Dr Rawlings described Justice Atuguba as “the man of the decade”, saying he was not commending him because of the outcome of the court case but rather for his character; discipline and fearlessness, which helped to stamp the authority of the judiciary.
He was speaking moments after receiving an honourary Doctorate Degree (Doctor of Letters) conferred on him by the University for Development Studies (UDS) in Tamale on Saturday in recognition of his instrumental contribution towards the founding and establishment of UDS in 1992.
A citation in support of the award said,"Whiles others said it was unnecessary and a waste of resources at the time to set up another public university, you were not discouraged but pushed on and ensured that UDS came into being."
The event was witnessed by President John Mahama, Ministers of State, members of the academia, chiefs from northern Ghana and the Ashanti Region, amongst other dignitaries
Dr Rawlings said the character and discipline of Justice Atuguba had left a remarkable mark that Ghanaians must emulate to guide them in all their dealings.
He said Ghana needed strong people like Justice Atuguba to man her institutions to ensure development.
He said the judiciary in the past failed to extricate itself from politicians but the current dispensation showed that the country was on sound-footing.
Dr Rawlings also commended President John Mahama and Nana Akufo-Addo, 2012 Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party for the statesmanly manner they reacted to the final ruling of the Supreme Court on the election petition case on August 29, 2013.
He entreated the Chief Justice to reflect on issues of corruption in the judiciary, as well as the rulings of the courts in cases about judgment debt, to protect the interest of the state.