Speaker stirs controversy over Founder’s Day

General News of Monday, 7 August 2017

Source: Graphic.com.gh


play videoSpeaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye

The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, has stated that Dr Kwame Nkrumah cannot be credited to be the sole founding father of Ghana, since the struggles for independence were started by other prominent Ghanaians.

He said the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) leaders fashioned the independence struggle and Dr Nkrumah came later through the invitation of UGCC leaders, “and added significantly to the struggle”.

Delivering a lecture on the 70th anniversary of the formation of the UGCC in Accra last Friday night, Prof. Oquaye said he had great respect for Dr Nkrumah because of his significant contribution to the independence struggle and his numerous development projects, such as the Tema Motorway.

However, he said, to say that Dr Nkrumah was the only founding father of Ghana was not true, but rather, “I consider him one of the founder fathers.”

“Dr Nkrumah, who was invited, became one of the founder fathers because of that invitation,” he said.

Held on the theme:”4th August; Ghana’s Day of Destiny”, the lecture was attended by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, former President John Agyekum Kufuor, the Chief Justice, Ms Justice Sophia Akuffo, Ministers of State, Members of Parliament (MPs), Members of the Diplomatic Corps, traditional and religious leaders, captains of industry and supporters of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Independence concepts

The anniversary celebration of the formation of the UGCC on August 4, 1947 had been met with criticism, especially from the Convention People’s Party (CPP) leaders, who felt that the celebration was an attempt to downplay Dr Nkrumah’s contribution towards the independence struggle.

The CPP saw the celebration as an attempt to challenge the founder status of Dr Nkrumah.

Prof. Oquaye, who is a political scientist, lawyer and former diplomat, said August 4, 1947 was indeed Ghana’s day of destiny and must be celebrated by all because the country’s destiny was drafted on that day.

He said it was the day that prominent Ghanaians, including Dr Joseph Boakye Danquah, Mr Edward Akufo-Addo, Dr Ebenezer Ako-Adjei, Mr John Mensah Sabah, and Mr George Alfred Grant met at Saltpond in the Central Region and founded the UGCC, and took a decisive decision towards the march for independence.

He said the UGCC leaders conceptualised the national colours of red, gold and green and eagle emblem, and also wrote a Constitution.

Prof. Oquaye said the 1948 riots gave credence to the independence struggle.

The Accra riots started after a protest march by unarmed ex-servicemen was broken up by police, leaving several leaders of the group dead.

Founder’s day

Prof. Oquaye said he disagreed with the dedication of a day to be the Founder’s Day in honour of Dr Nkrumah.

He rather suggested that a day could be set aside to celebrate Dr Nkrumah because he did a lot for the nation, in terms of development projects and the quest for education.

Prof. Oquaye said one needed not to be a founder for his greatness to be realised.

“Nevertheless, honours must be given to the deserving men who are the founder fathers of Ghana”, he said.

Former President John Evans Atta Mills dedicated Nkrumah’s September 21 birthday as a Founder’s Day in 2009.

CPP-NDC connection

Prof. Oquaye said the CPP was struggling to make a good showing in the country’s electoral contest because its members had joined the National Democratic Congress (NDC), which, he said, did not have any tradition.

He said the CPP was struggling, and indicated that if the party wanted to make a mark in Ghana’s electoral contest, it should wean itself off the allegiance to the NDC.

“If the CPP wants to survive they must proceed to extricate itself from the bowels of the NDC, then they will survive.

“As of now they have been swallowed. As a truism, they should know who swallowed them,” he said.

Advice to NPP

Prof. Oquaye urged NPP supporters to adhere to the principles of UGCC leaders since the NPP was an offspring of the UGCC.

He asked them to stick to the traditions of the party and not to try to be like other political parties.

Prof. Oquaye said as long as the NPP supporters stuck to the principles of the party, “Ghanaians will continue to be with us.”

He said the UP tradition lost the 1979 election because they broke their ranks, and cautioned against any such move again.

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