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EULOGY FOR PROF. FRANCIS KOFI AMPENYIN ALLOTEY

EULOGY FOR PROF. FRANCIS KOFI AMPENYIN ALLOTEY

By Albert K. Fiadjoe, Emeritus Professor of public law & fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences

Delivered at The Forecourt of the State House On Friday February 23, 2018

 


Francis Kofi Ampenyin Allotey – of the Royal Sempe Stool, Accra, of Saltpond, of Ghana, of Africa and the World. We are gathered in the Forecourt of the State House in God’s presence to honor God’s treasure and to send his faithful servant safely Home.

In Kofi Ampenyin Allotey, we have lost both a gentleman and a gentle man, a very decent one at that! It has fallen to my lot to deliver this Eulogy to Kofi Ampenyin Allotey in a final farewell on behalf of a grateful nation and an admiring world.

 

THE EARLY YEARS

My association with Prof. Allotey began in 1973 when I served under him as a Chairman of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission Board. We remained close friends from that time and discussed a multiplicity of issues till he passed on in November 2017.

Of course, a great deal will be said and written about his wondrous deeds and accomplishments because he was indeed a famous man. We all know now that though Kofi Allotey was born of ordinary circumstances, he lived an extraordinary and fascinating life as a father, academic and a renowned scholar.

From very humble beginnings, Prof Allotey defied all the odds and obstacles that came his way, and indeed there were many of those.

As we celebrate his life, we cannot but also reflect on the family environment from whence he came for, together he and his family symbolize so much about what makes this country of ours the wonderful gem that it is. Poor but proud, that family of humble circumstances strove hard and exhibited industry of a very high pedigree.

Francis Allotey was born on the 9th of August, 1932 to Alice, a dressmaker of Saltpond and the farseeing Papa Joseph Allotey, originally from Accra, a trader and a general merchant who sold books, musical instruments and fishing gear for a living.

With that exceptional combination of sheer industry and talent, it is not surprising that he and Mrs. Allotey bequeathed to this world a decent number of children – seven in all.

Professor Allotey was the second of the seven, four girls and three boys.

They came in this order –Martha, Francis, Elizabeth, Augustine, Agatha, Theresa   and Michael.  The only survivors are Agatha and Theresa both of who have traveled down from the US to be at the funeral of their brother.

A late entrant to school at the age of nine, Francis assisted his father in his store to sell his wares. Even at that tender age, Papa Allotey marveled at his son’s facility in computing the daily sales and submitting accurate daily accounts. Those were early signs of the young Allotey’s extraordinary mathematical genius.

By age 16, Francis persisted and was enrolled at the Ghana National College as the only student in Form 1 – a clear sign of tenacity and doggedness in the young Allotey.

Motivated by his ambition to gain the benefits of higher education, Francis Allotey courageously traveled alone to Liberia at the age of 19 to obtain a British Passport so that he could proceed to England. He succeeded at that too.

Back to Saltpond, he founded a co-educational secondary school which he named the Fanti Confederation Secondary Technical College, later re-named as the Fanti State Secondary Technical College.

Then onto England, Francis traveled, checking first into Borough Polytechnic before eventually ending up at the prestigious Imperial College of Science and Technology. Such was Francis Allotey’s brilliance at his subject that he was made to skip the Undergraduate degree course and was enrolled directly into the Masters degree program.  This was how our African genius traveled through the corridors of higher education in Imperial College, without obtaining a first degree, a feat that I am told, has not been equaled since then in the history of that institution.

From there, take-off to Princeton University in the US was a natural and logical step for Francis. That was in 1962, after a two-year stint at the Department of Mathematics at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.

I am advised that Francis Allotey was the first African to study at the Mathematics Department of Princeton University, a tremendous feat accomplished at that time. It was while in Princeton studying Mathematical Physics for his Ph.D that Francis Allotey developed his universally acclaimed and world renowned Allotey Formalism theory. Through intrepid research and complicated mathematical calculations, Francis Allotey was able to  prove that electrons jump into nucleus only after the nucleus has had an effect  called “resonance scattering” on it.

Prof. Allotey’s first wife, Eudoris Enid of blessed memory of the parish of St. Lucy in Barbados bore him two children – Francis Jnr and Joseph. Sadly, she passed on in 1981.

He re-married in 1988 to Asie, my own classmate from the Law Faculty in Legon.

Prof Allotey embraced Asie’s two children warmly as his own. They are Cilinnie and Kay.  Regrettably, Asie too passed on in 2011.

The records would show that Prof Allotey did not have the courage to make a third attempt at matrimony though the science of mathematics would seem to suggest that luck attends every third attempt at something good!

 

RECOGNITION FOR EXCELLENCE

Prof Allotey has been recognized for excellence across many fields and his numerous accomplishments are garnished with several firsts –A pioneer in Computer Science education at the KNUST, first Ghanaian Full Professor in Mathematics at the KNUST, Chairman of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission on seven different occasions, a member of the UN Secretary General’s Group of 12 Experts to advise on nuclear weapons, a member of the Scientific Council of the world renowned International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy, and Founder of AIMS in Ghana, among other brilliant accomplishments.

In short, Prof Allotey’s singular and sterling achievements are indeed written in gold all over the scientific world and in other areas as well. Prof Allotey both symbolized and nurtured the maturing of science, especially mathematics in Ghana.  Through his enterprise and hard work, he transformed the scientific landscape of Ghana, Africa and the world for the better. His singular role in the development and promotion of mathematical sciences in Africa is exemplified in the establishment of the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) (with that imposing and magnificent mountain-top edifice in Biriwa, near Salptond)

His legacy to Ghana and the world through his fine mathematical mind is monumental and our individual and collective debt to him is unusually large.

In short, Prof. Allotey was the quintessential scholar who won the admiration of all. He lived and practiced his profession in several countries and in multiple jurisdictions across the world.

He was tried and tested in all, yet he traversed every jurisdiction with flying colors.

We thank God for making it possible for us to benefit so richly from the decency of his life and the scholarship of his mind.

 

ALLOTEY’S PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE

There were other sides to Francis Allotey beyond Mathematics and Physics. So, let me say a word about Prof Allotey as a decent human being and a perfect gentleman. In a world of unstable values, Prof. Allotey maintained a shining example of simplicity and modesty. He never lost touch with the common man. He had a sense of fair play, honesty and sympathy for the underdog, not equaled by many in public or private life.

On a very personal note, Prof Allotey never allowed his supreme knowledge of his subject discipline nor the fact that he was far senior to me to stand between us. Such was the humility of the man!

He was an exemplar. Big hearted and extremely generous, Kofi Allotey cared for and looked after many without counting the cost. As at the time of his passing, Prof Allotey had under his care and protection not less than 10 individuals that he looked after and singlehandedly supported fully. In the area of rural development, Prof Allotey assisted in the establishment of two elementary schools in Edumanfa and Owomasi in addition to funding a library in Saltpond.  So long before “one district one factory”, Prof Allotey had his version of an appropriate slogan “One district, two elementary schools and one library!”

 

FINAL FAREWELL

God’s beautiful treasure has been returned to Heaven. So as we proceed to the final farewell, we can say proudly to Prof Allotey -Your life’s work has been accomplished to perfection with aplomb and excellence.

Soft spoken, easy going, never in a fight, seldom appearing to be vexed about anything, generous, and extremely kind –Warm-hearted, humorous, charming and passionate, Prof Allotey was a giant of this land. So that no one may accuse me of plagiarism, let me be quick to borrow an apt phrase from President Akufo Addo’s State of the Nation address delivered on the 8th of February, 2018: Prof Allotey was indeed “a national asset”.

What a stupendous life Prof Allotey led!

I am the richer for having known Kofi Ampenyin and worked with him as a colleague and friend. We thank God for letting Kofi Ampenyin cross our paths. We thank Him for this blessing on the African continent and the world at large. Within the constraints of human weakness, he gave of his best and in this last fond farewell we now thank God for giving us the opportunity to share in the life and times of Prof Allotey. He is survived by his children, two boys and two girls – Francis Jnr, Joseph, Cilinnie and Kay, his two surviving sisters Mrs Agatha Narh, Mad. Theresa Allotey and twenty grandchildren. Our deepest condolences go out to all of them and to the Allotey family of Saltpond and Accra. Professor of Mathematics, Eminent Scholar, Nuclear and Mathematical Physicist, Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences and numerous other Academies and Learned Societies.

May You Rest in Peace and Rise in Glory.

 

Opanyin Kofi Ampenyin, Exquisite Genius,

May God’s Grace lead you home.

The Heavenly Angels await your arrival.

Damirifa Due!!!

High School Outreach Programme

Kumasi, February 14, 2018 – The Ghana Young Academy’s Infections and antibiotic Resistance Project took off in Kumasi, Ashanti Region Ghana.

The GhYA collaborated with Africa Hall, KNUST. Female Senior High School students form seven (7) schools in Kumasi were counseled on vaginal infections  and rational use of Antibiotics. Misconceptions on proper vaginal care and medicine use  in general were addressed as part of the talk.

HE Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo Promises a State Burial

His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, at the  end of year dinner of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences has promised to give Prof. Francis Kofi Ampenyin Allotey, a former fellow and past President of the Academy and a Ghanaian mathematical physicist a State Burial.

He was known for the “Allotey Formalism” which arose from his work on soft X-ray spectroscopy. A founding fellow of the African Academy of Sciences, in 1974 he became the first Ghanaian full professor of mathematics and head of the Department of Mathematics at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. He was the first year student of Ghana National College when the school was founded in July 1948 by Dr Nkrumah.

Allotey was the President of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of a number of international scientific organizations including The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) Scientific Council since 1996.

He was the Chairman of Board of Trustees of the Accra Institute of Technology (AIT), the President of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Ghana (AIMS-Ghana) and the President of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (GAAS). He held master’s and doctorate degrees from Princeton University and the diploma of Imperial College (1960). He was an honorary fellow of the IOP Institute of Physics.

 

Prof Francis Allotey has died at 85

Professor Francis Kofi Ampenyin Allotey has passed away.

He died on Thursday, November 2, around 9 pm after visiting the hospital when he complained of discomfort. Professor Francis Allotey, who was initially healthy Thursday morning; had made several complaints of ill health the same day and was rushed to the hospital.

He was later discharged but passed on to glory.

Prof Yankah honoured as education laureate

The President and Vice Chancellor of Central University, Professor Kwesi Yankah was on Thursday July 7 honored for his exceptional and continuous administration and academic contribution to education.

The award was presented to him by H.E. Gerhard Brügger, Ambassador of Switzerland at the Ghana Impact Africa Summit held in Accra.

Professor Yankah was crowned with the Education Laureate Award for also being instrumental in contributing to national and intellectual discourses on education geared towards the growth and development of the country through his numerous articles and addresses on topical issues on education. In his acceptance speech, Prof Yankah expressed his concern about the social disparity and inequities in education as well as access to quality education in Ghana.

This,he indicated is the reality on the ground in some regions as there are still primary schools without shelter and desks and schools with pupils having to travel over 3km across dangerous bridges to get access education. He further mentioned that there is a visible correlation between education and socio economic development, stating that the four poorest regions in Ghana; Upper East, Upper West, Northern and Central incidentally happens to be the four least literate regions; although illiteracy rate has improved from 36% at the time of independence to 75% as of now.

Professor Yankah called for interventions from civil society, development partners, corporate Ghana and individuals for needy but brilliant students after narrating the ordeal of one Dauda, a brilliant young man who would have ended up on the streets but for his intervention. Dauda is currently a student of the University of Ghana Business School. Professor Yankah dedicated the award to all the primary schools he survived including Duakwa Primary School, Akyem Akyeasi Primary School and Kwabena Nkrumah Middle School as well his alma mater Winneba Secondary School which he described as the best senior high school in Ghana.

The maiden edition of the Impact Africa Summit held at the Tang Palace Hotel attracted key members of the diplomatic corps, academia, government officials, civil society, and top local and international business executives among others. Other personalities awarded at the summit included former president J A Kufuor for Leadership & Governance, Professor E.Y. Kwawukume for Health and Farida Bedwei as the African Rising Star. The rest are Ken Ashigbey for Media & Communication and Togbe Afede, for Business & Entrepreneurship.

– See more at: http://citifmonline.com/2016/07/19/prof-yankah-honoured-as-education-laureate/#sthash.my2zM1la.dpuf

The 54th GAAS Founders Week Celebrations Was a Success

The 54th Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences Founders Week celebrations successfully took place as scheduled from the 18th of November to the 22nd of November, 2013 on the theme Education for National Development.

It started with all exuberance with Monday 18th having the induction of twelve (12) newly inducted fellows comprising ten (10) Resident Fellows and two (2) Honorary Fellows  of which eight (8)were present. They were Rev Canon Prof Emeritus John Samuel Pobee; Prof Dr Dr Daniel Buor; prof Wisdom Tettey; Prof Yaw Serfor Armah; Prof Henry Nii Adjiri Wellington; Prof Emmanuel Owusu-Bennoah; Prof Benjamin Jabez Botwe Nyarko; Dr Rose Mamaa Entsua-Mensah.

The two Honorary Fellows Prof Volker ter Meulen and Prof Lorna Casselton and Busumuru Kofi Annan and Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson were absent since they were all out of the country as at the date of the induction.

The President of the Academy Prof Francis Kofi Ampanyin Allotey assisted by the Honorary Secretary, Honorary Treasurer and Vice Presidents for Arts and Sciences took the newly elected fellows through the declaration and swearing in. they were then decorated with the Academy’s broche.

The auditorium was full to capacity as other Fellows, family members, general public, schools and the media thronged to experience and hail the nominees.

The day continued with the Presidential address by the President of the Academy Professor F. K. A. Allotey on the topic “Education in the Age of Rapid Technological Advancement”.

Day two had a symposium which was chaired by Professor Akilagpa Sawyerr on Basic Education in a Changing World with delivery on topics such as “An Assessment of the content and Quality of Basic Education in Ghana”; “Rethinking the role of Stakeholders in Ghana’s  Basic Education” by Doctors Leslie Casely-Hayford, Associates for Change, Accra and Christine Amoako-Nuamah, former Hon Minister of Environment, Science and Technology.

Wednesday November, 20th was no exception when another symposium on the topic Secondary technical Education and skills Training: Bridging the Middle Level Gaps chaired by Professor Aba Bentil Andam was expecting a delivery from three speakers. The various topics which were to be divulged were Reviewing Secondary, Technical Education and Skills Training in Ghana”; “Skills diversification to meet Current and Emerging labour Market Opportunities” and “Sowing the Seeds of Entrepreneurship in Secondary and Technical Education”.

Two of the speakers Doctor George Afeti, Executive Secretary, National Inspectorate Board, Ministry of Education, Accra; Professor G.K.S. Aflakpui, FGA, Rector, Wa Polytechnic, Upper West Region (who was indisposed had his write up delivered on his behalf) delivered their addresses on the 1st and 2nd topics respectfully.  The 3rd speaker Doctor Michael Agyekum Addo, Chief Executive, Kama group of Companies who was to take the third delivery was absent due to circumstances beyond his control.

All the same we had a real exposition on the theme and members present put in their views through questions and contributions to make it a lively occasion.

The symposium: the third and final in the series of the celebration chaired by Professor S.K.A. Danso, FGA, presented all three speakers battling round the bigger picture of “Optimising Tertiary Education to meet Current and Emerging Opportunities”. It talked other sub topics: the first a delivery by Prof Helen Lauer, Department of Philosophy and Classics, University of Ghana on “Higher Education beyond the Labour Market”. The command over the subject exposed listeners to a very good content.

The second speaker Dr Patrick Awuah, President, Ashesi University College, Brekuso, Eastern Region, performed no less as he tried to battle the problems identified in the mix of public and private tertiary institutions. He was all out on his delivery on the topic “Widening Access to Tertiary Education: the mix of Public and Private Participation”.

Finally the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Legon, Professor Ernest Aryeetey, FGA addressed the topic “Addressing the funding Challenges in Ghana’s Tertiary Education Sector”. His experience as a Vice Chancellor propelled a good delivery where he could cite very practical examples in problems and solutions to the topic.

The five day celebration was crowned on the last day with the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Lecture on the Topic “Science, Technology and Innovation for National Development”. The delivery was made by Professor Kwadwo Asenso-Okyere, FGA, Former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Legon. The day had Professor F.K.A. Allotey, FGA, and President of the Academy in the chair.

All speeches delivered during the 54th Founders Week Celebrations are being compiled for its publication soon.

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