Ghana marked its 60th anniversary on Monday, March 6, 2017, at the Independence Square in Accra with colourful displays of the nation’s rich culture.
The parade was graced by the three former Presidents of the country – Jerry John Rawlings, John Agyekum Kufuor and John Mahama as well as heads of states and dignitaries from neighbouring countries.
It was also a sight to behold as students and contingents from the security services, performed a march past to salute the president, who doubles as the Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces.
Delivering a speech to climax the event, President Nana Akufo-Addo stoked embers of the debate over whether Ghana should have founding fathers or just a founding father.
Commending the country’s forefathers for fighting a good battle to liberate the nation from the British colonial rule, the president noted that the independence struggle had been started by members of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) 10 years before it was granted.
“We are met here, today, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of our nation’s independence, to celebrate our freedom from the clutches of British imperialism, to celebrate the final achievement of the struggle of successive generations of Ghanaian patriots to establish a free, sovereign Ghana. Today is a celebration of our independence. Being independent means you have the freedom and ability to make informed decisions in life without having to ask other people for permission, help or money and you take full responsibility for seeing things through.
“Our founders chose this day, March 6, as the date of our independence, in order to repudiate the Bond of 6th March 1844, which led to our land becoming a British colony…The founders of the UGCC, then, met to demand independence from the British and 70 years after that event, one still marvels at the clarity of thought and the passion that they displayed. Some of the names of that momentous day have survived in our written history and folk memory…The speech, the Ghanaian colossus, Danquah, made on that day, deserves to be quoted liberally on a day like this,” he said.
“…Danquah captured the mood of the time and set our country on the path to independence,” the President added.
Touting the major roles played by Joseph Boakye Danquah, Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey, William Ofori-Atta, Ebenezer Ako-Adjei, and his father Edward Akufo-Addo, the President pointed out that it was when the UGCC leaders decided they needed a full-time person to man the party’s affairs that they brought in the “dynamic” nationalist Kwame Nkrumah.
“Soon thereafter, on 28the February 1948, the notorious and senseless killings of three ex-servicemen, Sergeant Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe and Private Odartey Lamptey…which, undoubtedly, quickened the pace of the independence movement,” he said.
But some have accused the president of attempting to distort history in his speech.
Central Regional Chairman of the NDC, Bernard Allotey Jacobs believes Nkrumah’s contributions were deliberately altered by the president, who sought to rather credit J.B Danquah for the change of the country’s name from Gold Coast to Ghana.
“Step by step, paragraph by paragraph, the deceptive nature of his speech; it was like it was centred on J.B Danquah. It was centred on J.B Danquah. A statement the President gave (the name Ghana); who gave the name Ghana has been in dispute…It is giving recognition to J.B Danquah as the man who mooted the idea that should we have our independence, it means we should have the name Ghana. So, that is being credited to him and not to President Kwame Nkrumah” but to him, the question is “who gave Ghana independence? The credit goes to Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. You can never run away from that fact”, he replied President Akufo-Addo and further begged him to accept that “the founder of Ghana is Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Period! Nothing else…” he said on Peace FM.
Also addressing the issue on the station’s flagship programme “Kokrokoo”, Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako opined that the President perhaps exaggerated historical facts.
Kweku Baako told host, Kwami Sefa Kayi that there’s no other person who founded the country than Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.
According to him, there are historical records that point to the heroic efforts by Dr. Nkrumah in achieving independence for the country.
Alluding to some historical records including Parliamentary Hansards to buttress his comments which wowed listeners of the show, the Senior Journalist noted that Dr. Nkrumah became the person to declare Ghana’s independence for specific reasons.
“….Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah…the one that declared independence on March 6, 1957. Let’s be dispassionate. Let’s ask those questions. You’ll know that that is the reason why he has become and I’m being charitable first among equals. As an Nkrumahist, I’m biased. That’s the key man. I will go for him as the key founder of this country. (Kwame) he’s number one. There’s no dispute about it.”
“There’s nothing the President said that wasn’t factual but sometimes, I remember I saw somewhere that says if you exaggerate the truth; you undermine the essence of the truth,” he added.