President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says August 4 is the most appropriate day that signified the appreciation of the nation for the collective efforts of the forefathers towards the founding of Ghana.He argued that the General of the American War of Independence from British colonial rule and first President of the United States of America, George Washington was not held out as the founder of the American Republic.
He noted that those who signed the American Declaration of Independence and promulgated the US Constitution were the Founders of America.
“It is this same respect for the collective work of our forefathers in 1897 and 1947 that compels us to define August 4 as Founders’ Day and most sacred day in our nation’s history,” President Akufo-Addo emphasised.
President Akufo-Addo defended the rationale for selecting August 4 as Founders’ Day when he addressed the country’s senior citizens at a luncheon in Accra on Sunday, to mark the Founders’ Day celebration.
He explained that the celebration was to acknowledge the role of successive Ghanaians towards the liberation of the country from colonialism and imperialism.
President Akufo-Addo noted that August 4 was the day two most important events in the colonial history of the nation took place, which eventually led to her freedom and independence.
He mentioned the formation of the Aborigines Rights Protection Society (ARPS) on August 4, 1897 and the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) on August 4, 1947.
He, therefore, urged Ghanaians to “reject the trivialisation of our past and do right by our history” and halts the needless controversies and political partisanship being associated with the day.
President Akufo-Addo expressed delight that August 4, found roots on the nation’s calendar by an Act of Parliament.
Some high profile personalities that attended the ceremony included; Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, wife of the Vice President, Samira Bawumia and former President Jerry John Rawlings and his spouse, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings.
The President recounted the history of the country from the Berlin Conference in Germany in 1884, which divided Africa among some European countries through colonial rule and scrambled for the Continent’s natural resources to build their industries.
Explaining roles the pioneers of ARPS played in the independence struggle, he said, a group of Gold Coasters campaigned vigorously against the terms of colonial relationship concerning the 1897 Crown Land Bill, which sought to expropriate all public lands to the benefit of the Crown (colonial masters).
He noted that it was the resistance the pioneers of ARPS put up against the Crown Land Bill that actually marked the beginning of the country’s independence struggle.
President Akufo-Addo observed that it was the implementation of the same Crown Land Bill in countries like Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Zambia that led to the seizure of the indigenes’ land in those countries.
He said those countries were still battling with land challenges due to the land legislation implemented by their colonial masters, but Ghanaians possessed their lands because of the bravery and foresight of the members of the ARPS.
President Akufo-Addo paid glowing tribute to Jacob Sey, who was the founding President of the ARPS, and other members such as Casely Hayford, John Mensah Sabah, Kobina Sekyi, J. W. de-Graft Johnson and J. B. Prah.
Touching on the second important event, he said on August 4, 1947, a group of nationalists, led by Paa Grant, J. B. Danquah, Francis Awornor Williams, R.S. Blay, George Moore, R.S Woode, J.W de-Graft Johnson, Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey, William Ofori-Atta, Edward Akufo-Addo, Ebenezer Ako Adjei, Kwabea Kesseh, V.B. Annan, and some paramount chiefs and the Clergy, gathered at Saltpond to launch the UGCC.
He noted that the UGCC was the first political party to be formed in the Gold Coast and made the first formal demand for independence, and also set the stage for the organisation of the country’s independence struggle, which was followed by other events that increased the demand for national independence.
President Akufo-Addo said it was around that time Nkrumah, who was a member of the Big Six, resigned from the UGCC and formed the Convention People’s Party (CPP) in 1949, which subsequently became the main instrument for the prosecution of the nationalist struggle.
It was the role Nkrumah played in the independence struggle that his name was memorialised with the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day on September 21, and being the sole Ghanaian to be honoured in that regard.