Speaking on the theme: “Danquah, the unfinished agenda”, he said: “We must all forego all feelings of bitterness and to say unreservedly to Kwame Nkrumah, his family and his supporters that we forgive what took place on that day.”
Nana Akufo-Addo, who eulogised Dr Danquah, described him as a “selfless, forgiving and principled patriot”, and that the family and lovers of the late Dr Danquah had forgiven Ghana’s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, for abandoning him to eventually die in prison.
The J. B. Danquah Memorial Lecture series was instituted in 1968 in memory of Dr Danquah, who died in prison in February 1965, fighting for freedom in all its manifestations.
Described as the ‘Doyen of Gold Coast politics,’ Dr Danquah was a lawyer, statesman, philosopher, scholar, novelist, dramatist and journalist. The event consists of a series of three lectures delivered by either a fellow or a distinguished non-fellow.
Nana Akufo-Addo bemoaned the level of corruption that had bedevilled the country, particularly within government.
According to Nana Akufo-Addo, Dr Danquah abhorred “misuse of public money at any circumstance.”
"In his day, his typewriter was always handy to write letters to those in authority and beyond to see that some wrong was righted.”
He said should Dr Danquah be alive today, he would have reprimanded President John Mahama for the numerous corrupt activities in his government.
He said public money ought to be managed by people committed to the country’s interest.
Consequently, Nana Akufo-Addo urged President Mahama and his administration to manage the public purse effectively for the good of the people.
He cited some cases of corruption in recent times, as the payment of GHC51 million to businessman Alfred Woyome and alleged shady deals and misappropriation of funds by officials of Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) and others.
He further argued that if Dr Danquah, a key figure in Ghana’s liberation movement, were alive today, he would campaign for the removal of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government because the poor level of governance that existed then persisted today.
He noted that today Ghana had a Constitution that allowed Ghanaians to vote out an incompetent President and vote in another and advised Ghanaians to exercise that right effectively.
“We need to strengthen the institutional mechanisms for dealing with corruption to promote this end. Above all we need the personal examples of our political leaders, especially the President of the Republic, to demonstrate that public service is exactly that public service. Those who seek wealth in public service have no place there. Their place is in the private sector where the making of money is a legitimate and necessary activity,” Nana Akufo Addo added.
Former President John Agyekum Kufuor appealed to Ghanaians to learn from the tolerant nature of the late Dr Danquah and allow his death to unite the nation and promote good governance as well as the rule of law.
He said Dr Danquah had always advocated the unity of the country and for the rule of law to thrive.
He urged all Ghanaians to embrace and participate in the celebration and remembrance of the late statesman.
He said the values Dr Danquah stood for and the role he played in the struggle for freedom for Ghana were not only for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) but for all Ghanaians.
“Dr Danquah belongs to Ghana and he irrefutably played a titanic role in the making of our nation that we are all proud to belong to today,” he stated.
Mr Kufuor said one of the most painful moments in the nation’s history was the circumstances under which Dr Danquah died in prison 50 years ago.
He appealed to Ghanaians to not allow those unpleasant and difficult circumstances to impede the nation’s desire to move ahead.
“The growing up pains of our nation threw up some very unpleasant and difficult moments, none more painful than the circumstances under which Dr Danquah died in the prison cells 50 years ago today," he added.