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Biography Of Nii Amaa Ollennu.

Nii Amaa Ollennu

Jurist, judge, former Speaker of the Parliament and former Acting President of Ghana

Raphael Nii Amaa Ollennu JSC FGA (21 May 1906 – 22 December 1986) was a jurist and judge who became a Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana from 1962 to 1966, the acting President of Ghana during the Second Republic from 7 August 1970 to 31 August 1970 and the Speaker of the Parliament of Ghana from 1969 to 1972.

Quick Facts: President of GhanaActing Second Republic, Prime Minister ...

The Right Honourable

Nii Amaa Ollennu


Nii Amaa Ollennu

President of Ghana


Second Republic

In office

7 August 1970 – 31 August 1970

Prime Minister

Dr. K.A. Busia

Preceded by

A.A. Afrifa

Succeeded by

Edward Akufo-Addo

Speaker of the Parliament of Ghana

Second Republic

In office

1 October 1969 – 12 January 1972

Preceded by

Kofi Asante Ofori-Atta

(First Republic)

Succeeded by

Jacob Hackenburg Griffiths-Randolph

Third Republic

Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana

In office

1 September 1962 – 1966

Appointed by

Kwame Nkrumah


Kwame Nkrumah

Personal details


21 May 1906

Accra, Gold Coast


22 December 1986 (aged 80)


Ghana Ghanaian


Emily Jiagge

Charlotte Amy Sawyerr

Nana Afua Frema

(Queen-mother of Wenchi)


Kofi Abrefa Busia (brother-in-law)

Nathan Quao (cousin)

Amon Nikoi (nephew)

Nicholas T. Clerk (nephew)

George C. Clerk (nephew)

Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu (nephew)


Amerley Ollennu (daughter)


Accra High School

Presbyterian Training College, Akropong

Middle Temple




Early life and education

Ollennu was born in Labadi, Accra in 1906 and belonged to the Ga people. His parents were Wilfred Kuma Ollennu and Salomey Anerkai Mandin Abbey. Ollennu attended the middle boarding school, the Salem School at Osu . He had his secondary education at Accra High School. Part of his earlier education was at the Presbyterian Training College at Akropong in the Eastern Region of Ghana, where he studied pedagogy and theology. He went to England to study jurisprudence at the Middle Temple, London and was called to the Bar in 1940 after having taken 18 months to complete a three year course passing with distinction - earning recognition from the Queen's Council.

Legal career

The first person in his family to qualify as a lawyer, he was registered as Raphael Nii Amaa Ollennu in the Gold Coast (now Ghana) register in 1940. He later became a puisne judge in 1955, rising through the ranks to become a High Court judge and on 1 September 1962, elevated to a Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana. He also published books on various legal topics and was an authority on traditional African land-tenure system. He was also actively involved with the General Council of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches. He served as the President of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences from 1969 to 1972.


Nii Amaa Ollennu was one of the Accra representatives in the Gold Coast Legislative Assembly during the early 1950s. In 1950, he founded the National Democratic Party, becoming its leader. At the 1951 Gold Coast legislative election, the party failed to win any seats, and the following year, he led it into the Ghana Congress Party. Ollennu was thus in opposition alongside Busia and Danquah to Nkrumah's Convention People's Party.

Interim President of Ghana

During the second republic, Ollennu was the Speaker of the Parliament of Ghana from October 1969 to January 1972. He also became the acting president of Ghana on 7 August 1970. He was officially the chairman of the Presidential Commission. He took over from the previous military leader, Lt. Gen. Afrifa and handed over on 31 August 1970 to Edward Akufo-Addo who was elected on 31 August 1970 by an electoral college. He polled 123 votes to 35 by Edward Asafu Adjaye. This was a ceremonial presidency as executive power was held by the prime minister, Kofi Abrefa Busia. During the Second Republic of Ghana, Ollennu served as Speaker of the Parliament of Ghana.

Personal life

Nii Amaa Ollennu married four times. His first wife was Emily Jiagge of Keta in the Volta Region whose grandfather was Togbui Tamakloe, Chief of Uti. He had two children with her: Amerley Ollennu and Boni-Ashitey Ollennu, a barrister in London. He then married Charlotte Amy Sawyerr (née Mettle), the daughter of the Rev. John Josiah Mettle and Mrs. Marian Anohuma Mettle (née Harvey). They had two children together: Noni-Ashitey (Fio) and Ashitei. Mettle had five other children from another marriage. She died in 2016, aged 103 years. One of his wives was Nana Afua Frema Busia, the Queenmother of Wenchi and a sister to Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia, Prime Minister of Ghana. A daughter of Justice Nii Amaa Ollennu and Nana Afua Frema Busia, Amerley Ollennu Awua-Asamoa, was appointed Ghana's Ambassador to Denmark in 2017.


Nii Amaa Ollennu was the cousin of the Quao siblings, including Nathan Quao (1915 – 2005), a diplomat, educationist and public servant who became a presidential advisor to many Heads of State of Ghana. The progeny of the Quaos included Amon Nikoi (1930 – 2002), an economist and diplomat, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana from 1973 to 1977 and Finance minister from 1979 to 1981 in addition to the brothers, Nicholas T. Clerk (1930 – 2012), a former Rector of the GIMPA and George C. Clerk (1931–2019), the botanist. Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu, a NASA robotics engineer, is Ollennu's nephew.


Nii Amaa Ollennu died in December 1986.

See also

Speaker of the Parliament of Ghana

List of judges of the Supreme Court of Ghana

Supreme Court of Ghana


Ollennu, Nii Amaa (1962). Principles of Customary Land Law in Ghana. Law in Africa Volume 2. London: Sweet and Maxwell. OCLC 877770.

Humphrey, J.; Fiseer, N. A.; Ollennu, Nii Amaa (1966). The Law of Testate and Intestate Succession in Ghana. Law in Africa Volume 16. London: Sweet and Maxwell. B0000CN89R.

Ollennu, Nii Amaa; Gordon R. Woodman (1985). Ollennu's Principles of Customary Land Law in Ghana (2nd ed.). Birmingham: CAL Press. ISBN 978-0-9510530-0-3.

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