Okyenheneba Jones Ofori-Atta (1934-2020)

The former deputy minister of finance and well-versed economist was twice the MP for Begoro and was the father of the current Minister for Finance

The death has been announced of Okyenheneba Akwasi Jones Ofori-Atta.

Dr Ofori-Atta served twice as the Member of Parliament for Begoro (now Fanteakwa) in the Eastern Region, first between 1969 and 1972 and then from 1979 to 1981.

He was a lecturer in economics and later dean of the Faculty of Social Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon. He also served notably as the deputy minister of finance and economic planning during the Second Republic (1969-72), gaining his appointment at the age of 34.

He was the father of Ken Ofori-Atta, the current Minister for Finance, and an uncle of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic.

Dr Ofori-Atta, who was 86, died in Accra on 30 November.

In 1980/81, Okyenheneba went on to become the opposition spokesman on finance in the Third Republic.

He was renowned for his cogent distillation of arguments about economics, sufficient to gain the support of the Majority in the House to return their own government’s budget for “further and better particulars”.

Beyond exile

In 1981 he was forced out of Ghana into exile and found work as the economic advisor to the governor of the Central Bank of Uganda. Okyenheneba returned to Ghana in 1992 with the lift on the ban on politics. He ran against Professor Albert Adu Boahen for the position of presidential candidate for the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

After 1993, he set up in private practice as an economic consultant and worked with the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA). He led the NPP’s economic team, again in opposition, to draft the party’s 1996 manifesto.

He was awarded the Star of Volta by President Kufuor after the NPP’s first electoral victory in 2000 and served as chairman of the Volta River Authority (2001-2003).

Dr Ofori-Atta retired from politics and public life in 2007 and returned to Kyebi, the capital of Okyeman, to start an organic cocoa farm. He also took great pleasure in helping to establish the Kyebi Youth Choir, modelled on the celebrated Winneba Youth Choir.

A remarkable lineage

Okyenheneba was father to four children – Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister for Finance, Duke Ofori-Atta, Earl Ofori-Atta and Nana Yaa Ofori-Atta. He was predeceased by his first wife, Maud, and is survived by his widow, Ellen, and nine grandchildren.

He was the son of Okyenhene Yere Maame Duodua and Nana Sir Ofori-Atta, brother of Grace Amoakwaa Ofori-Atta, Ghana’s first female national librarian.

His father was the longest-serving African member of the Legislative Assembly (the Parliament of the Gold Coast). Nana Sir Ofori-Atta, the first traditional ruler to establish a stool fund, from which he founded schools and infrastructure in Okyeman, famously had 44 wives.

Consequently, Okyenheneba had over 100 siblings. Among them were William “Paa Willie” Ofori-Atta, a member of the Big Six and minister of foreign affairs, education, youth and sports in the Second Republic, Eugene Aaron Ofori-Atta (Speaker of Parliament in the First Republic) and Kwasi Amoako-Atta (finance minister in the First Republic).

He was also the brother of His Excellency Kuntukununku Eugene Ofori-Atta, who served as Ghana’s high commissioner to Uganda; Adeline Akufo-Addo, first lady in the Second Republic; Dr Susan DeGraft Johnson, the first female doctor in the Gold Coast; A A Ampofo, who served as administrator of the Upper Region; the trade unionist Yaw Guggisberg Asante; Ofori Panin Ofori-Atta (Beyeeman); and Alexander Ofori-Atta, father of the current Okyenhene, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin.

Funeral arrangments for Dr Ofori-Atta will be announced in due course.

* Asaase Radio 99.5 – tune in or log on to broadcasts online
Follow us on Twitter: @asaaseradio995
#asaaseradio  #TVOL  #GhanaElection2020

Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button

Adblock Detected