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Kofi Baako: Ghanaian who set record as youngest minister in British Commonwealth of Nations

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On day 15 of the Adom brands of the Multimedia Group’s celebration of outstanding Ghanaians, adomonline.com does a low-down on a popular figure in the pre-independence and immediate post-independence era, Kofi Baako.

Mr Baako was a Ghanaian sportsman, teacher and politician who served as Minister for Defence in the Nkrumah government during the First Republic of Ghana until it was overthrown in 1966.

He was also a minister for various other ministries throughout the reign of the Convention People’s Party.

Kofi Baako’s father was a teacher too and as such made him start school when he was only three years old.

On completion of his elementary school education at the Roman Catholic School in his native Saltpond, he continued with his secondary school education at St. Augustine’s College in Cape Coast.

Baako became a teacher and later a civil servant who was inspired by the speeches of Kwame Nkrumah, advocating for independence for Ghana.

This inspired him to write an article, “My Hatred of Imperialism” which resulted in him being fired from his job.

He later met Nkrumah who made him editor-in-chief of the Cape Coast Daily Mail when he was still only twenty years old.

Another article he subsequently wrote while with the Daily Mail was “We Call for Freedom.”

This got him imprisoned by the colonial government along with Nkrumah and some other leaders of the Convention People’s Party.

Later when Nkrumah eventually won elections and formed a government, some of these men who were in prison with him became ministers in Nkrumah’s government.

Kofi Baako was elected as a Member of Parliament for Saltpond in the Central Region of Ghana and was subsequently appointed a Minister of State by Kwame Nkrumah in his colonial government prior to independence.

He continued in various capacities throughout the duration of the Nkrumah government.

In the earlier years of the government, he was initially a Minister without a portfolio prior to being appointed Minister for Information and Broadcasting in August 1957, making him the youngest minister not only in Ghana but in the whole of the British Commonwealth of Nations.

He was appointed into office when he was only 29 years old.

Baako served as Minister for Defence between September 1961 and 24 February 1966.

He was reputed to have been good in sports and was active in soccer, cricket and was the national table tennis champion.

His hobbies included reading and photography.

Baako had four children. One of them, Kweku Baako Jnr is himself a celebrated journalist and editor-in-chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper.

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