Opinions Mon, 14 Aug 2017

Nkrumah founded Ghana, Professor Mike Oquaye

The word 'found' simply means to originate or establish something. King Osei Tutu I is given credit as the founder of Asante Kingdom because heretofore acephalous-like Asante society came under his political hegemony.

There was nothing like the Asante Kingdom before Osei Tutu I. In the same way, there was nothing like the modern Republic of Ghana before Kwame Nkrumah. Saul who became known as Paul was different in nature (as Paul) from his behaviour (as Saul). Colonial Gold Coast was different in nature from New Ghana under Kwame Nkrumah.

The British writer, Charles Caleb Colton asserted that the consequences of things were not always proportionate to the apparent magnitude of those events that had produced them. This partly explains why at least for three reasons the minuscule contributions of the members of United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) though essential cannot overshadow the glory of Nkrumah as a founder of New Ghana.

In the first place, every struggle is started by many but it takes the charisma of one individual to usher that struggle to its designated climax. For example, on June 11, 1776, five individuals namely: Thomas Jefferson, Robert Livingston, John Adams, Roger Sherman and Benjamin Franklin drafted the declaration of United States Independence but the authorship is credited to Thomas Jefferson.

USA Constitution was adopted in 1787 and some of the individuals who contributed included, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay and George Washington. James Madison is credited as the father of constitution and the conception of the Bill of Rights, perhaps because of his charisma or his special role.

Besides, after the declaration of US independence in 1776, it was cemented with American War of Independence (1778-1783). France contributed enormously to the successes chalked by the USA over their hitherto colonial power, Great Britain.

The contributions of France to the American Revolution contributed to the French revolution of 1789. The British Historian Professor Alfred Cobban (1901-1968) convincingly observed that the price to pay for American War of Independence was the French Revolution. Louis XVI, the French Monarch during American Revolution in spite of his contributions to American War of Independence is not mentioned among the founding fathers of USA.

It is worthy of noting that the USA has founding fathers but George Washington is credited as the father of the nation. Thus, there is nothing wrong to perceive Nkrumah as the founder of Ghana.

The second reason why I think Nkrumah founded Ghana is that members of UGCC opposed and sabotaged Nkrumah. In any case, how did the leaders of UGCC measure their “shortest possible time?” Like the age-long Cold War, the Soviet Union cannot claim to be contributing to the successes of the capitalist countries.

Even though I am not unaware of unity in opposition concept, it defies logic for the leaders of UGCC to claim credit for the vision they openly opposed. The two opposing views were “Self-government now” versus “Self-government in a shortest possible time.” Founding fathers of USA did not oppose each other, they built a consensus for the sake of their country. Nkrumah’s view won and the colonial masters gave him a chance to found his new Ghana. Is it not nauseating and quixotic for a Nigerian defender to celebrate a goal scored against his team by Asamoah Gyan? Professor Oquaye, how can the leaders of UGCC contribute to the success of the same vision they opposed?

Also, the contributors of independence struggle of Gold Coast could be mentioned ad infinitum. The traditional chiefs who signed the so-called Bond of 1844, members of Fanti Confederation in 1868, the role of Ashantis during Sagrenti War in 1874, three months after July 1874, when southern Ghana was declared the British colony and the formation of the Aborigines Rights Protection Society (ARPS) in 1897 to frustrate the obnoxious land bill all somewhat contributed to the independence struggle. Thus, to single out only the birthing of UGCC as a significant landmark towards Ghana’s independence is very unfair to other contributors also. Needless to say, that the idea of independence struggle was not mooted by J. B Danquah. The Bond of 1844 was destined to expire in 1944 implying that the traditional chiefs who naively endorsed it were aware of independence. Since all of them cannot be mentioned. Nkrumah must be allowed to enjoy his enviable founding glory.

The last reason why Nkrumah founded Ghana is based on professor Oquaye’s own political tradition. The tradition is Danquah-Busia tradition. What happened to Paa Grant, Edward Akuffo-Addo, Ako Adjei and ObetsebiLamptey? Why not the big five-Busia tradition but Danquah-Busia tradition? Probably because of the special role of Danquah. In the same direction, the special role of Nkrumah made him a founder of Ghana.

Nkrumah originated what is now modern Ghana with the constructions of the industrial city of Tema, Tema motorway, GhnanaTema harbour, Akosombo Dam, Ghana Atomic Energy Agency, GhanaIndustrial Holding Corporation (GIHOC) with about 170 factories, KNUST, UCC and many Secondary Schools. He became an inspiration to many. Martin Luther King Junior said he was motivated by Nkrumah to start his civil rights activism in the USA.

At Makerere University in Uganda, there is Nkrumah Hall, In Tanzania, there is Nkrumah Hall. Where was Danquah when Nkrumah had a fracas with SyvanusOlympio of Togo over the Trans-Volta Togoland (TVT) which was decided by a plebiscite? Olympio described Nkrumah as African imperialist for the sake of the latter’s new Ghana and the Ewe question.

God fearing Nkrumah wanted to be Catholic father, yet he was virulently and malevolently accused of worshipping “KankaNyame”. Thank God some of the descendants of his malicious accusers are now conspicuously being crowned as grand masters of secret society (Not my business though someone’s faith!).

I have no scintilla of perturbation because Jesus, the Christ reminded us that a prophet is not without honour except his own hometown (Matthew 13:57). God Bless Our Home Land Ghana! God Bless Kwame Nkrumah! God Bless Catholic Church of Ghana for developing Ghana.

Columnist: Nana Yaw Osei