Nana Akufo-Addo’s Speech At The Launch Of ‘Things Every Child Of Ghana Must Know About J.B Danquah’

These are words of Nana Akufo-Addo at the formal launch of the book, “Things Every Child of Ghana Must Know About Dr. J.N Danquah”

“Good evening, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, and our young persons. I must thank warmly Abyna Ansaa Adjei, the author of the book that has brought all of us here, for asking me to perform this most pleasant task of launching THINGS EVERY CHILD OF GHANA SHOULD KNOW ABOUT J.B. DANQUAH.

She has written a delightful book, which has unearthed material that has come as a surprise to some of us who ought to know all there is to know about J.B. Danquah. He was, after all, the man I knew as my Grandad, and who was a towering figure in my youth. My siblings and I called him Grandpa Danquah, because our maternal grandfather, the illustrious Okyenhene, Nana Sir Ofori Atta 1, died before we were born, and our Grand Uncle, his younger brother, filled his place, and became, for us, Grandpa Danquah.

So towering a figure was he that my proudest moment as a child was when he asked me to become page boy at his wedding to the love of his life, the beautiful Elizabeth Vardon of Sekondi. I am really astonished that Abyna has unearthed these pictures of me as a young child in this book, which is meant for young children. It is for me a remarkable testimony to her qualities of research, because I never knew there was a record of that event. It brings back vivid memories of his personality – gay, dynamic, charismatic.

Fifty-one years ago today on the fourth of February, 1965, J.B. Danquah died at the Nsawam Medium Security prisons under the most ignominious conditions. He had led a most public life, he wrote profusely and was not shy of arguments. One would have thought, therefore, that the details of his life and achievements would be widely available and well-known. Unfortunately, the intolerant streak in our politics that took hold in the early years of our nationhood, led to a deliberate attempt to write out the significant role played by J.B. Danquah and others in the formation of Ghana.

That J.B. Danquah did the research and came up with the idea of calling our country Ghana should never have been a contested or surprising fact. Unfortunately, some regard the stating of this and other similar events of Danquah’s life as party political. In researching and putting together this book, Abyna has taken the argument away from the life history of J.B. Danquah. And yet the book might turn out to be argumentative simply by unearthing so many unknown and unacknowledged facts about the man. Luckily for us all, Abyna backs up every statement about Danquah with evidence, and does so in elegant, simple prose.

It is my hope and prayer that every child who reads this book will be inspired by the life of this most remarkable man, who was responsible for so many of the positive things that characterised the origins and development of our nation. He certainly inspired me and has turned out to be a most lasting and reliable anchor in my life. It is a great privilege and honour for me therefore to declare formally this book, THINGS EVERY CHILD OF GHANA SHOULD KNOW ABOUT J.B. DANQUAH, duly launched.

I might add that Ghanaian adults would learn a lot from it as well and have a better insight into the breadth of Dr. Danquah’s achievements. I always assumed I knew all there was to know about J.B. Danquah, but this book has showed me I still have a lot to learn about him.

Indeed, it is now clear that, thanks to people like the author, those achievements are going to be permanent features of the record of our nation. That is as it should be. Appropriately, we have had a rich, diverse evening to welcome this book and commemorate him, the noblest of Ghanaians. The singing, the poem, the intervention of Elizabeth Ohene, the review of Prof. Ansah-Koi, the presentation of the author have provided us a good fare to herald this book.

I urge you all to get a copy of this wonderful book and I wish to set the example by buying 1,000 copies for our public libraries across the country.

I thank you for your attention. God bless Ghana, and may the soul of Joseph Boakye Danquah continue to rest in perfect peace in the bosom of the Almighty until we meet again on the Day of Resurrection. Amen.”

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is the NPP flag bearer for the 2016 elections.