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Nana Otumfuo Opoku Ware II

Nana Otumfuo Opoku Ware II

Introduction

About

OTUMFUO OPOKU WARE II

15th Asantehene of the Ashanti Kingdom

Otumfuo Opoku Ware II, born Jacob Matthew Poku on November 30, 1919, was the 15th Asantehene, the traditional ruler of the Ashanti people in Ghana. He succeeded his uncle, Osei Tutu Agyeman Prempeh II, on July 27, 1970, and ruled for 29 years until his demise in February 1999. He was succeeded by Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II.

Jacob Matthew Poku was born into the Ashanti royal family in Kumasi, the capital of Ashanti, in 1919. He attended Anglican school before continuing his education at Adisadel College in Cape Coast. In the 1950s, he moved to the United Kingdom to study law at the Middle Temple and was admitted to the bar in 1962.

Initially, he worked in various public sector roles, including as a building inspector and for the Public Works department. He was later trained as a surveyor and contributed to projects such as the Kumasi Traditional Council Hall and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. Upon returning to Ghana after being called to the bar, he established a law firm and gained respect in Ashanti politics. He served as Commissioner for Communications in the National Liberation Council military government following the coup that ousted Ghana's first president, Kwame Nkrumah.

In 1970, following the death of his uncle, Prempeh II, he was chosen to succeed him as the Asantehene. Opoku Ware II maintained a good relationship with Ghana's presidents during his reign, including Ignatius Acheampong and Jerry Rawlings. He focused on implementing traditional justice within the Ashanti ethnic group and rarely involved himself in national politics. He celebrated his silver jubilee in August 1995, marking 25 years of his reign as Otumfuo Asantehene.

Opoku Ware II married Victoria, a member of the royal family, in 1945. After her passing in 1996, he died on February 26, 1999. His funeral, blending African and Christian traditions, spanned four days of ceremonies and mourning. He was laid to rest on March 25, 1999, at the Royal Mausoleum. He was survived by his three children, Nana Osei, Gifty (1950-2018), and Ambassador Leslie Poku.


Reference: 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opoku_Ware_II

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