The Convention People’s Party (CPP) has called on Ghanaians to rise above partisan politics and seek the development of the nation as the country marks Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day today.
According to the party, entrenched partisanship in the governance architecture was leading Ghana nowhere and so it was time the ‘nation first’ attitude was adopted to spur development.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic yesterday on the significance of the day, the General Secretary of the CPP, Nana Yaa Jantuah, said Dr Nkrumah stood for development in unity, something the current generation of politicians and Ghanaians at large must learn from.
Nana Jantuah said the first President had a big dream to fully industrialize the nation, but “the forces of destruction” truncated his administration.
She further indicated that it would be impossible for anybody to change the history of the nation, especially how it was founded.
The Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day is a day set aside to remember and honour the country’s first President, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah.
Today is a big day for the CPP, the party Dr Nkrumah founded in 1949.
A symposium to mark the day will be held at the University for Development Studies (UDS) Guest House in Accra on the theme: “Relevance of Nkrumaism in addressing the socio-economic challenges of Ghana today”.
Speakers at the symposium include Mr Kosi Dedey, the Chairman of CPP Research Committee; Mr Ekow Duncan, a leading member of the CPP, and Mr Bernard Mornah, former Chairman of the People’s National Convention (PNC).
Today is a statutory public holiday following the passage of the Public Holiday Amendment Bill into law in March 2019.
Dr Nkrumah became the leader of government business in 1951 after leading the CPP to victory to form a government, a process which eventually led the Gold Coast to independence from British rule in 1957.
He also played a key role in the formation of the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU).
As the leader of the country, Dr Nkrumah led massive socio-economic development that resulted in a number of infrastructural projects, including the construction of the Akosombo Dam, the Tema Motorway, among other projects.
Dr Nkrumah was born at Nkroful in the Western Region on September 21, 1909.
He attended Achimota School and also trained as a teacher. He went to the United States in 1935 for advanced studies, receiving a B.A. degree from the Lincoln University in 1939.
He also received a Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree in 1942, a Master of Science in Education from the University of Pennsylvania in 1942 and a Master of Arts in Philosophy the following year.
While lecturing in Political Science at Lincoln, Dr Nkrumah was elected President of the African Students Organisation of America and Canada.
He continued his schooling in England, where he helped to organise the fifth Pan-African Congress in 1945.
He then founded the West African National Secretariat to work for the decolonization of Africa. Nkrumah also served as Vice-President of the West African Students Union (WASU).
During his lifetime, Nkrumah was awarded honorary doctorate degrees by the Lincoln University, the Moscow State University, the Cairo University, the Jagielloniaan University in Krakow, Poland and the Humboldt University in the former East Germany.
Formation of the CPP
On June 12, 1949, Dr Nkrumah led the formation of the CPP at Arena in Accra before a crowd of some 60,000.
He declared “positive action” on January 8, 1950 at a public meeting in Accra.
Three years’ imprisonment
Dr Nkrumah was arrested on January 21, 1950, tried for inciting an illegal strike and sedition for an article in the Cape Coast Daily Mail and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.
Mr Gbedemah kept the party running and was in constant touch with Dr Nkrumah, who was held at the James Fort Prison, from where messages were smuggled out on toilet paper to the party headquarters.
While in prison, Dr Nkrumah led the CPP to achieve a stunning victory in the February 1951 election.
He was freed to form a government and he led the colony to independence in 1957.
As time passed, he was accused of being a dictator and also forming a one-party state in 1964, with himself as President for life, as well as actively promoting a cult of his own personality.
Overthrown by the military in 1966, he spent his last years in exile, dying in Bucharest, Romania, on April 27, 1972.