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Prof Oquaye to deliver Ghana’s 60th independence anniversary lecture

By
Benjamin Mensah, GNA

Accra, July 17, GNA – The
Reverend Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye, the Speaker of Parliament, is to
deliver Ghana’s 60th independence anniversary lecture, scheduled for Friday,
August 4, 2017, at the Accra International Conference Centre, Accra.

The lecture themed
“4th August, Ghana’s Day of Destiny,” would chronicle the events of the
national liberation struggle from August 4, 1897, to the day of Ghana’s
independence on March 6, 1957.

A delegation from the
Ghana’s 60th Independence Anniversary Committee, led by the Chairman, Mr Ken
Amankwaa, and the Vice Mr Abu Jinapor, on Monday paid a courtesy call on the
Speaker to formally invite him to deliver the lecture.

The Speaker accepted
the invitation.

Mr Jinapor praised the
Speaker, not only for his statesmanship, but also for his pedigree in academia,
politics, religion and public service, explaining that the choice for the
Speaker was based on those values.

He explained the
significance of the date in the struggle for independence, when in the Gold
Coast, the name of Ghana in pre-independence, the Aborigines Rights Protection
Society (ARPS), led by John Mensah Sarbah, was formed as a conglomerate of
different groups of intellectuals in Cape Coast and Southern Ghana, to protect
the traditional land tenure practices of the indigenous Gold Coast peoples from
being usurped by the colonial government of Britain.

It is on record that
The Gold Coast ARPS became a voice for the rights of indigenous peoples by both
broadcasting their aims in their own newspaper, Gold Coast Aborigines, and
advocating on behalf of indigenous land rights by presenting the reasons for
their dissent of the Lands Bill of 1897 in front of the Legislative Council.

 Particularly, John Mensah Sarbah, a key member
of the Gold Coast ARPS and a lawyer, helped to advocate against the
introduction of the Lands Bill of 1897 by arguing that it was no different from
a previous, unsuccessful bill in 1894.

Fifty years on, the
United Gold Coast Convention was formed, and J B Danquah of the Convention
chose the eagle as the emblem of the nation, and it was approved.

Prof Oquaye
acknowledged with thanks, the invitation, and said it was an honour to the
House.

He praised the courage
of the nation’s forebears for resisting the attempts by the colonial British to
usurp Ghana’s lands, as the former set out to apply land acquisition policies
elsewhere in Africa to the then Gold Coast.

“But in the Gold
Coast, we are not people you can easily take advantage of. Mensah Sarbah was
quick to protest that Ghana’s costmary land is never waste. No land in Ghana is
fallow, no matter bushy,.. It belongs to a family, or an individual, for which
the chief is a custodian.

“…The land belongs
to the dead, the living and the unborn.

“Any chief who sells
land arbitrarily must be de-stooled,” Speaker Oquaye cautioned.

Speaker Oquaye also
praised the use of brain power by the forebears in the fight for independence.

GNA

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