on not having her stepson read a tribute or even lay a wreath on his father’s grave, which was why he did not play any significant role at the service and had to replicate some of the funeral procedures at his government bungalow last Saturday in the midst of friends, family members and well wishers.
The tribute titled, “My Dad, My Teacher, My Friend” read in part, “I remember when I was a young boy, when I used to call my father, ‘Uncle Fiifi’, because everyone called him by that name. Dad brought me up with Christian values. He was a family man with strict principles.
Though he did not talk much, one look or wink from him made one learn from one’s mistakes……You taught me to be content with what God has provided.
Even when you became President you showed by word and example, that it is possible to hold political office without being corrupt.
As a son, it was a joy joining you on the campaign trail…. But Dad, I promise by God’s grace to live a life that will bring honour to you and the legacy you have left for me and the whole nation. Dad, I know we shall meet again in heaven.
Till then, I say good friend, mentor, teacher and father, rest in perfect peace.”
Even as the Roman Ridge funeral went on, a friend of the bereaved young man said the wreath which he could not lay on the grave of his father was resting in his room unutilized.
Some cousins of his demanded P-Square’s Akon-featured song, ‘Chop My Money’ to which they danced merrily.
DAILY GUIDE learnt about how the initial arrangements for the funeral had Samuel Kofi Mills incorporated in the scheme of things, until his name was expunged from the programme unceremoniously.
Earlier, Samuel Mills was invited by the National Security apparatus from where he was moved to the State Protocol Department for a rehearsal about his roles during the elaborately laid-out funeral programme.
On the D-day last Friday, however, the young man stood there watching the various items being played out. At the graveside, he did not stand with his step-mother in the front row but rather between President John Mahama and Mrs. Mary Grant.
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