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Ignatius Kutu Acheampong
|6th Head of state of Ghana*|
13 January 1972 – 5 July 1978
|Deputy||None – (1972 – Oct 1975)|
Lt. Gen. F.W.K. Akuffo (1975–1978)
|Preceded by||Edward Akufo-Addo|
|Succeeded by||Lt. Gen. F.W.K. Akuffo|
|Born||23 September 1931|
|Died||16 June 1979 (aged 47)|
|Years of service||1951–1978|
|Unit||Royal West African Frontier Force|
|*Head of State of a military government|
Ignatius Kutu Acheampong (// ə-CHAM-PONG) (23 September 1931 – 16 June 1979) was a military head of state of Ghana who ruled from 13 January 1972 to 5 July 1978, when he was deposed in a palace coup. He was later executed by firing squad.
Acheampong was born to Catholic parents of Ashanti origin. He attended the Roman Catholic schools at Trabuom and the St Peter's school (also Catholic) at Kumasi, both in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. He attended the then Central College of Commerce at Agona swedru in the central region of Ghana. He was commissioned in the Ghana Army in 1959, and served as part a member of the UN peacekeepers during the Congo Crisis.
Acheampong led a bloodless coup d'état to overthrow the democratically elected government of the Progress Party and its leader Dr. Kofi Busia on 13 January 1972. He became Head of State and Chairman of the National Redemption Council (NRC), which was later transformed into the Supreme Military Council on 9 October 1975, with Colonel Acheampong (promoted to General) as its chairman.
Notable historical changes and events introduced or implemented in Ghana during the period under Acheampong include: the change from the imperial to the metric system of measurement, change from driving on the left to right-hand drive in "Operation Keep Right", "Operation Feed Yourself" (a programme aimed at developing self-reliance in agriculture), "National Reconstruction" (aimed at promoting employment and skill for workers), face-lift projects in cities, and the reconstruction/upgrading of stadia to meet international standards.
There were, however, widespread accusations of both the encouragement and endorsement of corruption in the country under his rule.
Acheampong sought to perpetuate the military in government by introducing a model called "Union Government" or "Unigov" for short. This became a very contentious national issue which was vehemently opposed by many. A referendum held on 30 March 1978 to accept or reject this concept was widely believed to be rigged, though the official results were 60.11% for and 39.89% against. The electoral commissioner at the time, Justice Isaac Kobina Abban (who later became Chief Justice), went into hiding from the government for fear of his life after coming under pressure to manipulate results.
Acheampong was deposed in a palace coup on 5 July 1978 and succeeded by the Chief of Defence Staff, Lt. General Fred Akuffo. He remained under virtual house arrest at Trabuom in the Ashanti Region until the advent of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC).
Acheampong, was court martialed and executed along with General E.K. Utuka by firing squad on 16 June 1979, 10 days prior to the execution of former Heads of State (Gen. Afrifa and Gen. Akuffo) and other senior military officers (Amedume, Boakye, Felli and Kotei), following the 4th of June revolution that brought Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings and the AFRC to power.
In furtherance of the UNIGOV policy, a referendum was held on 30 March 1978 to ascertain the wishes of Ghanaians on the issue. Halfway through the referendum, the Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Justice Isaac Kobina Abban, a judge of the High Court, had to give up his job and fled into hiding, apparently to save his life.
| Head of state of Ghana
Head of state
J. Kwesi Lamptey
| Minister for Defence
Joseph Henry Mensah
| Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs
T.D. Brodie Mends
| Minister for Information
Colonel C.R. Tachie Menson