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Opinions of Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Mr. K. B. Asante, The British Founded Ghana

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Celebrating the historically unknown and specifically unverifiable birthday of Ghana's first President, Mr. Kwame Nkrumah, predicates the entire natal event on a hoax; for the Show Boy himself acknowledged in his autobiography that he did not know exactly when he was born, as there was no written record specifying the same.

Now, on the question of "Founding Fatherhood," one needs to read astute and objective scholars like Dennis Austin to fully appreciate the fact that Mr. Nkrumah had little or absolutely nothing to do with the demarcation of the erstwhile Gold Coast, which was executed long before his birth. And the entire decision on the form of government to pursue, parliamentary democracy, which is our present political culture, was predetermined by the British colonial government, acting in concert with the Crown.

The very renaming of Ghana had far more to do with the erudite and seminal scholarship of Dr. J. B. Danquah, the Doyen of Gold Coast Politics, who almost singularly championed the same; he would also cause the formal and functional institutionalization of the Ghana Soccer League and the game which is now widely recognized as the second organized "religion" of the country. The Doyen also pressured the British colonial regime to establish the former Cocoa-Marketing Board (now COCOBOD), as a means of guaranteeing livable wages for the Ghanaian cash-crop farmer; the CMB would also be able to create reserve capital for the development of agriculture, healthcare and education in the country.

It was also Dr. Danquah who convinced the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Agyeman-Prempeh II, not to allow the British to split the Asante Federation (and present-day Brong-Ahafo Region) from the rest of the Akan states and kingdoms that dominated the erstwhile Colony of the Gold Coast. The unification of the Northern Territories had also been vigorously championed by Dr. Danquah in the Legislative Assembly.

In essence, if Ghana wants to statutorily observe a Founders' Day, for clearly Nkrumah is not the founder of modern Ghana, that day ought to be the landmark and watershed epoch marking the arrest of the legendary Big Six in 1948, and not September 21, as advocated and illegitimately declared by the late President John Evans Atta-Mills, and predictably and dishonestly adopted by a philosophically misguided and morally bankrupt African Union.

As usual, Mr. K. B. Asante pleads his own vacuous cause when the Nkrumah appointee and ardent and indefatigable propagandist insists on an Nkrumaist agenda having shaped the sociocultural and political contours of our national destiny. That the socialist policies of the Convention People's Party (CPP) are decidedly a spent force, with neither a local nor global relevance in their two seminal centers of the defunct Soviet Union and China, respectively, does not seem to have dawned on the octogenarian Mr. Asante.

Rather, it is the far more pragmatic and foresighted liberal-democratic "vision" of Ghana, as propounded by Drs. Danquah and Busia, and Mr. S. D. Dombo, among a host of others, that has continued to have a staying power in the postcolonial era across the country and the African continent as a whole. And so, really, if any individual twentieth-century Ghanaian leader ought to be celebrated and immortalized and glorified with a national holiday, that foresighted leader is none other than the Doyen of Gold Coast and Ghanaian Politics, and not the wantonly dictatorial, profligate and megalomaniacal African Show Boy.

Indeed, it is about time "grown-up" Ghanaians like Mr. Asante faced up to the grim reality of Nkrumah's epic and abject failure as a leader in both his home country and the continent as a whole. And on the latter score, concerned Ghanaians, including Mr. Asante, need to read the late Prof. Kofi Awoonor's post-Nkrumah post-mortem novel, This Earth, My Brother and Prof. Ayi Kwei Armah's classic novel, The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born for moral edification. May Prof. Awoonor's spirit rest in peace.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Department of English
Nassau Community College of SUNY
Garden City, New York
Sept. 21, 2013