William Ofori Atta: The backbone of Ghana's independence history

Stories and facts

Born on October 10, 1910, into the esteemed Ofori-Atta dynasty, his life and activities left an indelible mark on Ghana's struggle for independence and its subsequent political development.

Paa Willie's educational journey began at Mfantsipim School, but he later transferred to Achimota School, where he was among the pioneering students who took the Cambridge School Certificate exams. His education laid the foundation for his future contributions to his nation.

In 1947, Ofori Atta joined the ranks of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), a pivotal political party that played a crucial role in Ghana's fight for independence from British colonial rule. His commitment to the cause marked the beginning of his influential political career. Ofori Atta's political journey saw him win a seat in the 1951 Gold Coast election. Later, he assumed leadership of the United Party, an opposition force against Dr. Kwame Nkrumah's government. During the tumultuous first republic, he faced detention under the Preventive Detention Act, a reflection of the political turbulence of the era.

During the Second Republic, Ofori Atta served as a Member of Parliament representing Akwatia. His roles included Minister for Education and Minister for Foreign Affairs in Dr. Busia's Progress Party government. His influence extended beyond political chambers as he actively participated in the People's Movement for Freedom and Justice (PMFJ), opposing the 'Union Government' concept by General I. K. Acheampong, then Head of State.

In the wake of the Supreme Military Council's fall, Ofori Atta embarked on a presidential bid in the 1979 Ghanaian presidential election as the candidate of the United National Convention. He secured third place with 17.41% of the popular vote.

In his later years, Ofori Atta found solace in his faith, becoming a devout Christian. He co-founded the Accra Chapel Trust, now the Korle-Bu Community Chapel, an independent evangelical church situated at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra. His commitment to faith was evident when he delivered the J. B. Danquah Memorial Lectures in 1985, discussing the topic "Ghana, A Nation in Crisis."

William Ofori Atta's passing in 1988 marked the end of an era, but his legacy lives on. He received a state burial, a testament to his enduring impact on Ghanaian politics and society. Additionally, the William Ofori-Atta Memorial Lectures were established in his honor, ensuring that his contributions and ideals continue to inspire future generations.

William Ofori Atta's life and activities are intricately woven into Ghana's complex political history, from the fight for independence to the challenges of democratic governance in the post-independence era. His unwavering dedication to his nation and his deep faith have left an indomitable legacy that Ghana continues to cherish and celebrate.



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