The Yani Gushei Naa, Professor Abubakar Al-Hassan, who died on November 23rd at the Tamale Teaching Hospital at age 74, after a short illness, has been buried.
Naa Al-Hassan was born in Gumbihini, a suburb of Tamale in 1942 during the Second World war. He was a member of the 1990-1992 consultative assembly that drew up the fourth republic constitution of Ghana.
He introduced a proposal for the adoption of “proportional representation in parliament “instead of the present “winner takes all” system. A motion on it was debated extensively but it was not adopted.
Naa Al-Hassan, Ph.d, was a member of Danish Federation of Architects, (DAL), and a fellow of the Ghana Institute of Architects (FGIA). He did not have the opportunity to attend school early as the only primary schools in Tamale in the 1950s was the Government Practice School in Bagabaga for Training of Teachers and where admission was just for about 30 children.
His parents tried on several occasions to get him into that school without success.
However, when the family moved from Gumbihini to Tamale, an opportunity came when his father approached Mr. R.S. Iddrisu Zanabongo, the leader of the Convention Peoples Party (CPP) in the Northern Territories to assist.
Mr. Zanabongo got him enrolled in 1952 in the United Primary School (owned by the Presbyterian and Methodist Churches) otherwise known as KULIKULI School in Tamale. Akan was the medium of instruction (this accounts for Naa Prof. Al-Hassan’s fluency in Twi Language).
He later transferred to Lamashegu Primary School. From where they were promoted to open the newly established Dabokpa Middle School in Tamale. He passed the Common Entrance Examination in 1959 and was admitted into the Government Secondary School, Tamale in 1959.
In 1964, Naa Al-Hassan wrote the West African School Certificate Examination, passed and got admission into Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in October the same year into the Preliminary Architecture programme, to pursue some basic architecture courses and at the same time to write the Advanced Level G.C.E Examination. He completed the Eight (8) years Architecture Programme in 1972 with the First and Second Degrees.
The late professor attended the Royal Danish Academy School of Architecture (KUNDSAKAMIET) and COPENHAGEN UNIVERSITY, DENMARK.
In the same year 1972, Naa Prof. Al-Hassan won a Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) fellowship into the Royal Danish Academy School of Architecture in Copenhagen for Specialisation in Building Conservation and Restoration and later a Ph.D program in Human Settlements Planning in Copenhagen University.
The late Yani Gushei Naa was appointed a lecturer in the architecture department of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Kumasi, on his return to Ghana in 1975 where he taught architecture for a number of years.
In 1979, he was elected member of parliament for Tamale on the ticket of the Social Democratic Front (SDF) party. He was the parliamentary leader of the SDF.
In 1981, when the ruling PNP government was overthrown and parliament dissolved, he left Ghana and was appointed Reader in the Engineering Faculty of University of Ibadan in Nigeria to head the Architecture Unit and to develop architecture programme for the University.
Naa Prof. Al-Hassan was recalled to Ghana in 1983 and appointed Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) Secretary (Minister) for the Ministry of Public Works and Housing. He held this position until 1985 when he resigned from the PNDC to take a job as Director of Development at the University of Ghana, where he worked for many years and retired in 2002.
PRINCIPAL, TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF TAMALE
With passion for education, Naa Prof. Al-Hassan until his death was the Principal of the Technical University College of Tamale the only private technical university which he founded in 2002. This is the premier and currently the only private university college in the three Northern Regions of Ghana. The University is affiliated with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi.
WESTERN DAGOMBA DISTRICT COUNCIL TAMALE:
In 1977, Naa Prof. Abubakr Al-Hassan was elected Chairman of Western Dagomba District Council. His duties included chairing meetings of the council and other committees such as executive committee, finance committee and planning Committee. Assisting the district chief Executive in drawing up bye laws for consideration by the council.
The late professor achieved a great deal before his death. Among those achievements was his initiation in helping establish a sister city link between Tamale and the city of Louisville, in the U.S. A. In addition, he also prepared and sponsored the passing of appropriate bye-laws for the Tamale Land use project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
From 1987-1992, Naa Al-hassan was chairman of the Ghana Technical team that worked with the China, from the inception through design to construction of the Ghana National Theatre.
From 1998 – 2001 Naa Prof. Al-Hassan was the National Chairman and leader of the Convention Peoples Party (CPP).
NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION (NGOS)
Whiles studying in Denmark, Naa Prof. Al-Hassan teamed up with his Danish friends to find Ghana Venskabgrupperne I Denmark (GV) (Ghana Friendship Groups in Denmark) and its Ghanaian Counterpart, Ghana Developing Communities Association (GDCA). These NGOS funded by the Danish International Assistance (DANIDA) have been carrying out community integrated development projects in Northern Ghana for the past 30 years.
Their subsidiaries are: School for Life Programme (SFL), Functional Literacy Programme for out of school children (supported by Dagbon Traditional Council) which has sent over 30,000 children who would have missed school back to school.
The Community Life Improvement Programme (CLIP) ( Engaged in water and sanitation, assistance to rural communities in the Eastern Corridor of Northern Ghana) The Dalun Simli Centre (DSC) ( Engaged in rural training of trainers and advocacy) The Simli Pong Micro-Credit Scheme. (Engaged in provision of micro-credit to women groups) Simli Radio (Rural Radio Station Serving rural Communities)
UNIVERSITY OF THE NORTH PROJECT 1990 -1994 (UNIVERSITY FOR DEVELOPMENT STUDIES. UDS)
In 1991 a committee was set up by Government to bring the “University of the North Project” into being and Naa Prof. Arkitekt Abubakr Al-Hassan was appointed Technical Sub- CommitteeChairman. Since there were no funds for the activities of the committee, Naa Prof. Abubakr Al-Hassan constituted his own TEAM with staff from his private practice (Mebu Architects and Planners) and staff from his Legon Development office to undertake the field work of travelling throughout Northern Ghana to identify, document and make recommendation for completion and or rehabilitation of structures identified for use of the proposed University. The following were some of the achievements:
In Tamale at Choggu-Manayili, uncompleted Soil Research Institute buildings (70%) completed was identified for Central Administration of the proposed University. Drawings were prepared for their completion by the team and a proposal for the takeover was made to Government.
TAMALE OLD HOSPITAL
The old Regional Hospital was vacant at that time; the team accompanied by some Cuban Medical Professors recommended the new Regional hospital to be the Proposed University Teaching Hospital and the old hospital to revert to Regional hospital with the addition of some new structures. Drawings of the old hospital could not be found at Public Works Department (PWD) and all the structures had to be redrawn by the team.
At Nyankpala, the Agricultural Training Institute was identified and with the cooperation of the then Minister, for Agriculture the students were transferred to Damongo Agricultural Training institute and the structures taken over for the University. Drawings for their rehabilitation were prepared by the team.
At Navarongo, the team identified structures of the Netherland Government funded Institute for Communication and Training (IFCAT) belonging to the Upper Region Agricultural DevelopmentProgramme (URADEP). Proposals were submitted to URADEP for taking over the structures and project drawings prepared for their rehabilitation by the team.
At Wa, structures been constructed by the Upper Regional Administration for District Centrewere identified and some released to the University for Completion.
ISLAMIC SECONDARY SCHOOL FOR SCIENCE, TAMALE
Since all structures identified in the field could not be used immediately as they needed rehabilitation or completion, and the University had to start, Naa Prof. Abubakr Al- Hassan, a consultant for Islamic Development Bank (IDB) funded projects in Ghana, approached the IDB for possible temporary use of the facility; he being the founder of the school and also a consultant of IDB in the West Africa sub- region. IDB agreed to release the facility for use by the proposed University for three years. Thus the University started from there.
DIRECTOR MEBU ARCHITECTS AND PLANNERS
Naa Prof. Abubakr Al- Hassan is the director and founder of Mebu Architects and planners anArchitectural and Engineering consultancy Firm established in 1975.
Since its establishment the Firm has handled a number of Government and private projects including Restoration of Elmina Castle , Designing and Supervising of constructions of Upper Region Agricultural Development Programme ( URADEP) buildings, Ghana Institute of Languages, Legon campus buildings, over 12 colleges and schools buildings funded by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in Ghana and number of schools and Hospitals projects in the west Africa sub region.
TRUSTEE OF GHANA HERITAGE CONSERVATION TRUST (GHCT) – 1990-2004
Naa Prof. Abubakr Al Hassan was a Trustee of the Ghana Heritage Conservation (GHCT) set up to manage a two million US Dollars Endowment made by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to be invested in specified areas and the yield used to maintain the Forts and Castles and the Kakum Natural Reserve. Naa Prof. Al -Hassan has been Chairman of the Forts and Castles Component of the Endowments throughout the period.
Naa Prof. Al –Hassan was a member of the above consultative assembly. He introduced a proposal for the adoption of “proportional representation in parliament “instead of the present “winner takes all” system. A motion on it was debated very well but could not be carried.
On May 11, 2012, Prof. Al-Hassan was enskinned in Yendi as Yani-Gushei –Naa, chief of Gushei, a community 30 miles North of Tamale on the Tamale – Bolgatanga Road.
On Friday 2, December 2016' Hundreds of mourners both Ghana and abroad on Friday paid their last respect to one of the academicians and philanthropists in the north, .
Among them at the 7th day Adua were the council of state member Vo-Naa M.B Bawa, chief executive officer of engineers and planners and younger brother of the Ghana's president, Ibrahim Mahama, professor Walter Sandow, Business men and politician Paul Afoko and his brother Dr Afoko, paramount chiefs across the northern Ghana and government functionaries.
Various tributes poured in from The Ghana Friendship Association in Denmark represented by Henrik Jensen, his family and others.