[Nigeria Report] “Former president’s death could have been avoided”

Late President Jerry Rawlings Mills (photo: NAN)

Former Ghanaian President Jerry Rawlings has said that President John Mills’ death could have been avoided, the News agency of Nigeria reported.

Rawlings said he was shocked about the death, but not surprised adding that, “he’s been battling the cancer for quite a while.

Speaking from Congo Brazzaville where he and his wife, Nana, are participating in activities marking the formal launch of Forbes Africa, at the invitation of President Denis Sassou N’Guesso, Rawlings said, “It was quite a shock to my wife and I but it was not unexpected because he’s been battling the cancer for quite a while.

“This is certainly the wrong time for him to go considering that we have elections around the corner in December.”

“Quite frankly, I think had he been advised and done something wiser earlier on, he could probably have survived for another six, seven months I guess, but he got too tight, he got extremely tight and the poor professor passed away.”

Rawlings added, “He’s played his part, as my Vice- President I think he was one of the finest, he was indeed one of the finest, but there again considering that the cancer affected both his eye and his ear, and he couldn’t sustain more than three hours per day.

“So he was naturally going to affect his performance and that’s why I think he would have done just as well or even better. The only unfortunate thing is that some of the cold-blooded killings that took place before we came into office could not be re-investigated. I would have wished he had really done that.

“Let’s see what can be done with the time that is left.”

Asked about what he thought about the current President, John Mahama, former President Rawlings said, “I don’t know but I hope so.”

Meanwhile, the Ghanaian government has announced one week of mourning the death of the late President.

Consul-General of Ghana High Commission Alhaji Abdulai Abukari, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Wednesday that the one week of mourning will run betweeen July 30 and August 2.

The Consul-General said though the late president had been battling with health problems, the news of his death came as a shock to the Ghanaian community and friends.

Many notable African leaders have been condoling Ghana and the family of the deceased. One of such is Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Olugbenga Ashiru, who condoled with the people and government of Ghana over Mills’ death

He said, “President Mills was selfless in serving his people and unswerving in sustaining democracy in Ghana, Nigerians mourn with our brothers and sisters in Ghana.

“His sudden death is a great loss not just to Ghana but to Africa, we shall miss his wise counsel in both ECOWAS and the AU.”

Ashiru assured the people and government of Ghana that Nigeria would work closely with Mills successor.

Also, the ECOWAS Commission said that Mills’ death has “robbed the region of a voice of wisdom”.

This was contained in a statement issued by the commission on Wednesday in Abuja, Nigeria.

The statement described Atta Mills as one who “enriched the discussions of the affairs of ECOWAS,” adding that the news of his death came as a shock.

It urged the government and people of Ghana to “rise to the challenge of the late President’s death and defend the values that he represented

Uwalaka Temple U.B Intern Reporter news@theasian.asia

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