Senior minister Yaw Osafo Maafo has testified to late President John Evans Atta Mills as a man of conviction.
The minister at the 5th memorial lecture to commemorate the passing of the late president remembered his student days with Mills at Achimota School where he taught his friend Maths while Mills taught him Latin.
He said Mills’ entry into politics came as a surprise to most people including him because even in school Mills would not go so far as to even vote in student elections.
“None of us thought he would get into politics. There was nothing political about Fiifi”, the former Akim Oda MP said.
But Prof. Mills, then Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service was handpicked by President Jerry John Rawlings to become Vice-President in 1996 after Kow Nkensen Arkaah resigned.
Prof. Mills contested in the presidential elections in 2000 and lost, suffered a same fate in 2004 but was triumphant in 2008. He served for three years and died while in office on 24 July 2012 three days after his 68th birthday.
Commemorating his life, Yaw Osafo Maafo fondly remembered that his friend was a man of conviction.
Prof. Evans Atta Mills was not afraid to publicly state that he would make Yaw Osafo Maafo his Finance minister if he won the 2004 presidential elections. Osafo Maafo was then serving as President Kufuor’s Finance minister in the NPP government.
He said he tried to talk to Mills to avoid using such a rhetoric because it may create disaffection for him within his party.
The former Finance minister Osafo Maafo acknowledged Prof. Mills deep knowledge of taxation and said he followed Mills’ policies he put in place when his political rival was the Commissioner at IRS from 1988 to 1996.