Ghanaians must be inspired by the values espoused by the first President of the country, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, to put the country first before personal interests.
The five personalities who made the call in connection with the celebration of the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day today said patriotism held the key to addressing the current challenges of the country.
The personalities, who spoke with the Daily Graphic, are the Founder of the National Interest Movement, a think tank, Dr Abu Sakara Foster; the Founder and General Overseer of the Cooperative Fire Ministry, Apostle Godwin Lutheran Asi; the Director of Academic Affairs at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Prof. Vladimir Antwi-Danso; a former Director of the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS), Dr Esther Ofei-Aboagye, and a former Head of the Civil Service, W.K. Kemevor.
Dr Sakara preaches focus
Sharing his views with the Daily Graphic, Dr Sakara said the first President put the country on the right track of development but, sadly, his vision, principles and values had been put aside, resulting in the many socio-economic challenges the country was currently facing, reports Mary Anane-Amponsah.
He said many people had become more self-centred and shifted from Nkrumah’s vision and principles, which included the sense of nationhood, equity and inclusion.
Dr Sakara, an Nkrumahist and presidential candidate of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) in the 2012 elections, added that as the nation celebrated “the national hero”, there should be a conscious effort to re-wire the educational system and educate the younger generation to promote the values demonstrated by Dr Nkrumah, so that they would grow with the values in the national interest.
He said the winner-takes-all principle that the two major political parties — the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) — had been employing had also worked against the country’s development.
“On this day, we are not playing politics; we want to ask hard questions in the nationalistic way, so that we know that the national interest is our focus,” he said.
Dr Sakara said there was the need to build a country where people progressed based on their own merit and not because of their family and friends in government.
Prof. Antwi-Danso on ideals
Augustina Tawiah writes that Prof. Antwi-Danso said the best tribute the country could pay to Dr Nkrumah was celebrate him properly by letting everybody know about him.
He explained that the memory of the first President was currently lost, especially among young people in the country, and that the greatest tribute we could pay to him was revitalise the ideals he stood and fought for in books, films and writings.
“If we knew what Nkrumah was really struggling for us in Ghana, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Ghana was Ghana then, but today we are just following the White man’s prescription here and there,” he said.
“The country has done worse. Nkrumah said the Black man was capable of managing his own affairs, but we have mismanaged our own affairs. If we had followed Nkrumah, we would have been like Switzerland, Korea or Malaysia. So it is worse; we have not done well at all,” he said.
Apostle Asi on blessings
Also sharing his perspectives, Apostle Asi said the blessings that God had given to the nation were enormous, but the problem was how to manage those resources the nation had been blessed with, reports Justice Agbenorsi.
“Because of lack of patriotism, the nation is unable to reap the full benefits of its potential,” he said.
He added that although the words of the national anthem bordered on patriotism, they remained only in the anthem, as many people did not apply the import of the words to their daily lives.
“So if this nation is going to move forward, patriotism must be taught from the early stage,” he added.
Apostle Asi observed that in the face of the current difficulties, solid principles, such as the fear of God, honesty, faithfulness and love for nation, were key to creating a sustainable future for the country.
He said the country was able to claim its place among the well-established nations because of the selflessness and patriotism exhibited by its forefathers; therefore, it was important for the current generation to maintain that example for the future generation to also live by it.
He added that with over 70 per cent of the population made up of Christians, the church too had a responsibility to train its members to love God and their nation.
On corruption, Apostle Asi noted that the issue had led to poverty in the country.
“If we really want to fight corruption, we have to put in place proper measures to make it difficult for people to steal from the national coffers,” he said.
Dr Ofei-Aboagye’s views
Dr Ofei-Aboagye said the first President should be remembered for his bold and visionary leadership which inspired the entire continent, writes Kester Aburam Korankye.
“In particular, he should be remembered for his activism and readiness to stand boldly by the causes in which he believed — the capacity of the African to propel the development of the continent,” she said.
She said Dr Nkrumah documented his thoughts and ideas, which were available as resources to learn from and assess the collective progress, five decades after his passing.
However, Dr Ofei-Aboagye, who served as the Director of the ILGS from January 2005 to January 2015, noted that the nation could have done better after independence, 65 years ago.
“Among other things, we have not implemented the national plans we formulated; we have not sustained our development initiatives; we have not incorporated the lessons learned from our history but have allowed corrupt practices to short-change Ghanaians. We have also not managed our natural resources effectively,” she said.
She suggested that the Nkrumah Memorial Day be celebrated at the national and sub-national levels, reflecting on his values and ideal and communicating them to the public and interested parties.
“His achievements should be celebrated, while the lessons learnt from his choices, experiences and initiatives be dispassionately discussed for objective learning,” she said.
Kemevor talks inspiration
Joshua Bediako Koomson reports that Mr Kemevor urged Ghanaians to be inspired by the selflessness of Dr Nkrumah, who worked hard to propel the country's socio-economic development.
He said the first President meant well for the country and loved it so much, hence his ability to initiate important projects and build strong institutions in the country.
“So we must take inspiration from his life and his love for the country and also contribute our quota to move it forward,” he said.
Comparing the state of the economy during Dr Nkrumah’s era to the present, he opined that Ghana was in trying times and the leaders must act as quickly as possible to turn things around.
He admitted, however, that the global crisis was taking a toll on the national economy, adding: “It’s very difficult, but there must be hope because if there is no hope, there will be no life. It’s my hope that the situation will improve.