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The sole head of state from Ghana to resign due to a corruption scandal

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Although it will take a lot for a Head of State to resign, the act could also prove a daunting task for the future of any developing nation like Ghana.

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Long after Ghana gained independence in 1957, the country was subjected to autocratic rule or quasi-democracy due to the many coup d’états the country witnessed, until the tide turned and we got the longest democratic rule, which began in 1992 under the late former president Jerry John Rawlings and is still going strong.

Despite the tedious responsibilities associated with being president, only one Head of State has been on record to have resigned in the history of Ghana.

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While the decision to resign is controversial, there have been arguments about many Ghanaian presidents who may have long gotten away with acts that require their resignations.

But as a parable says, ‘Two wrongs don’t make a right’.

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In GhanaWeb’s history class, we take a look at the only Ghanaian Head of State who resigned from the position.

Lieutenant General Joseph A. Ankrah resigned from office on April 2, 1969. Prior to this, he became Head of State in 1966 after Ghana experienced its first coup d’état following the overthrow of the Kwame Nkrumah government, sparking the formation of the National Liberation Council.

Following the coup, General Ankrah became the first Chairman of the National Liberation Council (NLC).

According to eaumf.org, General Ankrah resigned after having admitted that he had received money for political purposes from a private company. While serving as Head of State, his tenure was marred with various bribery scandals.

Notable among the scandals was the admission of taking a bribe from a Nigerian businessman named Arthur Nzeribe.

The allegation, at the time, was that results of an opinion poll conducted by Anthony Nzeribe and contracted by the NLC for that purpose, showed General Ankrah as the most popular person in Ghana from a field of prominent politicians, including General Afrifa and Kofi Abrefa Busia.

Upon the revelation, the Commission of Enquiry was formed and determined that General Ankrah had received C6,000.00 from Nzeribe, which might have influenced the outcome of the opinion polls.

Although, there were suspicions that other political factors were at play beyond the bribery scandal, General Ankrah was forced to resign as Head of State on April 2, 1969.

About General Ankrah

Joseph A. Ankrah was born on August 18, 1915, in Accra to Samuel Paul Cofie Ankrah, an overseer for the Christian Missionary Society and Beatrice Abashie Quaynor, who was a trader.

Ankrah began his schooling in 1921 at the Wesleyan Methodist School in Accra, where his nickname was ‘Ankrah Patapaa’ for his “forcefulness in arguments and always playing leadership role among his mates.”

In 1932, he entered Accra Academy where he established himself as a good football player. He obtained the Senior Cambridge School Certificate in 1937.

Years after, he joined the Ghana Civil Service and later joined the Ghana Army.


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