“We face neither East nor West; we face Forward”
September is here!!!
What’s so special about this month? Well, it isn’t my birthday but that of the man the BBC named the greatest African of the millennium. For me, he’s the greatest African yet.
This month we celebrate the centenary birthday of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, first president of Ghana, Pan-Africanist, and Freedom Fighter.
Kwame Nkrumah was born Francis Kwame Nwia Kofie Nkrumah to Kofi Nkrumah and Madam Elizabeth Nyaniba on September 21, 1909 in Nkroful in the Western Region of Ghana. Dr. Nkrumah attended Achimota School and a Roman Catholic Seminary in Axim before moving on to Lincoln University and the University of Pennsylvania where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees respectively. Kwame Nkrumah moved to the United Kingdom in 1945 to pursue further studies at the London School of Economics. It was in the UK where he met George Padmore with whom he became very good friends. In the UK, Nkrumah helped George Padmore to organize the 5th Pan-African Congress and also served as the secretary of the West African Students’ Union (WASU).
In1947, upon the recommendation of Ako Adjei, Kwame Nkrumah was invited by the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) to return the Gold Coast (Ghana) to serve as their general secretary. Nkrumah arrived in the Gold Coast in November that year and accepted the position of general secretary.
On June 12, 1949, Kwame Nkrumah inaugurated his own party, the Convention People’s Party (CPP) at a rally in Saltpond. The CPP unlike other movements in the Gold Coast embraced all classes of people and had the objective of winning independence immediately.
In February 1951, whilst in prison Nkrumah won elections and became prime minister. Nkrumah and the CPP went on to win the 1954 elections. He later introduced the Ghana Independence Bill, which was approved and given royal assent on February 7th, 1957. On the 6th of March 1957, 113 years after the signing of the Bond of 1844, which gave away the sovereignty of the Gold Coast, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah declared the Gold Coast a sovereign independent nation. The new nation adopted the name ‘Ghana’ after the first glorious empire in the Western Sudan in early days. In the words of Nkrumah, ‘as an inspiration for the future’ (F.K Buah 1980)
Declaration of Independence
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah served as prime minister till 1960 when he became president. On February 24,1966, while on a state visit to China and North Vietnam, Nkrumah was overthrown in a CIA backed coup d’état.
Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah never returned to Ghana. He lived in exile in Guinea and was made honorary co-president of Guinea by Sekou Toure. In exile, Nkrumah spent most his time writing. Some of the books he authored during this period were ‘Class Struggle In Africa’ and ‘The Struggle Continues’
Kwame Nkrumah died on 27th April 1972 in Bucharest, Romania where he was receiving treatment for skin cancer, which was a result of an assassination attempt on him on 1st August 1962 at Kulungugu. Nkrumah was buried in his town of Nkroful. His remains were later moved to the newly constructed Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum in Accra.
Kwame Nkrumah received honorary doctorate degrees from the Moscow State University, Humboldt University, Lincoln University, Jagiellonian University and the University of Cairo.
Nkrumah like every leader had his shortcomings but was indeed a great leader and is without doubt Ghana’s greatest yet. A visionary and selfless leader, he was.
*Leading the struggling for independence
*Construction of the Akosombo Hydro Dam and the Volta Lake
*Construction of the Tema Harbour and the City of Tema
*Promoted African unity and placed a role in the independence of Guinea
*Founding member of the Organization of African Unity (now African Union)
*Construction of roads and rails
*Construction of the Adomi Bridge and the Tema Motorway
* A whole lot more
So this month of September, we the people of Ghana invite everybody to join us to celebrate this illustrious son of Africa. 21st September every year will now be celebrated as founder’s day in Ghana. This year, the rest of Africa will join us to in the celebration by honouring it as a national holiday across the continent
FORWARD EVER, BACKWARDS NEVER!
GOD BLESS NKRUMAH
GOD BLESS OUR HOMELAND GHANA
GOD BLESS AFRICA!!!