Akyem Abuakwa launches Sir Ofori-Atta’s 75th anniversary

BY: Naa Lamiley Bentil & Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson
Barima Kwaku Dua (right), Etwienana Hene and Chairman of the Planning Committee, showing a history book of Nana Sir Ofori-Atta to the chiefs and guests at the launch
Barima Kwaku Dua (right), Etwienana Hene and Chairman of the Planning Committee, showing a history book of Nana Sir Ofori-Atta to the chiefs and guests at the launch

In a bid to tell the story of an illustrious king, the Akyem Abuakwa State has launched the 75th anniversary of the demise of Nana Sir Ofori-Atta, whose reign transformed the lives of the people in the Eastern Region and its environs.

The media launch, which took place last Monday, was to announce a series of events lined up to honour the late king.

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The story of the late King, who reigned from 1912 to 1943, according to Okyeman Kanea, Professor Robert Yaw Addo-Fening, was worth telling, as he was instrumental in Ghana’s governance, education, women empowerment, agriculture, among other sectors.

According to him, even though the late Nana Sir Ofori-Atta impacted his generation and beyond, not many people knew about him.

He said it was unfortunate that the late king’s achievements had been relegated to the background in the history of Ghana.


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He debunked allegations that Nana Sir Ofori-Atta had been an elite who did not care about the struggles of the ordinary man.

“He championed the cause of many people, such as farmers, women and children. We must, therefore, celebrate him because a nation that forgets its heroes is not worth dying for,” he said.

Prof. Addo-Fening described the late king as a transformative leader during the colonial period who transformed Akyem Abuakwa into a powerful native state.

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Recounting some of his achievements, he said Nana Sir Ofori-Atta was very passionate about education and ensured that his subjects had access to education.

“Education was very important to him. He passed a law that forced all chiefs under him to educate their heirs and he single-handedly established the Abuakwa State College (ABUSCO) to provide higher education for his people,” he added.

In the area of agriculture, he said the late king was one of the leaders who championed the cause of cocoa farmers on the issue of low prices of cocoa during the colonial period.

“He participated in all the cocoa boycotts that took place during his time and even allowed his chiefs to use his oath in order to enforce the boycott,” he added.

Celebration

The celebration of Nana Sir Ofori-Atta’s life, to be organised by his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, is, therefore, aimed at highlighting the late king's major achievements to honour his memory.

The launch, which took off a little after 10 a.m. at the Ofori Panin Fie at Kyebi, started with a libation, followed by Christian prayers.

On display were extracts from the Kyebi Archives at the Ofori Panin Fie highlighting some of the interactions between the late king and a number of the colonial rulers of the then Gold Coast.

Programme

The month-long celebration seeks to highlight the immense contributions of Nana Sir Ofori-Atta, who has been described as the founder of modern-day Akyem Abuakwa, to the country.

Activities earmarked for the celebration include a memorial lecture to be delivered by Prof. Addo-Fening, who is a historian.

It will be on the theme: “Relaunch of Akyem Abuakwa: 1700-1943 from Ofori Panin to Sir Ofori-Atta”.

Other events include an exhibition, the dedication of a High Court Complex in honour of Nana Sir Ofori-Atta, a football match, gospel and highlife rock shows, among others.

The events will be climaxed with a grand durbar at Kyebi to be hosted by the Okyenhene, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin, with the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, as the special guest of honour.

Launch

Launching the celebration, the Etwienana Hene and Chairman of the Anniversary Planning Committee, Barima Kwaku Dua, said each day of the celebration represented something significant in the life of Nana Sir Ofori-Atta.

He said the celebration would start with a day of mourning on August 17, 2018, during which the people of Akyem Abuakwa would observe the passing of their great leader.

Barima Kwaku Dua described Nana Sir Ofori-Atta as someone who was very passionate about the welfare of Gold Coasters during the colonial period.

“Nana Sir Ofori-Atta championed many causes, such as education and legislative reforms. We must, therefore, celebrate the life of such a great person,” he said.

Nana Sir Ofori-Atta, recognised as one of the most influential rulers of his time, was born on August 11, 1881 and occupied the Akyem Abuakwa Stool for 31 years.

He was the brother of Dr J.B. Danquah, one of the doyens of Ghana’s struggle for independence.

Nana Sir Ofori-Atta was the father of Aaron Ofori-Atta, the Speaker of Parliament during the First Republic, and Mrs Adeline Akufo-Addo, the First Lady during the Second Republic; the grandfather of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the grand uncle of Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin.