Mr Yayi Boni, Chairman of the African Union and President of the Republic of Benin, yesterday led a high-powered delegation from that country to commiserate with government and people of Ghana, following the death of President John Atta Mills.
Speaking in a dual capacity as Chairman of the AU and President of Benin, Mr Boni described the demise of President Mills as a great loss, not only to Ghana but to Africa as a whole. “The whole of Africa and the people of Benin offer their deep and sincere condolences,” recalling that the views and opinions of the late President Mills was always taken very seriously during AU and other regional meetings.
He told President John Dramani Mahama and government officials that had gathered at the Credentials Hall of the Castle that the best way to honour the departed leader was to carry on with his ideals and achievements.
In that way, the AU Chairman said, Ghana would be able to consolidate its riches and improve on the standards of living of its people.
The Beninois President described Ghana as a model of political stability, economic progress, social peace and security, which had made her the toast of the international community.
“Your country Ghana was one of the pioneers of Pan-Africanism, spearheaded by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, who still remains the pride of Africa,” President Boni stated.
The AU Chairman implored President Mahama to also carry on with the work started by Pan-Africanist Dr. Nkrumah by helping to deepen regional integration.
President Mahama said the unfortunate incident came as a shock to the continent and the rest of the world as witnessed in the numerous expression of condolences and solidarity to the government and the people of Ghana.
He informed his guests that a committee was working feverishly in connection with the state funeral and added that the foreign embassies would soon be duly notified of the date and other arrangements of the funeral. “We take consolation in the sympathy we receive from the international community and your country-Benin,” he told President Boni, stressing that “With this heavy responsibility, I can count on your good counsel and advice since you have the experience.”
President Mahama said Ghana and Benin share close cultural and historical relations and share common democratic values. “We will take his death as a signal for our two countries to push for closer relations and regional integration.”
“Ghana will continue to play the role as a leading voice in the Pan-Africanist struggle and to be a leading voice on the continent,” Mr Mahama assured the delegation.