He already fittingly has a landmark, or building, on the sprawling campus of Ghana’s flagship academy, to wit, the University of Ghana, named after him, as it ought to. So, the decision by President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to rename the newly established University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR), located in the late former Prime Minister’s home region of Bono after the latter, was decidedly a proverbial icing on the cake in the laudable recognition of the enormous achievements and contributions of Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia (1913-1978), the Oxbridge-educated first Ghanaian citizen to be named Professor at the University of Ghana, Legon, to the progress and development of the country (See “Akufo-Addo Says University of Energy Will Be Renamed After Dr. Busia” Modernghana.com 8/10/19).
But, of course, long before Dr. Busia was named Professor of Sociology at the University of Ghana, there were equally distinguished Ghanaian citizens who had done much of the more heavy-lifting work of fiercely fighting for the establishment of the country’s first modern degree-awarding tertiary academy. Foremost among the names on the list of such pioneer advocates was, of course, Dr. Joseph (Kwame Kyeretwie) Boakye Danquah, globally acclaimed in both his own time and our time as the “Doyen of Gold Coast and Modern Ghanaian Politics,” by the 1948 Watson Commission, the blue-ribbon panel that was established by the British colonial government to enquire into the chaotic events that led to the widespread disturbances in the then Gold Coast Colony, that have been credited with expediting the seismic push for the granting of sovereignty to the then Gold Coasters by the British colonial administrators.
Actually, it was the British Crown and the key operatives of the British Parliament that signed onto the Independence Project for Ghana. The future Prime Minister Kofi Abrefa Busia, for the instructive information of Nana Frema Busia, was still a young rising star in Ghana’s political firmament, with his most significant achievements and national contributions well in front of him. Together with the equally distinguished future diplomat, Mr. AL Adu, the then Mr. Busia had been named the first indigenous Ghanaian District Commissioner. On the preceding count must be clearly observed the fact that it was by his own deliberate and, in retrospect, savvy decisions that Dr. Danquah had chosen not to become the immediate and direct successor of Dr. James Emmanuel Kwegyir Aggrey, unarguably the greatest Ghanaian philosopher-educator in the pre-Nkrumah era of the first-half of the twentieth century.
It goes without saying that the 20-year period between 1929, when Dr. Danquah founded the intellectually, culturally and politically seminal Gold Coast Youth Conference (GCYC), and 1951, when Mr. Kwame Nkrumah officially assumed the mantle of leadership of the transitional and semi-autonomous Colony of the Gold Coast, soon to be renamed Ghana within a half-dozen years, the leadership prominence of Dr. Danquah was decidedly without contest. We should also not lose sight of the fact that anybody living today who self-identifies as “Ghanaian,” which is some 32 million people, has the scholastic erudition of Dr. Danquah to thank. To be certain, even if all he had done was contribute the renaming of the erstwhile Gold Coast as Ghana, Dr. Danquah would have been more than qualified to have the University of Ghana or any other national landmark or monument, for that matter, named in his honor.
The fact of the matter is that as members of the legendary Big Six – and I would be the first to own up to the fact that the list ought to have long been expanded to include the equally distinguished likes of Mr. Alfred George “Paa” Grant, and a handful of others as well – it goes without saying that when it comes to the subject of Ghana’s Independence Struggle, Dr. Danquah and Mr. Nkrumah have absolutely no coequal in Dr. Busia; and it is quite certain that the much younger Dr. Busia, at least in comparison with Dr. Danquah, would have been the very first personality to own up to the incontestable veracity of this salient fact.
Historically speaking, Busia only arrives on the political terrain as a full-fledged leader and a major force to reckon with around 1952, as leader of the Ghana Congress Party (GCP), almost just about the same time that Dr. Danquah was on his way out to effectively becoming an elderly statesman. Thus, the luridly mischievous attempt by Nana Frema Busia to impugn the relative political preeminence and impeccable and well-established bona fides or credentials of Dr. Danquah and, even Justice Edward Akufo-Addo and Mr. William “Paa Wille” Ofori-Atta, will not wash today, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. All say “Amen!”
*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
August 10, 2019
E-mail: [email protected]
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