Finally, the debate on where to permanently situate the seat of government of Ghana is about to be brought to a closure following the 'All-Clear' order from the National Security.
Feverish preparations are currently underway for the President, John Dramani Mahama to move his office as well as that of his vice and all supporting staff from the Osu Castle to the Flagstaff House, formerly re-christened Jubilee House by the erstwhile Kufuor administration.
This is however, subject to the conclusion of the burial and final funeral rites of his departed former boss, President John Evans Atta Mills and the completion of some residual (finishing touches) works at the facility.
At age 68, president John Evans Atta Mills died on Tuesday the 24th July this year at the 37 Military Hospital, after he was rushed there after a sudden heart attack.
Contrary to all speculations including one from the founder of his party, the NDC and former president, Jerry John Rawlings that he may have died of cancer, autopsy report gleaned by this paper indicates otherwise.
An insider source told The Al-Hajj that President John Mahama and his yet-to-be named vice, are expected to move into the Jubilee House as soon as the funeral rites of president Mills is over and the remaining extra works accomplished.
According to this source, prior to his sad and unexpected demise, it was the intention of late president Mills to move into the nearly US$100 million edifice put up by his predecessor, President John Agyekum Kufuor, following an all-clear order from the National Security apparatus.
Hitherto, President Mills refused to yield to pressures, especially from the opposition NPP to relocate the seat of government from the Osu Castle to the Flagstaff House, citing security reasons.
Speaking on Radio Gold's Monthly Breakfast Series hosted by Alhassan Sunyini in December 2011, president Mills insisted and assured the nation that he will only move into Flagstaff House as soon as National Security gives him the all-clear order.
“When I get signal from the security I'll move. The very day I get the signal I'll move in there (Flagstaff House). ” President Mills told Sunyini.
National Security Coordinator, Col Larry Gbevlo-Lartey has been on record to have said that moving the presidency to the Flagstaff House could pose serious security threats to the president.
Col. Larry Gbevlo-Lartey criticized ex-president Kufuor for failing to do proper security checks and consultations before building the presidential palace.
“The supposed palace does not meet the security and safety requirements for occupation by a President of Ghana.” Larry Gbevlo-Lartey told The Herald in an exclusive interview in mid-August 2011.
According to the security capo, when Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah used the Flagstaff House as his residence and office, the place was well structured and laid out as part of a complete presidential security enclave.
This, he said, included the flats opposite the Flagstaff House which were used as accommodation by the guards as well as Senior Non-Commissioned Officers of the military and police service (NCOs) as accommodation which covered the open flanks.
Col. (Rtd) Gbevlo-Lartey insisted that “President Mills would not move into the Flagstaff House today or tomorrow, until the security and safety concerns are addressed”.
He told The Herald that work was in progress to address the shortcomings, but declined further elaboration.
Minister of Water Resources Works and Housing recently told Parliament that the National Democratic Government (NDC) government has since taking over power spent a total of GHc 121,443.71 on renovation and maintenance works on the Flagstaff House.
Meanwhile, media reports last week quoted Communications Minister, Haruna Iddrisu as saying President John Mahama and government has decided that the late President J.E.A Mills should be buried at the Flagstaff House.
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu is also said to have revealed that President John Mahama has taken a firm decision which would see to it that portions of the Flagstaff House is developed into a National Heroes Park, dedicated as the final resting place of Heads of State and other high- ranking officials of the country.