July 12, 2013

Members of Parliament yesterday celebrated the life of Ghana’s Prime Minister, late Prof Kofi Abrefa Busia, of the Second Republic with a call on Ghanaians to reflect on his simple, humble, humane, pragmatic nationalistic make-up and above all his love for humanity.

The legislators who were contributing to a statement on the centenary of the late Prof Kofi Abrefa Busia by the MP for Wenchi, Professor George Gyan- Baffour, eulogized Prof Busia as a rare gem of Ghanaian politics, and a man whose politics was influenced by his intellectual brilliance.

Professor Gyan-Baffour in his statement said the late Prof Busia, was born in Wenchi on July 11, 1913 and attended Bechem Methodist and Wenchi Methodist School from 1918 to 1927, and thereafter trained as a teacher at Wesley College in Kumasi between 1931 and 1932 and later became a teacher in that same school.

Prof Gyan-Baaffour chronicled the rise of Prof Busia from the student days at Oxford University, and became the “first African to be awarded a degree from the University College, Oxford”.

The late Busia according to him later became the first African District Commissioner in the Gold Coast Colony, first African Lecturer in the Department of Sociology of the university of Ghana, and later elected member of the Legislative Assembly by the Ashanti Confederacy of the Ghana Congress Party in 1952.

In 1954, he became leader of Opposition in Parliament, but went into exile after a series of unfavourable political developments.

Prof Gyan-Baffour said Prof Busia came back after the overthrow of the Convention People’s Party and held various positions under the National Liberation Council, and founded the Progress Party that won the 1969 Elections.

However, Dr Busia’s “Government was sadly overthrown in a coup d’état by Col I.K Acheampong in 1972. He died in exile in Oxford, England, on 28th August, 1978 and was buried in Wenchi” .

He observed that he was the first Ghanaian leader to set up a ministry responsible for rural development adding that during his 27 months rule he initiated development in almost all rural communities in the country.

Prof Busia he noted also helped established the center for civic education to educate the populace on their civic rights and responsibility as well as introduced the national service corps to instill discipline, patriotism and love for county in through youth.

He said the prof introduced the Aliens Compliance Order to reserve certain businesses to Ghanaians especially in retailing which had been taken over by foreigners and which for the first time brought many Ghanaians into the formal economy.

Second Deputy Speaker, Joe Ghartey, in his contribution said the professor was a Methodist and referenced hymn number 896 which stresses the need to praise the lord who reveals in man his glory and noted that the man is being celebrated because God revealed his glory through him.

He urged politicians to continue to strive hard in order to be remembered.

MP for Pru East, Dr Kwabena Donkor on his part said he was proud of the professor’s academic powers, advice against averted capitalism as well as his development in the area of local government.

He called for the need to work as a House in memory of not only the Prof but other founding fathers of the country and to live beyond party politics in the interest of furthering the vision of those fathers.

MP for Sekondi, Papa Owusu Ankomah, said as an intellectual and a politician Prof Busia was deeply religious and despite his religious animosity he believed that Christianity and politics were compatible.

The professor he noted believed that persuasion was better than forcing one’s ideas on others adding that his also life symbolises one essential characteristics of Ghanaians that is looking after one another.

MP for Tain, Ibrahim Ahmed in his contribution commended the Prof for the introduction of the National Service Corps and proposed the establishment of a state of the art library stocked with all his publications in Wenchi in remembrance of his good works.

Meanwhile the centenary celebration of Dr Kofi Abrefa Busia officially commenced yesterday Thursday, July 11, 2013, in Accra.

The Busia Foundation International, which is leading the planning of activities to mark 100 years of the late former Head of State, announced Monday, “The yearlong celebrations will begin with docufilm excerpts and a forum on the life and works of Dr Busia at the African Regent Hotel on Thursday, July 11 at 6:00-9:00pm”.

Speakers include former President John Agyekum Kufuor, Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo–Addo; 2012 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Dr Busia’s youngest sister; Madam Amma Busia and Prof Abena A. A. Busia-one of the daughters of the late Prime Minister as well as some members of Dr Busia’s Administration.

According to the Foundation, “a celebration of Dr Busia’s faith and works will be held at the Calvary Methodist Church, Adabraka on Friday, July 12, from 10:30am-12-30pm”.