GNA loses first General Manager

GNA loses first General Manager

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Dr Isaac Goodwin Aikins

The Ghana News Agency (GNA) has lost its first General Manager, Dr Isaac Goodwin Aikins, formerly known as Dr.

Dr Aikens, who served the Agency from 1961 to 1966, died on Friday, October 2, after a short illness, at age 91.

Dr Aikens took over from Donald Wright, who was seconded by the Reuters News Agency to set up the Ghana News Agency at the request of Ghana’s First President, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah.

His professional career began at the Agency in 1958, where he served as a trainee reporter, reporter sub-editor and foreign correspondent.

During that time, he spent nine months on attachment to the Reuters News Agency in London and Paris, studying media organisation, inter-media personnel relations, administration and news management.

Several short stints followed during which he held a Special Duties position at the Ministry of Information from 1966 to 1967; Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs from 1967 to 1968; Managing Director of the Ghana Tourist Corporation from 1968 to 1970; and Registrar of the University of Cape Coast in 1970.

He was also an Assistant Director, Information and Culture Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, from 1970 to 1971; and Secretary of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration from 1971 to 1972.

He was also named the Director of the Ghana Information Services Department in 1972, where he served for eight years.

From 1980 to 1981, he served as a UNESCO Consultant to the Pan African News Agency (PANA) and to news agencies in West, Central and East Africa.

Dr Aikins prepared the project for the West German funding of the West African News Agency Development Project (WANAD), currently based in Cotonou, Benin.

In 1980, he also served as a member of the Commonwealth Committee on Communication and Media, which studied the communication and media needs of Commonwealth developing countries and formulated recommendations on which communication and media development could be based.

In 1981, the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Melbourne accepted the report on the communication and media needs of Commonwealth developing countries.

A seminar was held in London in 1982 on the Report, which the Commonwealth Secretariat published with the title ‘A Programme for Commonwealth Media Development’.

From 1981 to 1989, he served as a Programme Specialist at the Communication and Culture Division, UNESCO Headquarters, Paris until his retirement.

During that time, he was stationed in Lusaka for nine months as UNESCO Coordinator for news agency development in Eastern and Southern Africa in charge of training and structural design of news agencies in Tanzania, Malawi, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Angola, and Mauritius among other countries.

Dr Aikins also served on several boards as the Chairman, Board of Directors of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (1995-96); Chairman of the Ghana News Agency Board of Directors, (1992), and Chairman, Board of Directors of The Ghana Tourist Board, Accra (1991-92).

He was also a UNESCO Consultant to several intergovernmental communication meetings in Africa and Europe on “The Right to Communicate” (1978-79); a member of the Board of Directors of the Graphic Corporation, Accra (1968-1970); and a participant in several meetings of the International Tourist Organization (ITO) in Europe (1968-70).

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The former GNA General Manager also became a Secretary-General and later Vice-President of the Union of African News Agencies (1963-65); Secretary, Association of Ghanaian Journalists (1962-64); and a GNA Special Correspondent at the 15th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, New York (October to December 1960).

Upon his retirement, he served as a Diocesan and Synod Secretary of the Anglican Diocese of Accra and in that capacity; he was the Chief Administrative Officer of the Diocese, and Supervisor of Staff Secretary to the Standing Committee and other committees.

Later, Dr Aikins founded “Papao Academy,” renaming it “Shepherd Star School,” where he was the Proprietor of the nursery and kindergarten school.

The former media and communications veteran was born in Cape Coast at Intsin on May 29, 1929 and in the absence of his father, his maternal grandfather christened him Isaac Aikins.
When he was five years old, his mother brought him to his grandfather in Tudu, Accra, and had his name to Goodwin Tutum Anim.

Eventually, Dr Aikins decided to change his name to Isaac Goodwin Aikins.
He started his education at the Adabraka Government Boys School, continued to Kinbu Government School, and later to Accra Academy.

Dr Aikens’ higher education achievements culminated with a PhD from the University of Iowa.

He was a staunch believer and passed away as a practicing, devout Catholic and member of the Sacred Heart group.

He is survived by seven children, 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

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