President John Dramani Mahama yesterday inaugurated the John Evans Atta Mills Presidential Library, a memorial and research facility, in Cape Coast.
The Presidential Library, which is affiliated to the University of Cape Coast, was built to immortalise the memory of the late President of Ghana, Prof. John Evans Atta Mills. It will make available to both researchers and the general public records, books and other materials for their use.
In a speech before the commissioning, the President said though a lot of facilities and monuments have been named after the late president but “nothing immortalises him better than naming this Library after him”. He described the late Prof. Mills as a man of faith, one who had a great sense of loyalty but would be best remembered as a president and a politician who never betrayed his friends and also minded his “own business”.
President Mahama indicated that the proximity of the library to the castle was symbolic with “the later signifying slavery and the former representing emancipation”. He urged government and other officials to show keen interest in the running of the facility in order to achieve the purpose for which it was established.
Osaberima Kwesi Atta II, the Paramount Chief of the Ogua Traditional Area, who chaired the ceremony, described the library as a “befitting tribute” to the late President Mills who cherished education.
The Vice-Chancellor of the UCC, Professor Domwini Kuupole, expressed delight in the project and said he was hopeful that it marked the beginning of the presidential libraries system in Ghana.
He cited 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.
On the management of the library, Prof. Kuupole proposed the establishment of a foundation to co-ordinate public support towards the work and sustenance of the facility, since the government alone could not provide sufficient resources in that regard.
The Minister for Education, Prof. Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang, said the decision to site the presidential library in Cape Coast was without prejudice rather it was to prolong the legacy of the late president. She thanked all who contributed in diverse ways and means to turn the “Dreams of all conspirators of the project” into reality”.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast, Prof. D. D. Kuupole in an address said there was evidence that elsewhere, Presidential Libraries have been quite successful in preserving papers of Presidents, and by so doing, place these materials under public ownership and control making them available for research. Thus, as the first of its kind in the country to immortalise the name of late Prof. Mills, the edifice should not only serve as an educational and informational destination of choice but also complement the tourist attraction in the region.
The Vice-Chancellor urged management of the library to intensify the outreach activities in order to make the facility relevant to society by not restricting it to researchers only, rather they should seek partnership with both national and international institutions through the programmes that they would put in place to attract scholars from within and outside the country.