When Dr Kwame Nkrumah, in the early hours of March 6, 1957, made that moving speech at the Old Polo Grounds in Accra and proclaimed the birth of a new nation, the expectation of Ghanaians, the rest of Africa and the world was hope for the new homeland of Ghana.
There was hope because the opportunity had been offered the people to determine their own destiny and run their affairs. The independent journey has been tortuous and, at certain stages, uncertain. There have been difficulties, imprisonments, hardships, sufferings and deaths.
After 62 years of nationhood, the Daily Graphic joins all Ghanaians to congratulate ourselves on the feats that we have chalked up over the years. We have certainly built on what was bequeathed to us by our forebears and we must have cause to celebrate.
The country has increased infrastructure and its life expectancy and periodically reformed its educational system. Further, it has continued to hold on to its exports of cocoa and gold and still mines gold in big quantities.
We are currently one of the fastest growing economies, while there has been significant progress in poverty reduction. We have also moved into the middle-income bracket and we are working hard to launch ourselves further into development.
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We have thriving, stable and deepening democratic governance and a high degree of media freedom that is the envy of many.
The Daily Graphic thinks we must pat ourselves on the back for these achievements, but as we do this, we wish to remind all that there are numerous challenges that we need to work on in order to experience rapid and accelerated development as our independent counterparts such as Korea, Malaysia and Singapore have achieved.
We urge policy makers to focus on measures that will lead the country to move away from economic growth that relies on extractive and capital-intensive services that do not directly help in reducing poverty. We must also pay serious attention to our health sector to arrest preventable diseases such as malaria and reduce maternal mortality.
We enjoin leadership to be bold and encourage the citizenry to support measures that are aimed at safeguarding our environment for current and future generations. We also ask that the business environment should be strengthened, while we should ensure reliable power supply and affordable finance for small and medium enterprises in order to create jobs for the teeming unemployed, as well as increase the income of workers.
We use this occasion to once again congratulate the people of Dagbon on burying their differences and enskinning a new Yaa-Naa and subsequently new Mion-Lana and Yoo-Naa to bring lasting peace to Dagbon. It is in this light that we see the organisation of the Independence Day Parade in Tamale as very apt and congratulate the government on such progressive thought.
As schoolchildren, our security agencies and others march today to mark our 62nd Independence anniversary, the Daily Graphic quotes an excerpt from the speech by Dr Kwame Nkrumah, that “. . . from now on, today, we must change our attitudes and our minds. . . . and that [our current state] entails hard work”.
Ghana must demonstrate to the world that we are prepared to build on our foundation, but we must admit that reshaping the destiny of this country depends on all of us.
Let us pick up the pieces and build a nation that will be respected by the rest of the world. We are capable and we must.
Happy Independence Day to all.