One of the cardinal messages in the speech of Ghana’s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, as he declared Ghana’s independence on March 6, 1957 at the old Polo Grounds in Accra was that our independence “is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of Africa.”
On gaining independence, therefore, and true to the words in that powerful speech, our leaders influenced the liberation of other African countries from colonialists.
As Ghana turns 61 tomorrow, however, we seem to have made light of another salient phrase in the Independence Day speech by our first leader about the new African we wanted to showcase to the whole world after gaining our freedom from colonial rule.
Dr Nkrumah’s primary aim was to fulfil his pledge of ensuring that, “That new African is ready to fight his own battles and show that after all, the black man is capable of managing his own affairs.”
Ghana began so well on the path of development right after we gained independence from the British and we became an example to the whole world by setting up many industries after the country created an industrial enclave in the newly developed port city of Tema.
We have, unfortunately, not only slowed our pace of development since attaining nationhood but actually undone most of the developments such that we now have to go cap in hand to the same colonial masters who granted us freedom when we asked for it.
We have shot ourselves in the foot by going back to the West to seek assistance to develop every aspect of our economy.
While we can blame our slow pace of development on the five interruptions we have had in governance, we cannot continue to blame our woes as a country on those incidents, not after we have enjoyed consistent and peaceful transitions for 26 years since we got back on the democratic track.
Stable governance begets rapid development and we owe it to ourselves to harness all our potential to make Ghana great again.
It is for that reason we laud President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s determination to lead the country on the path of industrialisation to create more jobs and enjoy the development that has eluded us all these years.
The Daily Graphic urges all of us Ghanaians to put our shoulder to the wheel and not look back as we support the President in all the initiatives that have been birthed to help Ghana develop.
We should not make fun of tag lines such as “One District, One Factory” , “One Village, One Dam,” “One Constituency, One Million Dollars” and the like, for they are all geared towards the development we lack but seek.
After 61 years of political independence, our focus as a country must be economic independence. Nature has bestowed on Ghana many resources, apart from the human resources we can boast of, and it is up to us all to properly utilise them to our advantage.
Indeed, as our President has said time without number since acceding to the presidency, we should move towards a Ghana beyond aid. The worst we can ask for from the international community is partnership to develop and not aid as we have been used to.
Let us make our country attractive by stopping nefarious activities that make the global community ridicule us. We must change our orientation towards sanitation, for instance, and keep our cities and communities clean at all times.
Let us all play our part as citizens to push the country up on the development ladder and show that indeed we are capable of managing our own affairs.
We wish all a Happy Independence anniversary.