The newly constructed overpass at Alajo junction, in Accra, is to be named after George Alfred Grant, also known as Paa Grant, the founder and President of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC).
Hackman Owusu Agyemang, Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, announced this in his contribution to tributes to Paa Grant in Parliament yesterday.
He said this is in recognition of the pioneering role played by Paa Grant in the independence struggle.
Members of Parliament (MPs) paid glowing tribute to Paa Grant, describing him as the "father of Gold Coast politics."
This was occasioned by a statement made on the floor of the House by Lee Ocran (NDC Jomoro).
He said Paa Grant, was the father of Gold Coast politics and had a long and distinguished public career.
Mr Ocran said: "This was a man who offered his personal resources for the emancipation of Gold Coast citizens but has not been accorded the honour he deserves. A street in Tema has been named after him and a statue of his has been erected at a roundabout at Takoradi, I believe he deserves better."
Giving his life history, Mr Ocran said after Paa Grant completed his education, he was employed in the timber business where he rose through the ranks to establish his own timber firm, George Grant and Company in 1896.
He became a member of the Aborigines Rights Protection Society, member of the Legislative Council and the Provincial Council.
He was instrumental in introducing street lighting and pipe borne water to Sekondi and Axim and extension to the Sekondi Hospital.
Although a businessman, Paa Grant was worried about the political situation in the Gold Coast, especially the lack of opportunities for Gold Coasters and the need to emancipate them.
Through his business operations, the suppression of the aspirations of the indigenous people became very clear to him. He decided to do something about the situation," Mr Ocran said.
Thus, in 1947, Paa Grant had the idea of forming a political movement, the UGCC, to fight for the eventual independence for the Gold Coast.
He was supported by R.S. Blay, Dr. J.B. Danquah, Ako Adjei as first and second vice secretary to the movement respectively.
He said Paa Grant remained the main financier of the UGCC and it was he who sent 100 pounds to Dr. Kwame Nkrumah to return to the Gold Coast to take up the General Secretaryship of the UGCC after he had been recommended by Ako Adjei.
Mr. Ocran said Paa Grant was the first African to establish a sawmill in the Gold Coast but because of his political activities, he was denied extension of power to his sawmill.
Accordingly, Mr. Ocran said, Paa Grant was forced to operate the mill on gas which made his operation unprofitable.
Mr. Ocran said after Dr Nkrumah had split from the UGCC to form the Convention People’s Party (CPP) following the defeat of UGCC in the 1951 elections, the Convention became defunct and Paa Grant concentrated more on his businesses than politics.
"He and Dr. Nkrumah however maintained contact. Dr. Nkrumah visited him at Axim two days before he died in October, 1956 aged 78," he added.
Kojo Armah (CPP – Evalu Gwira) commended Paa Grant for his selfless and dedicated services to the nationalist movement and added that Paa Grant’s house at Axim, accommodated the Bank of West African now Barclays Bank.
Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, expressed regret that he found it difficult to locate Paa Grant’s grave when he paid a visit to Axim.
He urged the assembly and the traditional rulers to give him a befitting honour for the youth to emulate him while suggesting that his house be made a national monument.
Minority Leader, Alban Bagbin, recalling the role of Paa Grant to the independence struggle, said he should be referred to as the "Doyen of Ghana Politics."
Mr Bagbin suggested that more research should be conducted on his works to come out with more publications to serve as a role model for future generations to emulate.