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Opinions of Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Columnist: Osei, Nana Yaw

President Akufo-Addo and history of Ghana: Ignore Professor Osei

President Akufo-Addo President Akufo-Addo

Osei, Nana Yaw

Kwarteng’s Intellectual Dishonesty

“A Historian at the University of Cape Coast says President Akufo-Addo did not misrepresent Ghana’s history with his independence day speech following accusations from the independence-wining party, the Convention Peoples Party (CPP). Prof. Kwame Osei Kwarteng said history is written based on perspectives, so it cannot be said that the president erred with his speech” (Source:, Saturday March 11, 2017). The foregoing statement is not befitting a status of a professor at a reputable University like Cape Coast University. This is because to reduce history to subjectivity or perspective is another way of concluding that historians are obliged to only utilize a qualitative research design.

Historians also use quantitative research design which is objective to a very large extent. "All those interested in studying society, past or present, need to take charge of quantitative data: to command it rather than be the slave of a seeming authority of numbers emerging from documents or the writings of a small body of numerically inclined researchers" (Hudson 2000:xvii). A clear historical fact like Independence Day of Ghana or the role of Kwame Nkrumah in the attainment of Ghana’s political emancipation cannot be subjective. Nkrumah, For example, reacted to the recommendations of the Coussey Committee which proposed a quasi -responsible form of government with an executive council with three members selected by the colonial government, eight elected ministers, and a nationally elected assembly. Nkrumah who repudiated the new constitutional proposal and described it as a “Trojan gift horse” that was bogus and fraudulent considered the imperative need to stage “Positive Action” (Gocking, 2005). Positive action consisted of civil disobedience that would include agitation, propaganda, and, at the last resort, the constitutional application of strikes, boycotts and non-cooperation based on the principle of complete non-violence as used by Ghandhi in India.

Ghana gained internal self-government in 1951 and Nkrumah became the leader of government business. The activities of the National Liberation Movement (NLM) in 1954 cannot equally be ignored in the construction of historiography of modern Ghana. Nkrumah was the first Prime minister of Ghana and the first president of Ghana. Independence history of Ghana cannot be accurate without the activities from 1949 to 1957. This is not a subjective history, but a factual history.

Professor Osei Kwateng also stated that the southern Ghana became the British colony in August 1874. As a former High School history teacher, I can confirm without hesitation that this is not true! Three months after the Sagrenti War, and 10 years before the Berlin conference which formally introduced colonization, in July 1874, southern Gold Coast became the British colony. This is a factual history but not a perspective history. For a whole professor’s submission to be devoid of validity and coherency out of bootlicking and sycophancy of his own creation is palpably unfortunate.

A historian conducting a study on the effect of Yaa Asantewaa War on Asantis can either utilize a qualitative research design or a correlational or a descriptive quantitative design. Qualitative research design can validate Professor Kwarteng’s subjective history. Quantitative research is somewhat objective. For professor Kwateng to reduce history only to perspective is an act of intellectual dishonesty. In order to reduce human values and prejudice, historians must utilize interdisciplinary approach. President Akufu Addo must be commended for starting the political history of Ghana from 1897. He must also be corrected for an attempt to sink Nkrumah’s role into oblivion.

What did UGCC leaders see in Nkrumah before inviting him? Just as it is unfair when Ghana fails to notice the role of the other five members of the Big Six, it is unfair for the president of the Republic to relegate the role of Nkrumah to the background. Every agitation starts with many but it takes the role and spirit of one individual to translate the struggle into its intended climax or purpose. Out of Nkrumah’s inordinate zeal to annex Trans-Volta Togoland, Sylvanus Olympio of Togo described the former as an African imperialist. The other political, economic and social contributions of Nkrumah to the development of Ghana and Africa are evidential. At Makerere University in Uganda, one of their Halls of Residents is named after Nkrumah. Let us honor all the founders of Ghana. God bless Our Homeland Ghana and Make us cherish Fearless Honesty.

Nana Yaw Osei (Padigo),
Minnesota, USA

Gocking. R. S. (2005). The history of Ghana: The Greenwood Histories of the modern nations, Greenwood Press, London
Hudson, P. (2000). History by numbers: An introduction to quantitative approaches. London: Arnold.