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Opinions of Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Columnist: Johnson O. Nyarko

Dr. Nkrumah, a quintessence of great leadership

First president of Ghana, Osaagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah First president of Ghana, Osaagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah

21st September 2021 marks the birth of Ghana's finest political leader, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. It would have been his 112th birthday if he was still alive. Dr. Nkrumah is dead and gone for far too long but his name and memory never leaves our conversations, news, history, dissensions and even squabbles.

Dr. Nkrumah's legacy appears more relevant than any other leader who served the Gold Coast colony and has served the Republic of Ghana. This is why many have coined the maxim, "Nkrumah never dies" which implies that his legacy lives on forever. It is no lie nor political propaganda but refined truth that a number of attempts have been made in plain sight and subtle manner over the years by successive governments to denigrate Dr. Nkrumah's legacy, yet his works stand tall.

Under his watch as prime minister and as president, Ghana was envied by her peers. I would say Ghana became the Messi of the era, breaking records and achieving the impossible. Together with his colleague leaders, the brave efforts of the ex-servicemen and his exemplary role towards independence led to Gold Coast's famous achievement which is, Ghana becoming the first sub-Saharan country to gain self-government or independence from British colonial rule in 1957. Many wondered if Dr. Nkrumah was a messiah sent from above and others perceived he was some leader who had no kind.

On the night of the declaration of Ghana as an independent nation, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah said that "The Blackman is capable of managing his own affairs." Also, he announced on the eve that "Our independence is meaningless unless it is linked up to the total liberation of Africa." These statements were relevant at the time and even still relevant in modern times. It actually turned neighbouring colonial states on to fight and break the colonial yoke. Guinea gained her independence from France with Nkrumah's help.

The man Nkrumah earned himself these nicknames and laurels for his bravery, perseverance and selfless leadership.
1. "Osagyefo" (The redeemer)
2. Nkrumah show boy
3. Iron boy
4. Handsome boy from Nzema
5. Deliverer of Ghana
6. Hope of millions of downtrodden blacks.
7. Star of Africa
8. Nkrumah the destiny man, etc.

The Iron boy, Dr Nkrumah's achievements as first President of Ghana baffled many even as of today at a time when Ghana has crude oil but has not achieved so much. His achievements continue to be a talk of discussion in our politics after the cessation of his life. Ghana witnessed immense improvements in virtually every sector.

In Education,
1. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah built a number of Senior Secondary (High) Schools including Mfantsiman Secondary School, Ofori Panyin Secondary School, Techiman Secondary School, Winneba Secondary School, Swedru Secondary School, Apam Secondary School, Dormaa Secondary School, Tema Secondary School, Oda Secondary School, and the Labone Secondary School.

2. He built Colleges of Education;
Atebubu Training College, Berekum Training College, Fosu Training College and the Enchi Training College, Ghana National College of Cape Coast, etc were the Colleges of Education that he put up.

3. He again saw to the building of the following Universities and Institutes; Kumasi Technical Institute (now University), Ajumako School of Languages (now under UEW), Accra Polytechnic (now Accra Technical University), University of Cape Coast (UCC), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Institute of African Studies, Kwame Nkrumah Institute of Economics and Political Science (now the south campus of UEW), made the University of Ghana (then University College of Gold Coast affiliated to university of London) a full-fledge university to award its own degrees and became their first chancellor, among others.

4. Dr Nkrumah instituted free education policy for primary and middle schools (JHS) to ensure that every child of school age had education in Ghana.

In the area of health,
5. He built the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (previously Kumasi central hospital), made Korle Bu a teaching hospital and expanded its capacity by constructing the medical, maternity, surgical and child health blocks. He established the Ghana Medical School. Free medical care to all citizens. Established GIHOC pharmaceuticals. Built several hospitals and clinics.

For factories and Industries, I may have lost count
1. Abosso Glass Factory
2. Zuarungu Meat Factory
3. Wenchi Tomato Factory
4. Kade Match Factory
5. Akosombo Textiles Limited
6. Kumasi Shoe Factory
7. Pwalugu Tomato Factory
8. Asutuare Sugar Factory
9. Komenda Sugar Factory
10. Kumasi Jute Factory
11. Nsawam Cannery, Brick and Tile Factory
12. Tarkwa Bonsa Tyre Factory
13. Bolgatanga Meat Processing Factory
14. Bolgatanga Rice Mill Factory
15. GIHOC Fibre Products Company, etc.

State-owned enterprises and companies
1. Ghana Black Star Line with almost 15 ships
2. Bank of Ghana (BoG)Ghana
3. Commercial Bank (GCB)
4. Agricultural Development Bank (ADB)
5. National Investment Bank (NIB)
6. State Insurance Company (SIC),
7. Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT),
8. Ghana Oil Company (GOIL)
9. Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GHAPOHA)
10. Tema Oil Refinery (TOR)
11. The National Management and Productivity Institute
12. Ghana Film Industries, Accra
13. Ghana Airways Corporation
14. Ghana National Trading Corporation
15. Cocoa Marketing Board (COCOBOD)
16. Tema Steel Works
17. VALCO, etc.

Osagyefo is also known on record to have built, done or established the following;
1. Ghana Museums
2. Ghana Film Corporation
3. Ghana News Agency
4. Ghana Broadcasting Corporation
5. Atomic Reactor Station
6. Akosombo Dam
7. Restructured the British Military base into Accra (now Kotoka) International Airport.
8. Tema Motorway
9. Tema Harbour
10. Adomi Bridge
11. State Farms and Institutes

All of these achievements took the exemplary leader less than 10 years to accomplish. In spite of Dr. Nkrumah's shortcomings and downfalls, I would bet my life on his patriotism. He was not one with the mindset to amass wealth but to put the black race on a pedestal. The woes of Ghana today should be attributed to the many political instabilities she has suffered after the Osagyefo's regime and the selfishness of successive leaders.

Fellow youths, on this occasion of reminiscence of where we have come from and where we are going as a nation, let us charter a path of cohesion devoid of politics of insults, division, hatred and what have you. The instability Ghana suffers today is due to the quest of political parties to prove who is better or the best and that exposes their lies all the time.

NPP, NDC have all played us like violin leaving us with the thinking that there is no essence of creating a united front. Dr. Nkrumah's motive of creating a one-party state was in good faith and besides no faithful man will sit aloof for external forces to interlock with local traitors to keep carrying out assassination attempts and cause deflection from the path of duty and progress.

He sought to unite and bring competent minds on board. His secretary of state K. B Asante is on record to have revealed that Nkrumah ever said his quest to establish a one-party state was to bring competent people belonging to opposition factions on board.

Colleague youths, it is time to rise up above hypocrisy, hate, division and the tribalism political parties have centred on to prove their competence. Let us follow wisely and support a course of unity and hope for Dr. Nkrumah opined that, "Divided we are weak. United, Africa could become one of the greatest forces for good."

#Long live Nkrumah

#Long live Ghana