President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Saturday laid a wreath to mark the 52 anniversary of the death of Dr JB Danquah at a ceremony at the Presbyterian Church Cemetery at Kyebi in the Eastern Region.
An emotional President Akufo-Addo who joined family, friends and well-wishers at the ceremony, eulogised the Statesman, Pan-Africanist, Lawyer and Historian, saying: “We came here to let you know how much we value the work of your life… Your contribution to the nation Ghana would not be forgotten.
“The work you did, the values you stood for are today the principles on which our governance is founded… You are indeed the light of our nation,” he said, drawing affirmation from those gathered at the tomb of Dr Danquah.
“Your life was about service to the nation; as a result we are called Ghana today. We will never ever forget you. Your departure has left footprints in the hand of time… There can never be bigger footprints that what you have left and we are grateful for your life,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo said Dr Danquah’s teachings have had an immense impact on Ghana’s democracy and that he would ensure, that the principles that he espoused were upheld for the benefit of the country.
He said: “We can never thank you enough for the sacrifice you made… We would continue to make sure that your principles guide us and provide the strength for what we do.”
The President said like Dr Danquah, whose considerations were not on amassing wealth, his government would not use the mandate given by Ghanaians for wealth and personal aggrandisement but render sacrificial service to better the lot of each and every Ghanaian during his tenure in office.
Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, the MP for Abuakwa said Dr Danquah’s life and successes cannot be catalogued without seeing him as a “redemption sacrifice” in Ghana’s politics.
He said there was no denial of fact that Dr Danquah was the president Ghana never had and that “it seems to me that all that he did has paid off with the overwhelming victory of President Akufo-Addo”.
“I said and keep saying that God is just. I saw that this man was insulted and vilified and I saw President Akufo-Addo being insulted and vilified. Some people said this man was not worthy to be the president of Ghana, they said all manner of things but I also saw the same iron will that Dr Danquah had Nana Addo had it…the capacity not to quit that Dr Danquah had, our President had it.
“Now it’s come to the point that 70 years down the line, here stands your grandson Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as your abundant compensation…All that you could not achieve, you have found fulfillment in your grandson,” he said.
Mr Akyea said he was confident that President Akufo-Addo held the same ideals as Dr Danquah, adding: “I trust God that Nana Addo will never be an ordinary President as Dr Danquah was never an ordinary man.”
Other wreaths were laid on behalf of the family, the New Patriotic Party and the people of Abuakwa.
Some Ministers of State as well as senior party officials attended the programme.
Dr Danquah was born in December 1895 at Bempong and died on February 4, 1965 in Nsawam. He was Dean of the Ghanaian nationalist politicians, and one of the principal opposition leaders to Kwame Nkrumah.
Educated in law and philosophy in London, Danquah established a private law office after his return to the Gold Coast (Ghana) in 1927. He founded a newspaper, the “Times of West Africa” in 1931 and served as Secretary of a delegation to the British Colonial Office in 1934 and as Secretary General of the Gold Coast Youth Conference (1937-47).
He actively sought for constitutional reforms in the early 1940s and became a member of the Legislative Council in 1946.
He helped to found the United Gold Coast. Convention (UGCC) that demanded self-government.
Danquah was arrested, briefly after riots in 1948 together with Kwame Nkrumah, which greatly enhanced their prestige.
Danquah was elected to the Legislative Assembly in 1951 but failed to be re-elected in 1954 and 1956.
In 1960 he decided to run for President against Nkrumah. Danquah received only 10 per cent of the vote.
He was imprisoned in 1961 under the Preventive Detention Act. Released in 1962 and elected President of the Ghana bar Association, he was again imprisoned early in 1964 and died a year late.
His writings include “Gold Coast: Akan Laws and Customs and the Akim Abuakwa Constitution (1928) and the Akan Doctrine of God (1944)”.