Dr Martin Luther King has noted that “the time is right to do what is right.” That is why the current debate about our Founders Day must be discussed without prejudice or fanaticism. The debate should not be about Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo seeking to glorify his father and uncles but whether those people indeed contributed to the founding of Ghana.
Ghanaians do not see the “Big Six” as a hoax or joke. We have read how these noble men contributed to building the foundations of an independent country, free from the clutches of British colonial rule. We do not disagree that Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah was invited by the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) to provide focus and direction in the fight against colonialism. Indeed,Dr Nkrumah invigorated the advocacy work of the UGCC.
As Myles Munroe has expressed succinctly, “no achievement in life is without the help of many known and unknown individuals who have impacted our lives.” Thus in a situation where those who employed Dr Nkrumah to provide leadership, direction and focus to the objectives of the UGCC are known and can be identified, it does not make sense to deprive them of the pride of place for their contributions towards the founding of the nation.
When the idea of dedicating a day as a statutory public holiday to honour those who sacrificed for the freedom and independence of Ghana came up some Ghanaians suggested the recognition of the Big Six as a collective. Unfortunately, the government at the time under the leadership of Prof. John Evans Atta Mills felt otherwise and rather took the path to segregate and splinter them and singled out Dr Nkrumah as towering above all others in the fight for the attainment of our independence.
We could have been mindful of the saying that Rome was not built in a day. If we had not enmeshed ourselves in ideological sentimentalism and fanaticism, we might have settled the matter and brought certainty to those who contributed towards our independence and avoided the bitterness that has crept into some of the contributions as we go through the democratic process of discussing the matter of who must be credited as having founded Ghana, to objectively set our political history right. We have to accept that we have founders and not a founder and thus institute founders not founder’s day, whether as a statutory public holiday or otherwise. We have too many public holidays and the founders would not be diminished in any way whether the day is observed as a statutory public holiday or otherwise.
But as to whether associating the Big Six as Founders would diminish the contribution of Dr Nkrumah and the awe with which he is held, his role would not be dimmed just because he is seen as one among a number to have won us independence. Indeed, in consonance with democratic credentials, Founders must be preferred to a Founder, which is akin to dictatorship. As Mahatma Gandhi says, “an error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.”No matter what any Ghanaian thinks, we must accept the fact that our independence was not won on a silver platter. Whilst Dr Nkrumah played a pivotal role for which his name cannot be discounted, those he joined and teamed up with to intensify the fight must not be obliterated from the glory.
There are many of us who are what we are because of the policies of Dr Nkrumah, just as beneficiaries of the free SHS policy would acknowledge and appreciate Nana Akufo Addo. But we have to admit that development policies such as free basic education, building the Akosombo Dam, Tema Harbour and Motorway, junior high school, National Health Insurance, Free SHS, among others are not the same as fighting for an independence of a country. That is why we should not be cynical as to who should be credited for certain progressive policies as against the founding of a nation.
Some members of the Young Pioneers and graduates of the Ideological College may see the other members of the Big Six as “traitors” because they disagreed with the approach of Dr Nkrumah. They never relented in their objective in the fight for independence. Holding a different view from those in government is not criminal. Our Constitution provides for diversity as a basis of our democracy.
Ghana will not be more prosperous or otherwise with a Founders or Founder’s Day but as our elders have maintained, “se wo ammfa annto dee eda a, efiri to” to wit, the right thing must be done at all times to avoid injustice.