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Rev. Dr Abraham N. O. Kwakye (left), Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, laying a wreath on behalf of the Okyenhene on the tomb of Dr J. B. Danquah. With him are President Akufo-Addo (arrowed); Amoatia Ofori Panin (4th from  right), the Okyenhene; Nana Adutwumwaa Dokua (3rd from right), and Ken Ofori-Atta (right), Minister of Finance
Rev. Dr Abraham N. O. Kwakye (left), Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, laying a wreath on behalf of the Okyenhene on the tomb of Dr J. B. Danquah. With him are President Akufo-Addo (arrowed); Amoatia Ofori Panin (4th from right), the Okyenhene; Nana Adutwumwaa Dokua (3rd from right), and Ken Ofori-Atta (right), Minister of Finance

Remembrance Service for J.B. Danquah held at Kyebi

A remembrance Service in honour of Dr Joseph Boakye Danquah (JB), one of the founding fathers of Ghana’s independence, was yesterday held at Kyebi in the Eastern Region, 59 years after his passing. 

The event, which was held at the Ebenezer Presbyterian Church of Ghana, formed part of activities earmarked to give a befitting burial to the statesman who passed away on February 4, 1965, aged 70.

Dr Danquah was arrested on January 8, 1964, for his alleged involvement in an attempted assassination of Ghana’s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, at the Flagstaff House in Accra.

He was subsequently detained at the Nsawam Maximum Security Prison where he died of a heart attack on February 4, 1965.

Dr Danquah was said to have been buried on Saturday, February 6, 1965, two days after he died, without any befitting burial. 

Event

The all-black-and-white attire event, which was held under the auspices of the Okyenhene, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin, formed part of activities to commemorate Dr Danquah’s passing and the organisation of a fitting burial service for him.

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In attendance was the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia; a former Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye; the Okyenhemaa, Nana Adutwumwaa Dokua, ministers of state and members of Parliament.

Others were traditional rulers, the clergy, including the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rt. Rev. Dr Abraham N. O. Kwakye, who presided over the event, families of Dr Danquah, Paa Grant, Oko Adjei, Obetsebi-Lamptey, some of the founding fathers of Ghana’s political independence and the general public.

Dr Mahamudu Bawumia signing the Book of Condolence

Dr Mahamudu Bawumia signing the Book of Condolence

In 2017, the government decided to honour the founding fathers referred to as the “Big Six” by legislating that August 4 every year should be observed as a national holiday.

Tributes

Tributes were read in memory of Dr Danquah by President Akufo-Addo, the Okyenhene and one of Dr Danquah’s children, Iris Adubea Danquah, while the Member of Parliament for Akyem Abuakwa South, Samuel Atta Akyea, read one on behalf of the President of the Ghana Bar Association.

Tributes were also read on behalf of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences and the New Patriotic Party.

Contribution to national development

In a tribute read on his behalf, the Okyenhene said the contribution of Dr Danquah to the consolidation of Okyeman, Akan cultural heritage, the independence struggle of the country, the defence of democracy and the struggles against authoritarian and arbitrariness had a unique place in the history of the country.

He said under the imprimatur orders of the CPP leadership, Dr Danquah was arrested and detained at the Nsawam Prisons, where he suffered from high blood pressure and asthma in a cell where he could neither stand nor walk.

“He was fed on poor rations and endured other forms of inhumane treatment till the day he collapsed and died.”

“The circumstance under which he was buried has meant that for 59 years, Dr J. B. Danquah was denied his human rights and dignity and the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Area was prevented from paying its last most sacred rites to mark the passage of its son,”  Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin said.

“As time is the great healer of wounds, the functionaries of the Nkrumah-led CPP and their assignees can and should be forgiven.

“We must be inspired and strengthened by the spirit of Danquah as we pledge today in this church that all of us must look to a brighter future guided by a vision of hope, tolerance and reverence for the opinions, lives and dignity of all persons irrespective of their political views,” he said.

The Okyenhene further said that Dr Danquah was the epitome of the respect of human dignity.

Forgiveness

In a sermon, Rev. Dr Kwakye called on close family members of Dr J. B. Danquah as well as members of the Akyem Abuakwa State and those associated with the late statesman to forgive those who perpetrated “evil against him”.

He said after all, those who directly or indirectly participated in the final event that led to Dr Danquah’s death 59 years ago “no longer live with us”.

“I, therefore, pray that members of his close family, members of the Akyem Abuakwa State and members of his party that adore his principles and all those associated with Danquah would take this opportunity to forgive the perpetrators of the evil against him,” Rev. Kwakye added.

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