Omanhene of the New Juaben Traditional Area, Daasebre Oti Boateng, has passed away at the age of 83 after a brief illness.
READ ALSO: Daasebre Oti Boateng joins ancestors
Emeritus Professor Emmanuel Oti Boateng was the paramount chief of New Juaben, a settlement of refugees from the war in Asanteman, established in the Eastern Region in 1875.
He succeeded his blood brother Nana Kwaku Boateng II as the paramount chief of New Juaben in 1992, taking the stool name Daasebre.
Daasebre Oti Boateng was born on 11 March 1938 to Opanyin Kwame Ti of Asante Juaben and Nana Akosua Akyamaa, queen mother of Juaben, both now deceased. His parents had six children in all: three boys and three girls.
They include Nana Otuo Siriboe II, the chief of Asante Juaben and current president of the Council of State, Obaapanyin Mary Boaitey (Nana Adiyaa) and Nana Akosua Akyamaa II, the current queen mother of Asante Juaben.
Daasebre belonged to the Yiadom-Hwedie royal lineage of Juaben, Asante Juaben and New Juaben.
A global authority on statistics, he was the Chancellor of All Nations University in Koforidua and a recipient of many national and international awards.
These included recognition as one of the greatest minds of the 21st century by the American Biographical Institute.
Early life and education
Daasebre Oti Boateng was a brilliant student from youth. He earned his Division One school leaver’s certificate at Konongo Odumase Secondary School before moving on to Prempeh College in Kumasi for the sixth form.
It was while he was at Prempeh College that the course of his career as a statistician was shaped, by a headteacher. The headmaster, after going through Nana’s academic records, decided to add mathematics to the young man’s subjects even though he was studying arts.
Despite the odd combination of subjects, Daasebre excelled in his A-levels. He also won a nationwide essay competition in 1961 on the theme “The Advantages of the Volta River Project”.
He studied economics at the University of Ghana, Legon and obtained a Bachelor of Science (BSc Hons) in 1966. He then received a scholarship from Legon to study for a Master’s degree in statistics at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). On completing these studies, he returned to Ghana in 1969.
Daasebre was unrelenting in his quest for knowledge and 1976 he won a Ford Foundation scholarship to pursue a doctorate, again in statistics, at the University of Liverpool in England.
He also earned a Master of Business Administration degree in taxation from Golden Gate University in San Francisco, California, in 1983. He held a second PhD, in accounting and finance, from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland, and in 2006 he obtained a third Master’s degree – an MSc in finance, from Boston College, Massachusetts.
Achievement and recognition
As Omanhene of the New Juaben Traditional Area, he institutionalised the first post-independence traditional festival in the country – the Akwantukese, or “Great Migration” – which brought to the fore a forgotten but important event in the history of the Asantes in Ghana.
Daasebre Oti Boateng was the president of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs.
He was appointed to senior officials as the Ghana Government Statistician, a position he held for 18 years, between 1982 and 2000. In the course of serving as Government Statistician, he became the first African chairman of the United Nations Statistical Commission in 1987.
At the 15th Session of the International Conference of Labor Statisticians, held in Geneva, he became the first African chairman of that body, too. He also served as a United Nations commissioner on the International Civil Service Commission from 2003 to 2018.
Daasebre published over 95 technical works, in the areas of governance, economics, population and health, statistics, disaster management and policy issues. He was also the author of five books – Akwantukese Festival 2017, Barack Obama, Africa’s Gift to the World and his trilogy Development in Unity, which was launched in Accra in 2019.
Among honours abroad, he was decorated with an insignia of the International Civil Service Commission at the United Nations headquarters in New York. At home, he was honoured as a founding father for the 2019 masonic year by the Grand Lodge of Ghana.
In a private conversation with another traditional leader, recounted to Asaase Radio’s correspondent, Daasebre eerily foretold his death barely three weeks before he joined his ancestors on 9 August 2021.
He is survived by 12 children.
Nana Boateng, Daasebre’s son and the Akyempimhene of New Juaben, fondly remembers his father as a “man who loved to teach, a disciplinarian who was quick to point you the right way, and a man who enjoyed his jazz”.
Nana Boateng says Daasebre Oti Boateng loved to write and lived by the saying “The pen is mightier than the sword”. An exemplary leader, he championed a “root-based model of development”: Daasebre believed people should not depend solely on governments to find solutions to challenges that lie within their capacity to solve.
It was a principle he stood by throughout his reign as the Omanhene of New Juaben.