Remembering Oyeeman Wereko Ampem II
“LIVES of great men remind us. We can make our lives sublime.
And departing leave behind footprints upon the sands of time.”
These are the memorable words of a popular English writer in his sober reflections on the impact of famous people, and how by emulating them, we also can bequeath legacies to posterity.
These inspiring thoughts apply so appropriately to the life of Oyeeman Wereko Ampem II, (well known as Emmanuel Noi Omaboe or ENO for short) who distinguished himself in various fields of human Endeavour in his lifetime.
From his early beginning in the Ivory Towers of Academia, through to the busy corridors of his government Department, from the lofty conference rooms of corporate Ghana, to the noisy congresses of Accra Hearts of Oak, from the regular convocations of UNIC sessions in New York, to the rigorousness of his presence at traditional “Awukudae” ceremonies of Amanokrom, Oyeeman Wereko Ampem was a distinguished Ghanaian statesman, and a highly progressive chief, Gyasehene of Akuapem and Ohene of Amanokrom, from 1975 to 2005, who left behind so many tangible and invaluable marks on his people which have stood the test of time in his memory.
The very title “Oyeeman,” meaning “promoter of the society,” which was conferred on him by the Okuapehene, is an eloquent testimony to his remarkable achievements.
It was five years ago , more precisely Saturday, November 26, 2005, that he went to his village” and yet he is still mourned and remembered for rendering meritorious services to his traditional area, this country and the international community at large.
On the death of his cousin, Nana Ofei Dankwan II, in 1974, Nana became the obvious choice of the Queen, as well is as the unanimous candidate of the kingmakers and the people of Amanokrom to succeed the late chief. Accordingly, he was enstooled chief of Amanokrom and Gyasehene of Akuapem is 1975 and served Akuapem for a period of 30 years.
Amanokrom was little known at the time, in comparison to other Akuapem towns such as Akropong, aburi, and Mampong, but Oyeeman Wereko Ampem’s reign bought high visibility to Amanokrom, to succeed the late chief. Accordingly he was enstooled chief of Amanokrom and was characterized by unity, peace and progress as evidenced by the numerous development projects that sprang up at Amanokrom and several other initiatives which benefited the entire Gyaseman.
Notable among these projects are the modern Dweriwa Market, the Amanokrom Community Centre, the Amanokrom Junior Secondary School, town library, primary school building, a modern chief’s Palace (Manko Aba Ahenfie), the Norley Early Childhood Development Centre as well as the Bepowso Residential Estates, an HFC project.
Indeed, it was Nana who established the first education foundation in the country to offer scholarships, bursaries and other assistance to brilliant, needy schoolchildren and students in the Gyaseman Division. This concept was then adopted by chiefs in several parts of the country.
Furthermore, he set up an agricultural fund to assist farmers with unsecured loans with the view to-wards facilitating increased production of food and cash crops, and also launched a trust fund for purposes such as preserving the cultural practices and heritage of Amanokron; ensuring the celebration of the traditional festival and maintaining the Royal Palace and important structures in the community.
In all, through his high sense of dedication and drive, Nana managed to enhance the quality of life, and the outlook of the people: setting high standards of discipline of discipline and punctuality to traditional functions; simplifying traditional outmoded customs.
For the chieftaincy institution, he was the embodiment of traditional dignity and prestige, and the historical records show that it was shortly after Nana was installed as a chief that several educated Ghanaians were somehow attracted to the chieftaincy institution in Ghana.
Apart from fulfilling his traditional responsibilities, Nana played active roles in various areas in Ghana as an economist and statistician, business consultant and entrepreneur, leader in academia, sports enthusiast, and devoted Christian and member of the Presbyterian Church.
Oyeeman Wereko Ampem’s professional career started as an Economics Research Fellow at the University of Ghana (1957- 79); from there he was appointed Deputy Government Statistician and became Government Statistician in July 1960, being the youngest civil servant to head a Government Department at the age of 29.
In this position, he helped to revitalize the central Bureau of Statistics which published the Annual Economic Survey of Ghana and also supervised the conduct of the first Population census in 1960, working as the Census Co-ordinator.
Under the military administration of the National Liberation Council (NLC) in 1966, ENO held the portfolios of Chairman of the Economic Committee and Commissioner of Economic Affairs, with overall responsibility for formulating and implementing economic policies and programmes.
On retirement in 1969, after 10 years of public service, and at the age of 39, he was awarded the Grand Medal of the Republic of Ghana (Civil Division). He subsequently embarked upon Economic/Management consulting service through the establishment of the E. N. Omaboe Associates Limited Nana served on boards of several companies. Including Barclays Bank, UTC Estates, Reiss & Co. Lintas Ghana and Nowak Ghana.
For several years, he served as Chairman of the Executive Council of the Medical School Council where he instituted the Nana Wereko Ampem II Prize for the best student in Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology which is still being awarded. Nana was also chief patron of the Prisons Fellowship of Ghana for 23 years from 1982.
In sporting activities, Oyeeman was extremely committed, having been chairman of Hearts of Oak, and eventually serving as president of the Council of Patrons. Nana was also President of Achimota Golf Club for several years.
In 1999, Oyeeman became the first Ghanaian, other than a head of State, to be invested as Chancellor of the University of Ghana, a position which was hitherto reserved for Heads of State.
As the chiefs and people of Akuapem observe the Ayikese of this eminent Chief and bid him a royal farewell, we remember his great works not only for his people, but for Ghana, and Africa as a whole.
Oyeeman Wereko Ampem II, Nantew Yie.
Daily Graphic Page: 10 Thursday, November 25, 2010