Ghana’s future: Back to 1957

Beyond the euphoric self-congratulation that we generously ladled ourselves for peaceful and successful elections; beyond the commendable transfer of power from an incumbent government to a party in opposition; beyond the demonstrated power of the citizenry to change governments by the thumb; beyond the excitation of prospective improvement in our lives, and the betterment of our country, with added income flowing from oil, beyond all that we have done these past decades, for which we all deserve credit, there is still the lingering disquiet within us that all is not well with our nation.


We know and feel that our progress is slow; that there are huge gaps in our developmental process; that most times, it appears, we don’t know where we are actually going.

It is not pessimism; it is a quiet and sad perplexity about what to actually do about the myriad of challenges facing us, and to know which leader would really provide the solutions.
Independence and freedom have not fundamentally changed the country the way we envisaged.

 But we cannot be still; we cannot cease hoping; we cannot stop dreaming; we cannot restrain optimism; we cannot check discoveries and efforts; we must tumble, and rise once more on our wobbly limbs, as we keep going on! Soon, we shall strengthen our wings and take flight.

So, we may ask: How must we continue with the search for a national panacea for our multifarious challenges? My major proposition is that Ghana’s future is inextricably linked to its past, and we can only make genuine and basal progress when we perform an in-depth soul-searching review of Ghana’s post-independence past, till date.

Between that historic and dramatic moment when Nkrumah proclaimed: “At long last, Ghana, your beloved country, is free forever!” and today, 63 years on (2020), Ghana has gone through such painful detours that we have lost sense of where we set out to go, and may be uncertain whether we are anywhere near our destination, whatever that is.


Let’s ask some few questions: What was Nkrumah’s vision for Ghana? By what ideological vehicle was he going to execute his vision? What did he set out to achieve in the various departments of national life?

What did he succeed in doing, and what was left undone by 1966? Where did he fail and where did he succeed, and why? After the overthrow of Nkrumah in 1966, what did successive governments do to develop and improve the country?

What happened to their plans? How many of the plans are still relevant today, and usable, and how many require revision for them to be used? How many projects have been initiated by past governments which remain abandoned till date?

Do we have a master plan for Ghana, or do we allow each government to do what it likes? Several papers have been presented at New Year Schools over the years.  Do our governments analyse them as inputs for national development? Do the governments have a catalogue of proposed projects/initiatives littering the ministries and its other constituencies?

Where specifically is Ghana going, and do we all know it? I shall not attempt to answer any of the questions above, but let’s all reflect on them. When we begin to answer them, we shall discover so many things to assist us to understand why we are where we are, and what we must do to improve our nation.

 The idea of going back to 1957 is to provide Ghanaians with a historical theatre within which change must be evaluated, and within which change can be made sequential and purposeful.

What I mean is that, a long view of our past would provide clues of what we ought to do, and how to do it. The polestar of 1957 shall direct Ghana’s compass to our desired destination.

We shall discover, to our delight, the sincere efforts that our national leaders made, in the context of human imperfections, to make Ghana a better country. That realisation would enable Ghanaians buy into a national programme that consolidates the totality of plans that our past leaders thought out in good faith for the well-being of our nation.

When we see, over the years, what was thought out for Ghana’s good, we shall feel more committed than ever before to be partners and fellow labourers in achieving the goals of those plans.

This is the type of change we want to see. As I write now, there is no programme in place that excites our nationalism or patriotic sentiments. 


Let me give a practical example of the type of exercise I am talking about. Dr Nkrumah established several industries under the GIHOC group of companies. How many of them exist today?

Must we revive the others as part of re-industrialisation of Ghana? Dr Busia began the Accra Sewerage Project of having all liquid waste passed underground into the sea. He was overthrown in 1972.

Gen. Acheampong did not continue with the project. No one else has, till date! Gen. Acheampong conceived of Redemption townships for Madina/Adenta. The plans were ready.

He was booted out by Gen. Akuffo. They did not touch his project. President Limann came up with the Oppong Manso Iron Ore project in the Western Region.


JJ Rawlings kicked him out of power, and that killed the project. President Mahama, of the NDC, began rehabilitation of the Police Hospital, among several other projects; the NPP, under Nana Akuffo-Addo, has abandoned the hospital project and several others. And on and on we could cite examples.

With the NDC and NPP denying each other any credit whatsoever for what they have done for the nation, it is apparent the NDC would not find out what Busia wanted to do for Ghana; neither would NPP find out what PNDC/NDC Vision 2020 meant for Ghana.  

Vision 2020 of the PNDC/NDC was jettisoned by the NPP. So, which comes first? Ghana or the party? The solution is to seek the national interest, and that requires a historical perspective, as proposed in this article.

When we unthread the past, the several knots in our development plans will loosen; the hidden formula to unlock the secrets of progress will manifest; a new vitality and certainty of knowledge and confidence will emerge; by these, we shall transform Ghana into a great nation.


The writer is a lawyer.
E-mail: [email protected]

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