Although filing past the body of the late President of Ghana, John Evans Atta Mills was closed to the public some minutes after 6pm Wednesday, what could have compelled multitude of mourners to continue trooping to the State House where his body was laid in state?
It’s without gainsay that the night of the former President’s first three days on earth –after a tearful daylong funeral – was a memorable one to behold.
A mixbag of different cultural displays drawn from across the breadth and length of the country, interspersed with poems and tributes, overshadowed the sobs and put smiles back on the faces of many Ghanaians after several hours of mourning in the day.
The forecourt of the State House, yes, was a place to be on Wednesday night as Ghana and the world pay their last respects to the man whose well-lived life earned him the enviable accolade, Asomdwehene (King of Peace), whose sad and sudden event occurred at the 37 Military Hospital on 24th July 2012 in Accra.
Performance by Six Fontomfrom heralded the evening’s programme which started at dusk.
The night was made short by performances from the National Dance Company of Ghana, Ghana Dance Ensemble, Abodzen Etse Gome Group and a host of others. Of course, the National Symphony Orchestra and Noyam Dance Institute were also at hand to entertain the audience.
But when all thought the Wolomei from the Greater Accra region had carried the day with their short but captivating Kpanlogo performance; heavens descended, and it was the Delali Borborbor Group from the Volta Region who stole the show at about 11:10pm – getting everybody, including dignitaries, on their feet to dance to their contagious Borborbor display.
Nevertheless, the event of mourning was not lost on patrons as Nii Alabi Bortey – with his over 30 years marriage to the flute (atenteben) – played tunes from popular Ghanaian dirges in-between performances.
Even though the big shots in the political circles were missing on the night, a few ministers of state and NDC stalwarts like Elvis Afriyie Ankrah and Johnson Asiedu Nketiah defiled the chilling weather to be part of the occasion.
A few minutes past 12am on Thursday, the previous day’s event officially came to an end with every show, now, resting on the Atsiavi Group from the Volta Region who welcomed the morning with their Kinka and Agbadza performances.
The night of day 2 promises to be more exciting and entertaining, if what emcees David Dontoh and Dzifa Gomashie told the teeming crowd materialised.
Day two would be an all gospel night. Artistes including Cecilia Marfo, Tagoe Sisters, Hannah Marfo, Winneba Youth Choir and Tema Youth Choir have been billed to perform on the night till day break.
Meanwhile, Ghanaians and other well-wishers kept vigil in all the regional capitals in honour of President Mills. The vigils, organized by the regional coordinating councils saw candles been lit and tributes read in honor of the Third President of the 4th Republic.