The common practice of ascribing the political struggles that preceded the historic attainment of Ghana’s independence to one man is misleading and unreflective of the actual historical records, Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye has said.
According to the Speaker of the seventh Parliament under the Fourth Republic of Ghana, the blood and toil of several gallant men who laid the foundation for independence have been buried because history has been distorted to favour only one person.
To him, the likes of Akilagpa Sawyerr, Nene Azzu Mate Kole, DeGraft Johnson, Arko Ajei, and several other freedom fighters played quite pivotal roles in the fight for independence.
The making of Kwame Nkrumah the face of Ghana’s independence, according to him, downplays the individual roles these men played.
Speaking at the Founders’ Day lecture on August 4 2020, the renowned historian said “Nene Azzu Mate Kole, Akilagpa Sawyerr, DeGraft Johnson, Arko Ajei, Bentsi-Enchill and so on had begun to rear their heads…”
In an attempt to rally reasons behind his argument, Prof Oquaye said “When you come to think that in 1957 something suddenly happened, somebody snatched independence for Ghana. We’re doing ourselves a lot of disservice and we’re not teaching our children anything.”
He believes a number of founding fathers had done work before the attainment of independence.
Ghana’s first president, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah is celebrated as the Messianic personality in Ghana’s history for his dominant role in demanding freedom from colonial rulers. It was for this reason that September 21, his day of birth was set aside by erstwhile governments to commemorate him.
But the Akufo-Addo-led government, upon assumption of office in 2017, moved the holiday to August 4 in order to recognise the efforts of not only Dr. Nkrumah but all whose individual roles led Ghana to independence.