Member of Parliament for Ellembele, Hon Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah has called for national recognition of late Paa Grant, one of the founding father:s of politics in the country.
According to him, Paa Grant played a pivotal role in Ghana’s democratic process leading to Independent and therefore should be honoured by the state.
Hon Armah Buah made the call when he delivered a statement on the floor of Parliament on Wednesday, February 9,2022.
Some of the MPs who contributed to the statement urged that Paa Grant should be futures in the national currency.
Below is the Full statement
STATEMENT BY HON. EMMANUEL ARMAH KOFI BUAH, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR THE ELLEMBELE CONSTITUENCY, ON THE CONTRIBUTION OF PAA GRANT TO GHANA’S LIBERATION STRUGGLE.
As was once averred by Abraham Lincoln, “any nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure”. Undoubtedly, this August House unanimously desires that our dear nation will not only survive but prosper in perpetuity. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I crave your indulgence to give a statement in honor of one of Ghana’s spectacular heroes in the person of Mr. George Alfred Grant of blessed memory. This statement aims at throwing more light on his enormous contribution to the successful struggle for our motherland’s independence. I believe a careful study of his role will inform, as well as inspire us all as Ghanaians to willingly and appropriately make the required individual and collective sacrifices for the development of our dear nation.
Mr. Speaker, the man George Alfred Grant, affectionately called Paa Grant, hailed from Beyin in Western Nzema (Jomoro District) in the Western region of Ghana and was born in the year 1878 to Mr. William Minneaux Grant and madam Adjua Biatwi. He had his education at Wesleyan School (now Mfantsipim School) at Cape Coast.
Paa Grant was a renowned businessman and astute politician. In his early years, at age 17, he commenced his business career and apprenticeship as a messenger with Messrs. C. W. Alexander & Company, timber dealers and general merchants. By 1914, assiduous Grant had learned enough and saved from his meager salary to start his firm George Grant & Company and thrived as a timber merchant, with a prosperous export business, at a time when the trade was subjugated by foreign companies – a feat which must motivate our youth to submit to learning and boldly take entrepreneurial initiatives especially in the wake of the teeming unemployment situation confronting our country today.
Mr. Speaker, Grant’s trade put him in a pole position to witness the unfair practices that both the indigenous workforce and local players in business suffered at the hands of the colonial authorities. Despite his thriving business, he became more concerned about injustice against citizens of the then Gold Coast. The political career of Mr. Grant was therefore born out of pure willingness to serve his nation and contribute to the liberation of his fellow citizens from oppression.
Consequently, Mr. Speaker, Paa Grant joined the Aborigines Rights Protection Society, an organization that sought to prevent the indiscriminate expropriation of African lands by European authorities/businessmen and campaigned against the exclusion of qualified Africans from the colonial administration. It is refreshing, Mr. Speaker, to note that he also accepted an appointment into the Legislative Council, to represent the people of Sekondi in 1926 and was instrumental in many developmental projects, including the introduction of street lighting and pipe-borne water to Sekondi and Axim.
The colonial government often impeded critics and intelligentsias membership into the council. Nevertheless, membership was opened to those who were responsive to their opinions and tenets. The Casely-Hayfords, Kojo Thompsons and people of like-minded who were advocating for more power to the people had been silenced and rendered less relevant to continue the struggle. The political epoch agitated Paa Grant to start the struggle for independence.
Mr. Speaker, vexed with the growing injustice against natives of the Gold Coast and inspired by the increasing calls for new political direction, Mr. Grant organized the famous meeting which was attended by Dr. J. B. Danquah and other national heroes; the outcome of the meeting led to the formation of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) on 4th August 1947, intended to achieve self-government within the shortest possible time.
Mr. Speaker let me seek your permission to read Paa Grant’s letter inviting JB Danquah, Awoonor Williams and other prominent lawyers to the first meeting that led to the formation of the UGCC.
For some time now, a few friends and I have met and discussed the dire state of the country’s economic and political affairs. As a result, we have concluded that the only solution to these problems was an invitation to a few members of the country, who have their country’s interest at heart to meet and discuss these topics.
Therefore, we will resolve to form a committee that can appeal to a broader circle of the public to co-operate with us as we create a national political body or organization to deal with concerted efforts in economic, industrial, and political matters and raise funds for these purposes. Our ultimate objective is to appeal to all sections of the community in these great movements.
I am positive that this is the only exclusive way to achieve our national aspiration towards economic and political independence. Therefore, I am very committed and invite you to a meeting to be held on the premises of Mr. Albion Mends at Saltpond on Monday, the 7th day of April 1947, at 10 am’’.
George Alfred Grant
Mr. Speaker, considering the essential role that money plays in executing the agenda of every political organization, it is worthy to note that as the President of the UGCC, Paa Grant made the first donation of 250 pounds as seed money to run the UGCC while others including some members of the Big Six contributed between 25 and 50 pounds. Mr. Speaker, the selflessness of Mr. Grant impelled him to provide money for the fare to repatriate the iconic Kwame Nkrumah to the Gold Coast to take up an appointment as the General Secretary of the UGCC after Nkrumah’s over a decade stay abroad.
It is striking to learn that Grant’s avid pursuit of political freedoms and civil liberties for his fellow citizens was not without adverse repercussions on his hitherto thriving business enterprise. Colonial authorities victimized him to the extent that logs bearing his company’s symbol were prevented from boarding any ship at the harbor. He had to resort to the expansion of his timber business locally to avert imminent collapse. Nonetheless, Mr. Speaker, Paa Grant persevered in his fight for political liberty for our dear nation. Unsurprisingly, due to his unflinching commitment, he was known to many during the Gold Coast era as ‘the father of Gold Coast politics’.
Sadly, Mr. Speaker, death laid its cold hands on Paa Grant at age 78 on 30th October 1956 at Axim, and he could not witness the outcome of what he stood and fought for (the independence of Ghana).
However, today, the critical and inspirational role played by Paa Grant, the man from a very humble beginnings in Nzema in the attainment of Ghana’s independence is well documented and appreciated by all. It is, therefore, a worthy course to devote part of our time to reflect on his works and appreciate the man who did not only dedicate his time and resources but also sacrificed his flourishing timber business to engineer and support organizations and individuals including Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah who steered Gold Coast into independence and for which reason we are seated here as Members of Parliament. Mr. Speaker, with your indulgence, I entreat all of us, Members of Parliament, and the Ghanaian citizenry at large to emulate the selfless and serving attitude of Paa Grant for the development of our dear nation.
Mr. Speaker, the story of Ghana’s liberation struggle will never be complete and has never been when Paa Grant’s vision and monetary contributions towards the Independence of the Gold Coast have not been duly honoured. It is a great tragedy that up until today, Paa Grant has never been prominently placed in the history books of Ghana. Grant, through his selflessness, nationalism, vision, and devotion to Gold Coast’s freedom from colonial rule is monumental.
He is the doyen of Ghana’s Independence and must be recognized and acknowledged as the father and financier the of Gold Coast politics, and must have a place in Ghana’s political history.
May his gentle soul continue to rest in perfect peace.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and colleagues, for your attention.