PURSUIT OF FREEDOM, FROM NANA KOBINA ANSAH (1471-EDINA) TO KWAME NKRUMAH, FOUNDER OF GHANA (1957-ACCRA

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Ghana’s struggle for independence actually began on that fateful day in 1471 when a group of white scavengers led by Don Diego De Azambuja, a Portuguese ex convict were spotted on the beaches of Edina (Elmina), Nana Kobina Ansah, chief of Edina and his people, resisted their visit and were only tolerated after assurances that they were on a trade mission.

Nana Kobina Ansah then told them he and his people were going to keep them in check just the way the sea sand keeps the sea water from the land. With time, such trading activities expanded to include trade in human, popularly called Trans Atlantic Slave Trade. The lucrative nature of the trade attracted more players locally and internationally, notable among the new players were the British, Danish and Asantes, with Asantes in constant conflict with Fantes for a direct access to the European partners. In order to forestall such conflicts, the British went into an agreement with the Fantes on 6th March 1844 called ‘The Bond Of 1844’ in Cape Coast. This bond among other things made the areas within British influence a British protectorate for a period of 100 years.

In 1868, 22 years after the bond which gave representation and related exposure to some of the educated indigenous elite came into force, agitation for self government began, culminating in the formation of the Fante confederacy, spearheaded by some infuential Fante chiefs, which was purposely for the pursuit of self government. On 4th August 1897, John Mensah Sarbah, Casley Hayford, Kobina Sekyi, Jacob Wilson Sey among others formed Aborigines Rights Protection Society which successfully fought off the Crown Lands Bill, a law that sought to vest ownership of all unoccupied land in the British monarch, which passed successfully in many colonies such as Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. In 1902, Asante became a British colony after losing the Yaa Asantewaa war but was separately ruled until July 1946 when the Alan Burns constitution added the areas under Asante influence which included parts of modern day Northern, Western, Bono Ahafo and Volta regions to the union thus joining what was then Gold Coast. Later on in 1920, National Congress for British West Africa was formed in pursuit of the independence agenda. On the 4th of August 1947 in Saltpond, UGCC was formed by George Alfred Grant aka Paa Grant who was the group’s Founder and President, he later invited R.S Blay who became vice president, JB Danquah 2nd vice president in charge of eastern region, Ako Adjei, Edward Akufo Addo and Co as a pressure group to provide the educated elite with a united front in their dealings with the British colonial administration. It was not a political party with a manifesto, elected executives and structures on the ground across the Gold Coast. Ako Adjei, later, realising that the group at its current state could not achieve much suggested that someone was appointed as a full time general secretary to set up structures and galvanise support for the struggle for self government. Ako Adjei went ahead to suggest a Ghanaian civil rights activist and a Pan Africanist living in Britain as a perfect choice for the job. The name was Kwame Nkrumah, the then leader of West African Students Union, Kwame Nkrumah actually had drafted the declaration of the 5th Pan African Congress as their secretary.

Kwame Nkrumah’s global relevance was therefore not in doubt as he had already made it his primary aim to fight for the emancipation of all Africans both at home and in the diaspora. When the news reached Nkrumah, he was reluctant at first because he thought it was too small a job considering his global ambitions but friends like George Pad Moore and W.E.B Dubois convinced him to take the job as a staging grounds for his global ambitions, he therefore accepted the challenge and came back to Ghana since it fell within his personal and career ambitions. It must be noted that the letter that invited Dr Nkrumah stated that the UGCC had 15 offices across the country which later turned out to be false, Dr Nkrumah only found 2 offices, 1 each in Saltpond and Accra. The letter also offered a £150 monthly salary and a car just to lure Dr Nkrumah to the country but the car was never given, the UGCC actually couldn’t even pay the promised salary and had to renegotiate the salary to a reduced £100 a month which could not even be sustained. This tells the integrity of the UGCC leadership as well as their desperation to secure the services of Dr Nkrumah. Dr Nkrumah started work work nevertheless because of his passion for the job. He embarked on a mission of galvanising Ghanaians and conscientising them about the need for self government.

On 28th February 1948, 3 ex service men, Corporal Atipoe, Private Odartey Lamptey and Sargent Adjetey were shot while marching to draw attention of the colonial administration to their plight after their efforts in the 2nd world war after discussing same with Dr Nkrumah and some of the UGCC leaders. This single unfortunate event served as a serious catalyst for independence among the Gold Coast population. Dr Nkrumah adopted a more radical approach to the struggle for independence much to the discomfort of the leaders of UGCC leading to his exit and subsequent formation of CPP, Ghana’s first ever political party. On the 8th of January 1950, Dr Nkrumah launched positive action to demand independence through marches, boycotts, strikes and positive defiance. In 1951, the CPP won a parliamentary elections by 34 to 2 for U.G.C.C seats, with the 2 other seats going to others parties making Dr Nkrumah leader of government business. He proceeded to work hard to bring into the fold the other territories that make up present day Ghana. After UGCC’s electoral defeat in the 1951 elections, it disintegrated and collapsed forever leading to the formation of tribal and sectional parties like the NLM in Ashanti, Anlo Youth Association in Volta, Muslim Youth Association and Northern People’s Party which fought for federalism and failed after Sir Freddie Bonne declared it inappropriate in a survey report. The fragmented tribal and sectional parties were later forced by Nkrumah’s Avoidance of Discrimination Act come together to form the United Party (U.P). In 1956, JB Danquah contested Kwame Nkrumah and lost miserably causing him to oppose the independence declaration to the extent of sending a delegation led by K.A Busia to the British House of Commons to argue against Ghana’s quest for independence with the excuse among others that Dr Kwame Nkrumah was a communist. Dr JB Danquah’s argument though failed miserably to convince the British administration therefore granting us our quest for independence. On 6th March 1957, Ghana declared independence, an event Dr JB Danquah and all his followers boycotted.

Dr Kwame Nkrumah carried on with his dream to ensure the total liberation of the entire African continent, earning him the accolades, Osagyefo, Father and Founder of the nation. At the turn of the new millennium, BBC through a voting contest declared Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah greatest African personality of the millennium. Nkrumah’s statue stands at the forecourt of A.U headquarters building in Adis Ababa, Ethiopia. Similar ones could be found in Guinea, Zambia and South Africa. In Cornel university library in USA, there is a section dedicated to Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah. Dr JB Danquah himself said of Dr Nkrumah at the inauguration of the second office of UGCC in Tarkwa and I quote “Even if all of us would betray the independence agenda of the Gold Coast, Dr Kwame Nkrumah would never betray you”. “If anyone thinks that the Gold Coast should be taken away from the British crown, I would never be that person”. Dr JB Danquah in a speech at the 100th (centinary) anniversary of the Bond 1844 on 6th of March, 1944. In conclusion, though many admittedly fought extremely hard in the independence struggle, Dr Nkrumah’s towering status can NEVER be called into question, that’s why I proudly say Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah is the Founder of our nation Ghana just the way Ali Jennah is recognised as founder of modern day Pakistan, Mahatma Gandhi for India and Nelson Mandela for South Africa, Julius Nyerere for Tanzania, Jomo Kenyatta for Kenya and Jesus Christ for all Christians though none of them worked alone. In fact, Ghana is fortunate to be associated with an icon as great as Osagyefo. Nkrumah never dies, long live Nkrumah, long live Ghana, long live Africa, long live the black race.

Profile photo of Nana Asante Posted by on Friday, September 22nd, 2017. Filed under Politics, Top Stories, Uncategorized, World News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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