Ivory Coast: Was Houphouet-Boigny a Ghanaian?


Felix Houphouet-Boigny

Felix Houphouet-Boigny

It has officially been established the first Ivorian President, Felix Houphouet-Boigny, who ruled Ivory Coast from independence was a royal of Nsuta in the Sekyere Central District of the Ashanti Region of Ghana.



Some Ivorian refugees fleeing the political conflict, who claim to be descendants of Houphouet-Boigny have been tracing their roots to the town about 45 kilometers from Ghana’s second capital, Kumasi.

Paramount Chief of Nsuta,a traditional ruler, Nana Adu-Agyei Bonsafo III confirmed the late Ivorian leader, his mother and other relatives migrated, on a date he (the chief) cannot readily remember, to Sakassou in the Vallee Bandama Region of Ivory Coast many years ago.

Even before his demise on December 7, 1993, Mr. Houphouet-Boigny had made several attempts to return to his roots at Nsuta. He actually built a private residence in the town.

The paramount chief told Nhyira FM’s Ohemeng Tawiah the late Houphouet-Boigny, a medical doctor and politician belonged to the Dako Royal Gate, whose members are traditionally occupants of the Nsuta Stool. Nana Bonsafo is the traditional uncle of the Asantehene, the great Asante King.

On the instructions of the Nsutamanhene, a linguist took me round and showed me a

Allhassane Quattara and Felix Houphouet-Boigny
Allhassane Quattara and Felix Houphouet-Boigny

family piece of land where the late Houphouet-Boigny and his family once lived. The original structures on the plot have, over the years, been devastated by hash weather.

At one of the family houses, I was told of how a Minister of State in the erstwhile government of Dr. K.A. Busia, allegedly changed documents of a building belonging to the late Ivorian President.

Mr. Hophouet-Boigny is said to have given huge sums of money in CFA francs in 1960s to the Ghanaian Minister who was on a visit to the Presidential Palace in Cote d’Ivoire, to put up the building for him.

This is where the late Ivorian President and his entourage would have lodged on a planned visit to Nsuta in Ghana at the time.

According to Nana Adu-Agyei, after several failed bids to re-unite with his family back home, the longest serving President of Ivory Coast invited then Nsutahene, Nana Yaw Sekeyre, to the Francophone country, but the late chief could not honour the invitation until his death.

A delegation was sent to Ghana, following the death of Mr. Houphouet-Boigny in 1993, to inform the Nsutamanhene, and also ask him to officially announce the death. Nana subsequently attended the funeral two months later in 1994.

Story by Ohemeng Tawiah, Nhyira Fm-Kumasi/Ghana