He was born on May 6, 1950 and was the youngest of five children of the late queen mother of Asante, Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem II.
Named Barima Kwaku Duah, he ascended the Golden Stool, the symbol of the spiritual power of the Asante Kingdom, and was enthroned as the sixteenth Asantehene in direct succession to Opemsuo, Osei Tutu, the founder of the Asanteman, on April 26, 1999.
He succeeded his late brother, Otumfuo Opoku Ware II, and in fact, his nomination was received by popular acclamation in the Asante Kingdom.
For the first time, the birthday celebration of Asantehene was on the quiet due to the ban on social gatherings to control the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Yet, the Manhyia Palace did not miss the usual hearty messages wishing the king long life and prosperity.
From the Kumasi Youth Association (KUYA), the message partly read "... We celebrate you as a legend in Asanteman, Ghana and entire world, the realisation of how far you have led Asanteman and contributed towards its stability, peace and development, we find it a deeper joy to boast in ourselves as youth of Asante to the entire world with no repose."
It said "through your leadership, today, Dagbon has a new Yaa-Naa, your education fund caters for the needy in the society, Ghana has benefitted a lot of grants from world bodies such as the International Monetary Fund and United Nations."
Twenty one years on the Golden Stool, the Asantehene, by his own indelible examples, has reinforced an ideal interpretation and functioning of the chieftaincy institution not only in the Asante kingdom, but Ghana as a whole, thus earning him respect, admiration and an incomparable rating at home and abroad.
Walking the talk that a modern chief should be interested in the development of his chiefdom with a view to helping to uplift the status of his people, Otumfuo Osei Tutu has set up a foundation for provision of facilities for scholarship for the brilliant but needy students nationwide which has culminated in what is now called Otumfuo Education Fund. Hundreds of people, some beyond the shores of the Ashanti Region, had benefitted from the venture.
The offshoot of this endeavour has been the birth of other education funds initiated by other chiefs across Ghana.
In fact, the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 has also seen his empathy as he resorted to donating food stuff, hand sanitisers, among other essential items to surrounding communities of the Manhyia Palace and beyond.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu is one such leader who had treaded where others failed to tread. Gone were the days when it was almost a taboo to cross certain rivers or step on certain soils, as he made a historic royal visit to the Worawora Township in the Volta Region in 2001 to attend the Akwantutenten Festival.
Since his enstoolment, he had been at the forefront of peace and reconciliation in the Asante kingdom and in Ghana in general. His rich contribution to the work of the Eminent Chiefs mandated by the former President, John Agyekum Kufuor, to mediate in the Yendi Skin Affairs remains a household name.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu was the chairman of the Committee of the Eminent Chiefs that ensured a lasting solution to the protracted Dagbon chieftaincy dispute capping it with the installation of a new Yaa-Naa in 2019.
The king has made several visits to South Africa, Morocco, Libya, and China to mention but a few, were he demonstrated how chieftaincy, culture and beliefs of the African could be turned into productive achievements for the people.
To quote his own words when he addressed South Africa'sNational House of Traditional Leaders in 2005, the Asantehene's concern was about the threat posed by globalisation to the existence of the African culture, especially when the advocates of that paradigm have succeeded in diverting attention from traditional practices only to replace them with foreign ones.
"I am not against globalisation and the integration of global economies, but where it seeks to derail our respective cultural practices, values and ideals... then we as African traditional rulers must look at it again," he intoned and stressed "efforts towards Africa's emancipation might prove futile without veritable African culture."
In 2008, former President Kufuor honoured the Asantehene with the Order of the Star Companion. He was one of only six dignitaries in that order that were presented with the honour at the National Honours and Awards held at the International Conference Centre in July 2008.
The other dignitaries were: late Alhaji Aliu Mahama, former Vice President, late Professor John Evans Atta-Mills former President, Nayiri Naa Bohugu Mahami Shirigu, member of Committee of Eminent Chiefs and Paramount Chief of Mamprugu, Yebun Wura Bawa Doshie, member of Committee of Eminent Chiefs and Paramount Chief of Gonja, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, then flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party.
Otumfuo's Award was received on his behalf by the Akyempimhene, as the Asantehene had then travelled abroad.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has every cause to celebrate his 70th birthday.
Copyright Ghanaian Times. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com)., source News Service English