Prof. Aaron Mike Ocquaye Delivers Inaugural Memorial Lecture to Commemorate Okyenhene Ba, Dr. Jones Atta Ofori-Atta

The immediate past Speaker of Parliament, Rev. Prof. Aaron Mike Ocquaye, has advocated the need for Ghanaians to work on their attitudes as a contributing factor to the progress that is desired as a nation.

He made these remarks during the inaugural memorial lecture, chaired by Her Ladyship Justice Sophia Akuffo, to commemorate Okyenhene Ba, Dr. Jones Akwasi Amoako Atta Ofori-Atta.

Delivering his lecture on the topic: “The Life of a Fearless Ghanaian Patriot”, Prof. Ocquaye bemoaned how ill-attitudes and negative idiosyncrasies keep abounding in the nation. “We are in a nation where dishonesty is palpably and blatantly fashionable in low and high places; a nation where a public event which takes an hour is recklessly dragged on for four hours; a nation where lateness is ‘normal’. From the wedding day to every activity in life, people are expected to be late”, he stated.

Prof. Ocquaye noted Dr. Ofori-Atta was a disciplinarian who expounded the ideas of the Danquah-Busia-Dombo tradition among other things, and advocated discipline and punctuality in the country. Citing Dr. Ofori-Atta constantly saying he always felt sad when people avoided work due to the rains, Prof. Ocquaye indicated that indiscipline abounds everywhere in the country. “We may well dedicate this lecture to absenteeism, the lack of punctuality (African Time Syndrome), insipid corruption at all levels and in all institutions and organisations including the church of Christ”, he added.

Prof. Ocquaye sadly expressed how some country men steal from the nation and said, “It is tragic to recount that while we are crying over our development, some of our country men steal bitumen meant for road repairs or construction overnight. Others steal railway tracks on the railway lines being constructed for the whole Ghana. Others steal the oil from generators, only to have the whole generator blown up”.

Noting that the country had been to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for bailouts in one form or the other, he mentioned that the country will continue to go to the IMF if citizens do not change their attitude to support those in leadership.

A cross-section of participants at the lecture

Prof. Ocquaye was fascinated by the fact that the celebration of the life of Dr. Ofori-Atta coincided with the country’s economic difficulties and wondered what Okyenhene Ba would have done if he was alive. “It is imperative to ask: If Dr Ofori-Atta were alive today, from what we have heard about him, what would he say? Would the fearless Ghanaian patriot keep quiet or would he have valid pieces of advice for the nation he loved? Certainly he would speak out! Among other things, he would point out the economic trajectories of the COVID-19 pandemic, its global trends and the obvious economic consequences of the Russia-Ukraine War. But he would not end there at all. He would point out the structural deficiencies in our economic system which continues to make us fragile and perilously dependent on imports,” he opined.

Rev. Prof. Michael Ocquaye concluded his lecture by urging all citizens to change their ways.

Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, welcomed all to the event. She noted that for the University to leave a strong and lasting legacy in the memory of Dr. Jones Ofori-Atta, the family is working with the University to institute an Annual Memorial Lecture to discuss pertinent issues in Economics and other related fields; an Academic Award for the best Level 200 student in Economics and an Endowed Research Chair at the Department of Economics.

Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Nana Aba Appiah Amfo

Prof. Amfo also noted that the University shares the family’s excitement about establishing a Research Chair to attract and retain the best research talents from around the world to Ghana. The Vice-Chancellor anticipated an occupant who is a renowned researcher, equipped with the expertise to bring together high-level specialised researchers in the field of Economics to undertake ground-breaking studies with national and global impact. She was also hopeful that instituting the Chair would strengthen the existing cordial relationship between the University and the family.

The event was interspersed with tributes from former President, John Agyekum Kufuor, Prof. Robert Yaw Addo-Fening, Okyenman Kanea, and several cultural performances and songs from the Winneba Youth Choir.

The President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo paid a tribute to Dr. Ofori-Atta and commended the organisers of the event. In his tribute which he titled “A tribute to my Uncle”, he noted that Dr. Ofori-Atta had a great sense of humour and was easy to get along with. The President noted that Dr. Jones Ofori-Atta had done his part and will not be forgotten. Dr. Ofori-Atta’s traits of fearlessness, courageous and outstanding respect for Ghanaian values made him a true patriot. 

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

An extensive royal eulogy was given by the Okyenhene, Osagyefou Amoatia Ofori Panin, in honor of Dr. Ofori-Atta.

The event was attended by the Chief of Staff, Honourable Akosua Frema Osei-Opare; traditional rulers; Ministers of State; Members of Parliament; Members of the diplomatic corps, family, and friends of Dr. Ofori-Atta.

Okyenhene, Osagyefou Amoatia Ofori Panin

Also present were Mrs. Emelia Agyei-Mensah, Registrar; Prof. Daniel Frimpong Ofori, Provost, College of Humanities, Prof. Boateng Onwona-Agyeman, Provost of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, Deans, Directors, Heads of Department and other members of the University Community.


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