GHANA'S INDEPENDENCE proclaimed by Dr.Kwame Nkrumah in an emotional speech on the eve of the official day (March 6th. 1957) and 113 years after the signing of the Bond of 1844 at Abora by some of our forefathers (believed to have represented all of us) was very significant in many ways.
First, it served as motivating tool for other african countries to maximise their efforts in their pursuit of self rule; thus soon after Ghana's independence a indegeneous Africans from the other colonies resolved to break the colonial ties and take control of their own destinies.
It also prompted the colonial powers to review the thoughts and ideas they held about the people in the colonies they controlled from their homes far away from.Thus,the colonial powers were once again faced with the the problem of having to abolish the second phase of slavery which was going to have a more devastating effect on their economies.
As Nkrumah put it simply, it was also a way of proving to the white man that the African is capable of running his/her own affairs; something the whiteman does not seem to believe as I write.
March 6th. 2007 marks the fiftieth (50th.) birthday of Ghana's independence. I usually feel reluctant to use the term 'INDEPENDENCE' for the mere fact that I have never understood the need for any country or state to claim ownership of another country or state apart from a blatant show of military might, greed and a false sense of superiorty by one race over the other. Well, we have always been told to let 'bygones be bygones'.so I rest my case on this issue.
Kwame Nkrumah who was invited by the pioneers of the nationalist movement in the country(Gold Coast) in the mid 1940s- notably Pa Grant, Kyeretwie Boakye Danquah, Obetsebi Lamptey, Edward Akufo Addo, William Ofori Atta and Ako Adjei-became the leader of the country's first political administration which replaced the colonial administration.
Pa Grant was Businessman who thought it necessary to young political activists and the rest were young qualified Barristers who saw the inequalities created by the colonial administration.
It is very interesting to know that these people were very selfless ,far more nationalistic and modest and transparently honest than the pseudointellectuals and deceitful prophets of accountability who cannot account for their own domestic spendings. I do not know how many houses Boakye Danquah and his colleagues (including Nkrumah himself) built or bought anywhere; and whether one would believe it or not considering their level of education at the time if they had thought like some of the people who claim to have learnt so much and go round shouting in mother Ghana now, these people could have partitioned the country among themselves like some so-called socialists have taken over state property under the guise of diverstiture programme.
It is also worthnoting that the independence struggle affected everyone in the country at the time and many people from both urban and rural areas played significant roles to pave the way for what was eventually proclaimed by Nkrumah.
Thje activities of distinguished men like Nii Kwabena Boni (Osu Alata Mantse), Seargent Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe, Private Odartey Lamptey ( who led the 28th. February demonstrations and who were murdered in cold blood); the organisers of the Suhum Cocoa Farmers strike in 1937 deserve recognition whenever Ghana's independence is discussed; and it is our responsibility (if we consider ourselves as patriotic Ghanaians) to pass this valuable history on to our offsprings.
There were women who catered for these gallant men and they all deserve our unqualified respect. Fifty years of independent Ghana has passed through the hands of several leaders; about ten (10) different people, and indeed very different personalities and temperaments .
From Nkrumah, Ankrah, Afrifa, Busia, Akufo Addo, Acheampong, Akuffo, Rawlings, Limann, Rawlings to Kuffuor.
Alist of Ghana's leaders to date reveals an interesting pattern; at some points in Ghana's political history there seemed to be two leaders or groups ruling. This was evident during Busia's first year as Prime Minister when there was the Three-man Presidential Commission of J.W.K. Harley (the then I.G.P. and the architect of Nkrumah's overthrow) A. K Ocran and A. A. Afrifa (all of whom played very active parts in the military coup which ended Nkrumah's leadership).
From 2001 till today Jeremiah John Rawlings who emerged as a military leader by usurping power from another military leader (F.W.K. Akuffo) in 1979 and then again re appeared just as 1981 was giving way to 1982 does not seem to be satisfied that he is no longer the leader of the country's government and ,unfortunately, there are individuals who would want to hide behind Rawlings to safeguard their soft-earned booty.
For the purpose of this article I will focus on one positive initiative or legacy that many Ghanaians (who are objective) would be able to associate with some of these different personalities who have been at the helm of affairs in Ghana or the 'First Citizens' since the British colonial administrators handed the baton of office to the 'son of the soil'.
Please forgive me if there is something very positive and signifficant that anyone of them initiated which I have ommited and remember that all these people are human and can make mistakes.
I do not intend to remind Ghanains of the negative things;let us look ahead as the Young Pioneers of Nkrumah's time used to sing 'FORWARD EVER, BACKWARDS NEVER'.
For Dr. Nkrumah I give him so much credit for the ACCLERATED EDUCATION PROGRAMME; which helped so much to expose Ghanaians (young and old) to the world around us and to equip the citizens to play meaningful roles at home and abroad.
For the military men who overthrow Nkrumah I will credit them with the NATIONALISATION of the Ashanti Goldfields (which I hear led to the collapse of the then English boss-General Spears- who was on holidays).
For Dr. Busia I will credit him with the RURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME and the need for indegeneous Ghanaians to engage in small scale trading activities which were hitherto in the hands of immigrants.
For General Acheampong I will credit him with the OPERATION FEED YOURSELF PROGRAMME and the 'DRIVE ON THE RIGHT' a.k.a. 'ANIFAANIFA '.
Flight Lieutenant Rawlings I will credit him with the introduction of GRASSROOT POLITICS with the creation of District Assemblies. For John Agyekum Kuffuor I will credit him with OPEN GOVERNMENT and the respect of THE RULE OF LAW.
As we celebrate our 50 years of independence we have to ponder over some of the things we could have done better and use whatever knowledge skills we have acquired to improve upon the conditions in the country to make it an enviable place for future generations.