The Dean of Studies and Research at the Institute of Local Government Studies, Dr E. Oduro Osae, has underscored the need for every nation to revere its founders.
He has also indicated that there should be a good description and definition of who constitutes a country’s founder or founders as history will justify what is important for posterity and acknowledgement.
In the view of Dr Osae, a recognition of the role of the founder or founders acts as a motivator for the present generation to give of their best for the development of the country.
Dr Osae in a chat with the Daily Graphic on the occasion of Founders’ Day, which was celebrated yesterday, said every country had a founder or founders but stressed that “how society recognises or appreciates them will largely influence the level of sacrifice that the present generation will have to make for Mother Ghana.”
Public Holiday Act
Parliament last year approved Public Holiday Act which made changes to the country’s holiday calendar.
The changes included the introduction of January 7 to be celebrated as Constitution Day and August 4 as Founders’ Day.
September 21, the birthday of Ghana’s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, was originally observed as Founder’s Day, but now his birthday will be observed as Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day.
The government contended that celebrating Founder’s day with Ghana’s independence achievement credited solely to Nkrumah was wrong as others including Dr. J.B. Danquah also played key roles in the country’s independence struggle.
The government said in a statement that, [August 4, is] “obviously the most appropriate day to signify our recognition and appreciation of the collective efforts of our forebears towards the founding of a free, independent Ghana.”
August 4 is noted as the date for the formation of the Aborigines’ Rights Protection Society by John Mensah Sarbah in 1897, and the formation of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) in 1947 by J.B. Danquah and George Alfred “Paa” Grant.
August 4 is therefore designated as Founders’ Day.
Question to ask
The question to ask, Dr Osae said, was that if all those nationals had not played the various roles that they played during the independence struggle, we could not have attained the goal of independence.
“We need a national consensus on the history of Ghana, where it started from to the current generation (4th Republic)’. It will help us to realise some of the sacrifices our forefathers made,” he stated.
He said Dr Nkrumah as sole founder of Ghana was the reason why the consensus was important because from the Bond of 1844, many nationals played pivotal roles in founding modern Ghana.
He said from the Bond of 1844 to 1943, when the 100 years period were due, many nationals, including Nii Bonney Konney, started the agitation for a free country and thereafter Paa Grant and the UGCC came onto the scene. They later brought on Nkrumah who wanted independence now.
“This was because in Nkrumah’s view, the UGCC was moving at a slow pace,” Dr Osae stated.
Day of recognition
Especially on the day of recognition, Dr Osae said it should also not be marked with pomp and ceremony but rather with a description and an explanations and if possible a re-enactment of the sacrifices and suffering the founders went through to secure the Ghana we now have.
That reenactment, he also said, must end on the note of justifying why the present generation would have to die a little more for Mother Ghana and should also explain to the present generation to give meaning to sustainable development.
According to Dr Osae, Ghanaians should sacrifice to meet the needs of the present generation and also lay the foundation for the future generation to meet their needs.