The founder of the All People’s Congress (APC), Hassan Ayariga says the "excessive" yearly celebration of Ghana's independence from British colonial rule is a waste of time.
Ghana marked its 61st anniversary of independence from British colonial rule with a colourful parade ceremony on March 6, 2018, at the Black Star Square. In attendance were African leaders including Nigerian President Mahamudu Buhari.
Many including Nigerian senator Dino Melaye have praised Ghana for the display of rich tradition and culture and criticised his country for their own lowkey independence celebrations.
However, Mr Ayariga says the celebration of independence with the marching by school children and the presence of world leaders is meaningless and a waste of time because Ghanaians are still not economically free.
He also drew an analogy between the Independence celebrations and a convict celebrating his release from jail every year even though he still does not have a job and can't clothe and feed his children.
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"As Ghanaians, we are unable to celebrate economic freedom but we are celebrating the normal freedom, just like you have been sentenced to jail and every day after your release you keep celebrating the release of you being out of jail for 61 years," he added.
"I think celebrating 61 years of independence is like celebrating freedom, just freedom. It's like we keep celebrating freedom for 61 years without any meaningful impact in the lives of our people," Ayariga said in an interview on Class FM on Wednesday morning (March 7).
"Meanwhile, you are out of jail and you are unable to take care of your children, you cant feed them, you can't clothe your kids, you cant pay their bills, hospital bills, school bills, you can't empower them cant give them three square meals and you keep celebrating something that you have had for 61 years without transformation.
"So, I asked myself why do we keep on celebrating something on yearly basis, celebrating what our forefathers fought for us but we can't celebrate ourselves. What have we done to celebrate 61 years old".
"We attained freedom, 61 years ago. Why do we keep celebrating something given to us 61 years ago instead of celebrating economic freedom, economic power and economic transformation?... It's not worth celebrating because you need to do something so that you can tell the whole world that that freedom is worth celebrating in terms of economic freedom.
"The only thing we could have celebrated is the peace that we enjoy but right now we have another problem in terms of security in the country".
The 2012 presidential candidate of the People’s National Convention’s (PNC) said if he were president he would revamp the Independence Day celebrations so that only a televised address by the Head of State will be delivered to the citizens.
He stated: "I will just sit on national TV and outline what we have to do for the next one year and for the next one year if we are able to achieve that, then we will celebrate. Look, my grandfather marched past, my father marched past, myself I did, my wife and my children also did and yet there is nothing to show. I am told a DCE collapsed, now this year kids are no more collapsing, even the adults are collapsing.
"You put them out there to stand at attention like soldiers just for you to come and deliver a speech that you could have delivered on national media and you waste money, when the Free SHS is collapsing".