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Thu. Nov 30th, 2023

Dr R P Baffour is legendary in Ghana for having been the primary Ghanaian to be appointed Principal and later Vice-Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah College of Science and Expertise (KNUST), Kumasi. A detailed good friend of Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first Prime Minister and President, Dr Baffour misplaced his job in 1967 because the navy authorities of the day eliminated the final vestiges of Nkrumah’s regime. The creator didn’t arrive in Ghana till February 1971, so he feels himself lucky to have met, and even come to know, the nice pioneering engineer who left an indelible impression on Ghana’s foremost engineering college.

Based in 1952 by the amalgamation of a number of schools, on land donated by the Asantehene (King of Ashanti) Prempeh II, the establishment that was to change into KNUST was guided in its early days by two distinguished British lecturers: Dr J P Andrews (1952 – 54) and Dr W E Duncanson (1954 – 1960). Dr R P Baffour was appointed Principal in 1960, the 12 months that Kwame Nkrumah remodeled Ghana right into a Republic with himself as President. Two years later, Dr Baffour was appointed the primary Vice-Chancellor of the fledgling college. He instantly set about remodeling 18 sq. kilometres of secondary bush into one of many world’s most lovely college campuses.

Within the process that he set himself, R P Baffour’s friendship with the President was an excellent assist. Tales of these eventful years have change into apocryphal. College buildings, college students’ halls of residence, an excellent meeting corridor, and a formidable library constructing rose out of the pink lateritic soil and have been surrounded by intensive lawns adorned by flowering shrubs and timber. Shady tree-lined avenues joined tutorial areas to administrative, neighborhood and business centres and residential estates.

When a time got here that the President grew weary of such heavy expenditure it’s mentioned that the Vice-Chancellor would order the foundations of the following nice construction to be dug and invite his good friend to return and think about progress and launch funds for the constructing to be accomplished. How Dr Baffour persuaded Nkrumah to fund an Olympic-size swimming pool to draw distinguished international lecturers to the college is a secret that will by no means be revealed.

Dr R P Baffour left behind in Kumasi a status as a sensible, hands-on engineer. It was associated how when driving from Kumasi to Accra he stumbled on a State Transport bus that had damaged down. He stopped his automotive and glued the issue with the bus earlier than resuming his journey. On one other journey to Accra he determined to go by rail and talked the driving force into letting him journey within the locomotive and take the controls. Even when these tales have been embellished by retelling, it’s clear that the primary Vice-Chancellor supplied a job mannequin for the type of engineer his nation wanted and his college sought to coach.

For some years after Dr Baffour’s departure, and with the previous president overthrown and out of favour, Kumasi College dropped ‘Kwame Nkrumah’ from its identify. Nonetheless, in the middle of time previous sentiments light and well-known names have been restored. R P Baffour was referred to as to Kumasi to obtain an honorary Physician of Science diploma from the college he as soon as led. Someday after the ceremony, the creator got here throughout the nice man alone, descending the steps from the Nice Corridor and together with his magnificent robe nonetheless on his bowed shoulders. He appeared to be significantly moved and was probably delaying his departure till he had composed himself. Without end the gentleman, he responded to phrases of congratulation and with tears on his cheeks added, ‘To suppose that this might occur to me!’

The final time that the creator met Dr Baffour was in Accra on the College Visitor Home. This time he discoursed at size upon his newest mission. He needed to construct a plant on the coast close to his hometown, Cape Coast, to electrolyse sea water and produce chlorine and sodium hydroxide. This he felt might present the muse for a chemical and plastics business. The previous man has gone and the plant has not but been constructed, however when it does ultimately change into a actuality it will be becoming if it bore his identify.

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