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William Ofori Atta

William Ofori Atta




An Architect of Ghana's Independence and Political Stalwart

William Ofori Atta, affectionately known as "Paa Willie," was a prominent figure in Ghanaian politics and a key architect of the nation's independence. Born on October 10, 1910, he hailed from esteemed lineage as the son of Nana Sir Ofori Atta I, the revered Omanhene (King) of Akyem Abuakwa during 1912-1943. Although born into nobility, as the Akan people traditionally follow matrilineal descent, he did not inherit royal status.

Ofori Atta received his early education at Mfantsipim School before transferring to Achimota School, where he was among the inaugural cohort to sit for the Cambridge School Certificate. Notable peers included Komla Agbeli Gbedemah and Edward Akufo-Addo. This group laid the foundation for the University of Ghana. His pursuit of higher education led him to Queens' College, University of Cambridge, where he honed his intellect from 1935 to 1938. Eventually, he qualified as a lawyer in 1956, joining the ranks of legal professionals in Ghana.

In the realm of politics, Ofori Atta's influence was profound. He co-founded the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) in 1947, marking his entry into the political arena. His astuteness and dedication earned him a seat representing Akim Abuakwa in the 1951 Gold Coast election. Subsequently, he assumed leadership of the United Party, a formidable opposition to Dr. Kwame Nkrumah's government. However, his opposition landed him in detention under Nkrumah's Preventive Detention Act during the first republic.

Undeterred by adversity, Ofori Atta continued to champion his beliefs. He served as a member of parliament for Akwatia during the second republic, holding positions such as Minister for Education and Minister for Foreign Affairs under the Progress Party government led by Dr. Busia. Additionally, he actively participated in the People's Movement for Freedom and Justice (PMFJ), advocating against General I. K. Acheampong's 'Union Government' proposition during the military regime.

Even in his later years, Ofori Atta remained engaged in civic affairs and devoutly embraced his Christian faith. He co-founded the Accra Chapel Trust, later renamed the Korle-Bu Community Chapel, a testament to his commitment to spiritual endeavors. In 1985, he delivered the J. B. Danquah Memorial Lectures on the theme "Ghana, A Nation in Crisis," highlighting his concern for his country's welfare.

William Ofori Atta passed away in 1988, leaving behind a legacy of service and dedication to Ghana. His contributions to politics and society were commemorated through the establishment of the William Ofori-Atta Memorial Lectures, ensuring his enduring impact on Ghanaian discourse and governance.


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Place of Birth: Kyebi



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Date of Birth: October 10, 1910

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