Abbreviation or not: The confusion around the real meaning of “Busia” | Find out

Dr Kofi Abrefa Busia was Prime Minister of Ghana from 1969 to 1972

Abbreviation or not: The confusion around the real meaning of “Busia” | Find out

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From tales and, sometimes, what others have claimed to be facts, it has emerged that the surname of Ghana’s Prime Minister between 1969 and 1972, Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia, has been contested because of its actual meaning or nomenclature.

While the actual meaning of the name Busia cannot be independently stated by GhanaWeb, some people believed the name was rather an abbreviation.

According to a report published by, it is claimed that Busia was a name that was accorded to Ghana’s second prime minister by the colonial masters.

The details of the report have it that Nicholas Osei, popularly known as Prophet Kumchacha, founder and leader of Heaven’s Gate Ministries, claimed this during a radio interview.

He is said to have stated that he believes that Busia was the “truest brilliant scholar he has ever heard of,” while adding that even the composition of his name was an abbreviation.

Interestingly, he claimed the name “BUSIA” is the acronym for “Best University Scholar in Africa.

The claim, however, has been challenged by a scholar with close ties to the former prime minister.

Actually, this scholar, Kofi Abrefa Busia, –a man named after Dr. Busia who teaches history and social studies at the Seventh Day Adventist at Bekwai, said that this assertion is wrong.

Dr. Kofi Busia stated that his father was a personal secretary to Prime Minister Busia in the 1960s and that the original name was Bosea (gravels), and not Busia as known now, the report added.

“The name Busia is of a typical Wenchi origin. The name was Bosea, which is gravel, meaning ‘many’.

“He was called Bosea because he had charisma and could draw a lot of people around him wherever he goes. So just as gravels are many, he was associated with it considering the number of people he could garner within his circus wherever he would be found. But it was adulterated by the white teachers during his (Dr. Busia’s) primary education, and Bosea became Busia.

“Modern scholars have tried to give another meaning to the name because of his wonderful academic performance, thus “Best University Scholar in Africa.” The name came before the acronym,” he told OnuaOnline.

He further explained the relationship his father had with Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia and how he came to understand the true meaning of the name.

“My father is from Wenchi. He was a politician and personal secretary to Dr. Busia in the 1960s. So he named me after him. About 20 years ago, I went to Wenchi, the hometown of Dr Busia, and paid a courtesy call to the queen mother, where I got the opportunity to ask for the origin and the meaning of the name “Busia”, and she gave me that explanation,” the report added.

Kofi Abrefa Busia (July 11, 1913 – August 28, 1978) was a Ghanaian political leader and academic who was Prime Minister of Ghana from 1969 to 1972. As a nationalist leader and prime minister, he helped restore civilian government to the country following military rule.

Busia was born a Bono prince in the traditional kingdom of Wenchi, in the then Brong Ahafo region of Ghana.

He was educated at Methodist School, Wenchi, Mfantsipim School, Cape Coast, and then at Wesley College, Kumasi, from 1931 to 1932. He taught at Wesley College and left to study at Achimota College in 1935 and taught there.

He gained his first degree with Honours in Medieval and Modern History from the University of London through correspondence during this period. He then went on to study at University College, Oxford, where he was the college’s first African student.

He returned to the Gold Coast in 1942. He took a BA (Hons) in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (1941, MA 1946) and a DPhil in Social Anthropology in 1947 at Nuffield College, Oxford, with a thesis entitled “The position of the chief in the modern political system of Ashanti: a study of the influence of contemporary social changes on Ashanti political institutions”. He was a Fulbright scholar in 1954.

Busia served as a district commissioner from 1942 to 1949 and was appointed the first lecturer in African Studies. He became the first African to occupy a chair at the University College of the Gold Coast (now the University of Ghana). In 1951, he was elected by the Ashanti Confederacy to the Legislative Council. In 1952, he was the leader of the Ghana Congress Party, which later merged with the other opposition parties to form the United Party (UP).

As leader of the opposition against Kwame Nkrumah, he fled the country on the grounds that his life was under threat. In 1959, Busia became a professor of sociology and culture of Africa at the University of Leiden near the Hague, Netherlands. From 1962 until 1969, he was a Fellow of St. Antony’s College, Oxford.

He returned to Ghana in March 1966, after Nkrumah’s government was overthrown by the military, to serve on the National Liberation Council (NLC) of General Joseph Ankrah, the military head of state, and was appointed as the Chairman of the National Advisory Committee of the NLC. In 1967/68, Busia served as the Chairman of the Centre for Civic Education.

He used this opportunity to promote himself as the next leader. He also was a Member of the Constitutional Review Committee. When the NLC lifted the ban on politics, Busia, together with Lawyer Sylvester Kofi Williams and friends in the defunct UP formed the Progress Party (PP).

In 1969, the PP won the parliamentary elections with 105 of the 140 seats. This paved the way for him to become the next Prime Minister. Busia continued with NLC’s anti-Nkrumaist stance and adopted a liberalised economic system. There was a mass deportation of half a million Nigerian citizens from Ghana, and a 44 percent devaluation of the cedi in 1971, which met with a lot of resistance from the public.

While he was in Britain for a medical check-up, the army under Colonel Ignatius Kutu Acheampong overthrew his government on January 13 1972. Busia remained in exile in England and returned to Oxford University, where he died from a heart attack in August 1978.

Busia’s name is associated with Ghana’s political right, along with J. B. Danquah and S. D. Dombo.

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