President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan will travel to Accra, Ghana today as the head of Nigeria’s official delegation to the burial of late President John Atta Mills who passed away on the 24th of July, 2012.
The funeral service and burial will also be attended by a list of foreign dignitaries, including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The President will return to Abuja on Friday.
Meanwhile Mills’ coffin was placed Thursday in a banquet hall at the parliamentary complex in the capital Accra with flowers in Ghana’s national colours — red, yellow and green.
New President John Dramani Mahama, who had been Mills’ vice president, was among a line of officials who visited to pay tribute.
Opposition presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo, who was to face Mills in the December vote, and former president John Kufuor, both dressed in black traditional robes, also paid their final respects.
Former president Jerry Rawlings, who stirred controversy with comments about cancer hampering Mill’s job performance, also joined the mourners.
The two men had been rivals recently despite Mills previously serving as Rawlings’ vice president.
More than 1,000 others waited in line to view the casket, which will remain in place for viewing through Thursday.
“His death is a great loss that will be difficult to replace,” said George Jubo, a Methodist reverend who was waiting to pay his last respects. “A man of peace is gone.”
Tributes are expected on both Wednesday and Thursday evenings, including music and speeches.
Some 16 heads of state in addition to other foreign dignitaries, including Clinton, are expected at Friday’s burial service, according to the chairman of the funeral committee Kofi Totobi-Quakyi. Clinton is currently on an African tour.
Mills, the first Ghanaian president to die in office, is to be buried on the grounds of the seat of government at Osu Castle in Accra.
The seaside capital is awash with tributes to Mills, who was widely praised for his integrity, including billboards saying “we shall always remember you.”
Residents wore black and red bands and scarfs as symbols of their grief.
“The outpourings of emotions on the death of our president show that we Ghanaians are united in our collective sense of loss,” Totobi-Quakyie said.