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05 August 2017

I cautioned Mills against Nkrumah founder’s day celebration – Speaker

The Speaker of Parliament says late President John Evans Atta Mills erred when he declared the birthday of Ghana’s first President, Kwame Nkrumah as the Founder’s Day.

Professor Mike Aaron Ocquaye said Ghana’s march to independence predates the March 6, 1957 declaration day.

He said although Nkrumah contributed towards independence, he is not the country’s founder.

At a Ghana@60 Anniversary Committee public lecture held at the National Theatre Friday, the political scientist said the first President became one of Ghana’s founding fathers by his association with members of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC).

There are two unyielding stands in any discussion on Ghana’s independence. It has always been a clash among Members of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) on one hand and the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC) on another.

The NPP, progeny of UGCC, believes Ghana could not have been founded by Nkrumah alone to deserve the special attention. They said the blueprint for the country’s independence was designed by the founders of UGCC.

The United Party (UP) offspring wants Dr J.B. Danquah, Edward Akufo and other members of the UGCC to be given the same treatment given to Nkrumah But the CPP and NDC have maintained the man, voted by BBC listeners in Africa in 2000 as the ‘Man of the Millennium’ deserves the founder accolade because of his immense contributions towards the country’s independence.

The CPP members said any attempt to elevate Dr Danquah and others will amount to re-writing of the country’s history.

On a record setting mission, Professor Ocquaye said the progenitors of NPP, founded Ghana and not Kwame Nkrumah.

He said despite cautioning late President Mills against making Nkrumah’s September 21 birthday as a Founder’s Day celebration, he went ahead to do that in 2009.

The day has been set aside to commemorate the birth and contributions of Nkrumah towards the liberation and development of Ghana and Africa. “Honour must be given to the deserving men who are the founding fathers of Ghana,” the political scientist said.

He said one of the things Ghanaians do which will not help the country is the manner in which everything is politicised.

Professor Ocquaye said August 4, which was the day the UGCC was founded, was Ghana’s “day of destiny” because it was on that day the vision for the country was drafted.

“I have great regard for Dr Nkrumah as a great Ghanaian, but the truth must be told [that] before his arrival some gallant men [had started the independence fight],” he said.

The programme was attended by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, former President John Agyekum Kufuor, political opponents and members of the diplomatic corp.

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