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Opinions Thu, 5 Aug 2021

The Founders' Day, 'the dead alives', good names live on

Even if I died in the service of the nation, I would be proud of it. Every drop of my blood will contribute to the growth of this nation and to make it strong and dynamic.

Indira Gahndi

The arrival of the Portuguese on the Guinea Coast and the consequent coming of other European nationals such as the Danes, the Swedes the Belgians and the British changed the political history of the Gold Coast, a country which historically was endowed with so much gold and an envy to many. In the memoirs of Portuguese merchants in pre-colonial times it is reported that the finest of gold in west Africa came from the area known as the Gold Coast.

European influence eventually brought several changes in the Gold Coast which hitherto live in their independent states and kingdoms. Europeans desire to control the rich African resources, the quest to introduce Christianity and the need for political or national glory led to the annexation of several African lands. The signing of the Berlin treaty of 1884 gave out the indicating the modalities how the European nations can own African lands.

The Gold Coast was not an exception, and with the Dutch Anglo exchange of forts and castles in 1867, the British remained the colonial masters of the people of Gold Coast and in 1874 declared the Gold Coast as a British colony and the total subjugation of Asante between 1900 and 1902 they had hegemony over the Gold Coast which led to the establishment of the British colonial administration.

The British colonial system has its own attendant problems, ranging from the colonial political structure, exploitation of the colonial economy, noninvolvement of the indigenous people in the decision-making process of their state, Local merchants disadvantaged in trading activities, disregard for traditional institutions, neglect of the local elites of Gold Coast in the civil service and host of unfavourable socio-economic problems which were detrimental to the standard of living of the colonists.

These negativities engineered the formation of a movement which sought to ask for changes in the status quo. This led to the establishment of the Aborigines Protection Society ARPS on 4th August in Cape Coast with the aim of leading an agitation for the involvement of the indigenous people in the governance process. The leaders of this movement notably Jacob Sey, Joseph Casely Hayford, John Mensah Sarbah, Kobina Sakyi, J.W. de Graft-Johnson, J.P Brown and others were resolute and with the establishment of their newspaper the Aborigines , there was an intense national and political consciousness with the rebirth of nationalism.

This group without a shred a doubt, awakened political consciousness in the Gold Coast. The collapse of ARPS was the emergence of the National Congress of British West Africa (NCBWA which sought to champion developmental and political inclusiveness of the British West African colonies namely Ghana, Nigeria, Siera Leone and the Gambia. The leadership included Joseph Casely Hayford Hutton Mills, Dr Nanka Bruce, A.B Quartey Papafio and many others who never relented in their struggle for recognition and the development of the black people.

The emergence of radical nationalism after the second world war led the formation of the first political party on the 4th of August 1946 in Saltpond. The leaders historically christened as the Big six in Ghana’s persona history thus Paa Grant, Dr J.B Danquah, E.Akufo Addo Obetsebi Lamptey, Ako Adjei, William Ofori Attah with other notable members like Awoonor Williams, R.S. Blay, Kobina Kessie needs mention. The formation of the UGCC represents the first action taken on the Gold Coast to demand an end to colonial rule and the foundation of this country cannot be recounted without special mention of the 1948 riots which came about as a result of the shooting of the three ex-servicemen namely Sergeant Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe, and Private Odartey. Their "crucifixion "also added some bite in the struggle for independence and on this special day of founders’ day they deserve commendation and recognition.

With the formation of the Convention peoples party led by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the CPP eventually won independence for Ghana. The name Ghana meant which war chief, is the name of an Ancient medieval empire of the Sonkike people in the area east of Lake Chad, in Western Sudan. On the occasion of the National founders day celebration on this date 4th of August, it is important to lay bare the exploits of our forebears who struggled to achieve independence for Ghana at the peril of their lives, and admonish the present generation to put Ghana first, and be committed to the Ghana course since there is only one Ghana, which is the land of our birth.

Happy founders’ day

Long live our forbears

The legends live on
Columnist: Daniel Obeng
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