Founder and President of the Atta Mills Institute, Samuel Koku Anyidoho has recounted how it came to be that late former President Rawlings selected late President John Evans Atta Mills to become his running mate in the 1996 General Elections.

According to Anyidoho, Rawlings had once recounted to him and the leadership of the NDC Youth Forum on a visit to his home in 2001 how he had chosen John Evans Atta Mills to be his running mate.

He said President Rawlings had held John Evans Atta Mills in very high esteem following a brief encounter with the latter in circa 1991.

Narrating Rawlings’ account of what happened, Rawlings had directed Dr. Kwesi Botchway, then Finance Minister, to grant a Lebanese friend of his some tax concessions.

However, a year after the directive was given; the tax concession had not been granted.

This had infuriated Rawlings, who called the Finance Minister to his office to demand an explanation.

“The Finance Minister said it’s not him, but it’s that Professor at the IRS who happened to be John Evans Atta Mills who was refusing to grant the tax concession or whatever it was. This is Rawlings telling us the story,” Anyidoho said.

“So he asked his Finance Minister, Dr. Botchway to bring him President Mills. They came to the Castle and this is Rawlings telling us that he did everything to attempt to intimidate this man but he won’t budge.

“And that his whole life, when he engages you eyeball to [eye] ball, he President Rawlings, you’d have to disengage. But for the first time in his life this Professor engaged him till he Jerry Rawlings had to disengage,” he said.

Thus, in 1996 when John Evans Atta Mills’ name came up as a candidate for the Vice President position, Rawlings had readily picked him.

“He was like ‘that man who made me disengage? He’s a man of integrity’ long and short,” he said.

Koku Anyidoho added that President Rawlings had then charged them to ensure the John Evans Atta Mills lead the party in the next General Elections.

According to Anyidoho, after Rawlings’ narration and subsequently John Evans Atta Mills’ invitation to serve him as his Communication Director he dedicated his life in service to the Professor.

“President Rawlings kept telling us that that man whom he made his Vice President in 1996, who led us in 2000, who is in Canada, we should make sure that anything we can do to get him back to lead the NDC we should do it because the man was a good man. This was in 2001, he recounted.