Ghanaian parliament has summoned an emergency meeting as the nation’s Pressident, John Attah Mills has been declared dead following a short admission in hospital.
The State run Media interrupted programmes to announce intermittently that Atta Mills,, who has promised series of plan for economic transformation died on Tuesday afternoon.
Mills celebrated his 68th birthday Saturday.
He has been serving as president as Ghana began grappling with how to deal with its newfound oil wealth from offshore fields, discovered in the last five years.
“The country, whose economy has been fueled by gold, cocoa and timber exports in the past, hopes to put the oil money to good use, mindful of how nearby Nigeria suffered through military dictatorships and widespread corruption over its oil wealth”, the Associated Press reported.
Atta Mills traveled to the United States in March and met for a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House. He also traveled to the U.S. in April as well, as rumors about his health began to circulate Ghana.
A government official in neighboring Ivory Coast said that he saw Atta Mills around six months ago in Ethiopia during an African Union meeting.
“We are hearing that he died of cancer of the throat. I saw him in Addis Ababa — not this meeting, but the one maybe six months ago,” said the official, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press. “He was walking slowly. I am surprised to learn that he is only 68. He looked much older.”
Still, the official said that no one suspected that he was gravely ill. “Yes, his death is a surprise — it’s six months before the election, and he was a candidate.”
Opposition newspapers had recently reported that he was not well enough to run for a second term.
President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria on Tuesday condoled with the government and people of Ghana over the sudden death.
In a press statement signed by the Special Adviser to the president of Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, Mr Jonathan said he “received with shock and immense sadness news of the sudden death of President John Atta Mills of Ghana.”
The statement said that Mr Jonathan on behalf of himself, the government and people of Nigeria, “extends sincere condolences to late President Mill’s family as well as the government and people of Ghana.
“The President assures the people of Ghana of the sympathy and solidarity of the people of Nigeria as they mourn late President Mills who did his best during his tenure to carry forward the process of democratic consolidation and socio-economic development in Ghana.”
Mr Jonathan said that he expects that “the excellent relationship which existed between Nigeria and Ghana during President Mill’s tenure will continue to be strengthened under the new leadership in Ghana in the mutual interest of both countries.”
A statement from the Ghanian president’s office on Tuesday announced the death of President Mills
Mills died at the age of 68, a few hours after he fell ill and was rushed to a Military Hospital.
Chief of Staff John Henry Martey Newman told the nation that Atta Mills had died Tuesday afternoon at the 37th Military Hospital in Accra but gave no details about the cause.
“It is with a heavy heart and deep sorrow that we announce the sudden and untimely death of the president of the Republic of Ghana,” Newman said.
Information Minister Fritz Baffour later confirmed that Atta Mills had died but also declined to comment further.
Louis Agbo, a university student in Accra, said the television stations interrupted regular programming to announce Atta Mills’ death and he was shocked by the news.
“I could not even shout or cry,” Agbo said. “I rushed outside and saw people crying and wailing on the street.”
The nation stood by for a speech by Vice President John Mahama, who will become president under the nation’s laws.
Sources: AP, Washington Post, Channelsnewstv