Akufo-Addo relaunches book on history of Akyem Abuakwa

BY: Donald Ato Dapatem
President Akufo-Addo presenting a copy of the book to Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin (2nd left), the Okyenhene, after the lecture. Picture: SAMUEL TEI ADANO
President Akufo-Addo presenting a copy of the book to Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin (2nd left), the Okyenhene, after the lecture. Picture: SAMUEL TEI ADANO

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged young historians and writers to help mobilise Ghanaians and the immeasurable resources to address the challenges confronting the country.

He said it was the responsibility of young historians and writers to help establish that the great continuum of Ghanaian history defined the determination of the people to build a civilisation founded on the values of liberty, common humanity and solidarity.

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President Akufo-Addo was speaking at the re-launch of a book titled Akyem Abuakwa, 1700-1943, from Ofori Panin to Sir Ofori Atta, authored by historian Prof. Robert Addo-Fening, as part of the activities marking the 75th anniversary of the death of Nana Sir Ofori Atta I.
In attendance was the Okyenhene, Amoatia Ofori Panin.

The President added that the desirable conclusion of that history must be the mobilisation of resources to address the problems, discarding the mindset of aid dependence, charity and handouts and creating a self reliant and prosperous Ghana that would deal with others on the basis of equality and mutual respect.

History

Delving into history, the President said notwithstanding the massive evidence of 10th century Al-Azhar University in Cairo and 10th century Sankore University in Timbuktu, and their manuscripts, the colonial historians insisted that Africans did not have written history, which was believed by some Africans as well.


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He said they also claimed that because these early writings in Africa were not set out in a chronological framework that meant that Africans provided information on earlier ethnic societies and traditional states.

The President added that others also claimed that at best Africa had just oral tradition as though it could not be the basis for verifiable historical accounts and that even literary works by some famous historians of Ghana dating back to pre-independence were described as such.

President Akufo-Addo said the literary works by historians such as C.C Reindorf in The History of the Gold Coast and Ashanti; John Mensah Sarbah in the Fante Customary Laws; Joseph Casely-Hayford in the Gold Coast Native Institutions; and, J.B. Danquah in the Akan Laws and Customs and others fell into this category.

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He said it was, therefore, incumbent on the new generation of professionally-trained Ghanaian historians of the post-independence era to take up the challenge thrown by their forebears for nearly three centuries.

The President stated that under the direction of Prof. Albert Adu Boahen, during the 1960s and 1970s, a coterie of young, enthusiastic undergraduates of history were offered scholarships to undertake postgraduate studies abroad.

They included K.Y Daaku, the author of the Trade and Politics on the Gold Coast 1620-1720; J.K Fynn, author of the Asante and its Neighbours 1700-1807; Divine Amenumey, author of The Ewe unification movement: a political history; Kofi Afrifah, the author of the Akyem Factor in Ghana’s History; A.A Iliasu, author of The origins of the Mossi-Dagomba States; and Kwamena-Poh, the author of the Government and Politics in the Akuapem State.

President Akufo-Addo said among those who were trained locally, under Prof. Adu Boahen’s supervision, were Francis Agbodeka, the author of the An Economic History of Ghana from the Earliest Times, Irene Korkoi Odotei (neé Quaye), the author of External Influences on Ga Society and Culture, and Prof. Addo-Fening.

Relaunch

President Akufo-Addo said the re-launch of the book published by Prof. Addo-Fening, was the first comprehensive, historical study of the rise and growth of Akyem Abuakwa, originally published in 1997, by the University of Trondheim, in Norway.

He said Prof. Addo-Fening in the book told the story of Akyem Abuakwa from its origins in 17th century Adanse, through its relocation to Banso, on the backside of the Atewa Hill under Nana Ofori Panin, commonly regarded as the founder of the Akyem State, and subsequently to Kyebi, in the valley of the Birim River, after 1727.

He said the book also threw insight into the life of Nana Ofori-Atta, as a traditional ruler, legislator and patriot, among others.

It was a great joy, he said, that Prof. Addo-Fening, who was mentored by Prof. Adu Boahen, was emulating his mentor by mentoring young historians and was, therefore, awaiting to see the publication of an M.Phil thesis, titled Nana Sir Ofori Atta and the Process of Educational Change in the Gold Coast (1912-1943), written by Frank Afari, who received supervision from Prof. Addo-Fening.

Prof. Fening

Tracing the history and the work of Amantiremanmienu, Nana Sir Ofori Atta, in a lecture, Prof. Addo-Fening stated that the late Chief considered education as a great tool for development and ensured that all royals were educated.

The late chief, who was knighted in England, contributed cash to the British government for the purchase of the aircraft to defeat the enemies during the First World War.

As a beneficiary of the scholarship by the late chief, Prof. Addo-Fening asked that 40 per cent of the proceeds of the sale of the book be channelled into an education fund for others to benefit.

Chairman

The Chairman of the Council of State, Nana Otuo Siriboe, who is also the Omanhene of Juaben Traditional Area, extolled the virtues of Nana Sir Ofori Atta and said he supported the establishment of the Asante Confederacy.

He said President Akufo-Addo had in his DNA the determination of his great grandfather, Nana Sir Ofori Atta, to ensure that almost all the people within their jurisdiction and beyond benefited from quality and access to free education.