General News of Thursday, 20 July 2017
Speaker of the 7th Parliament of Ghana, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, will be the main speaker at a lecture which forms part of the [email protected] anniversary celebrations on August 4, in Accra.
Chairman of the anniversary planning Committee, Ken Amankwah, on Monday led a delegation to officially invite the Speaker for the lecture which would be under the theme “August 4th; Ghana’s Day Of Destiny.”
The lecture is expected to highlight the chronological events and struggles that led to Ghana attaining independence in 1957 and the situations beyond it.
According to the Committee, the choice of Prof Mike Oquaye is based on his statesmanly role over the years, taking into consideration his background as a preacher, lecturer, lawyer, an exemplary leader and a diplomat.
Deputy Chief of Staff at the Presidency, Abu Jinapor, who is also the Vice Chairman of the Committee, said August 4, is very momentous in Ghana’s political history.
It was when 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 people from being grabbed by the colonial government of Britain.
It is on record that the Gold Coast ARPS became a voice for the rights of indigenous people by both broadcasting their aims in their own newspaper, The 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. In accepting the invitation, Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, applauded the audacity of the nation’s ancestors for resisting attempts by the British to appropriate 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 customary 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,” he stated while cautioning that “any chief who sells land arbitrarily must be de-stooled.”