Monday, March 8, 2021
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REMINISCENCES:

HOW KWAME NKRUMAH’S IMAGE SHOT GHANA INTO GLOBAL FAME

Africa has a rich history with regard to Pan-Africanists’ struggles. Some of the great Africans who did their very best for their societies included frontline Pan-Africanist and first President of the Republic of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Haile Selassie, Jomo Kenyatta, Patrice Lumumba, Leopold Sedar Senghor, Nnamdi Azikiwe,and Ahmed Sekou Toure.There were other activists in the Diaspora too. Unfortunately, only a few Africans could say a few things about these great sons of Africa. Several millions of other Africans are totally unaware of the monumental patriotic efforts of these people who were really great. Their good deeds must not be allowed to be interred with their bones. The growing generation must be encouraged to know about the contributions of these great personalities to their societies and Africa. Kwame Nkrumah was one of the notable key actors and champions of Africa’s independence movements, who led Ghana (then Gold Coast) to independence in March, 1957. His agenda was regional integration, and remained committed todecolonization of colonies in Africa.  Nkrumah served as the first prime minister of the Gold Coast (1952–57) and of Ghana (1957–60), and first president of the Republic of Ghana (1960–66) Kwame Nkrumah’s image loomed large, even outsideAfrica. Popularly called: ‘Osagyefo’, Nkrumah had an unbending resolveto forge African unity and dreamt of one politically united Africa.  Captivatingly, Nkrumah was admired beyond the shores of the Republic of Ghana; even in Western nations.

The struggle of the 1950sby the then emerging statesmen and activists of African nations, piling pressure on colonialistsquit Africa for Africansto manage their own affairs spread like bush fire. Liberia got independence in (1847) Egypt (1922) Libya (1951) In 1960 alone, 17 African nations got freedom from their colonial masters; and by 1963, there were no fewer than 30 independent African nations. Some were agitating forimmediate continental political union, while others favoured slower steps towards unity.Many of these were inspired by Kwame Nkrumah’s unbending resolve to forge African unity; and Julius Nyerere’sprinciples of self-reliance. There were strong agitations for political reforms for equal rights and opportunities.The glory that Ghana radiated was such that Nigerians trooped into the country shortly after its independence to explore and participate in the economy of the nation. The experience of a First Republic Member of the defunct Western Region House of Assembly is being relived here to show the popularity of Kwame Nkrumah and how he was perceived by even the Western world. The legislator, Hon. S.T. Adelegan was one of the three Nigerian legislators that represented Nigeria at the 1965 Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (others were Hon. S.O. Lana, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister; & Hon. S.O. Gbinovia)

‘’Eventually the plane landed in London, I was in my complete Agbada dress with a cap to match and something funny happened.  The white waiters mistook me for that popular Ghanaian leader, Kwame Nkrumah.  They gave me VIP welcome, ushering me out of the other white men who boarded the British Caledonian Airways plane with us, to the VIP arrival lounge.  When they realized I was not Nkrumah, they left me there.  They were expecting Nkrumah to attend the meeting.  He did not, however, come and so the British were disappointed. Ghana was not represented in that year’s Commonwealth Parliamentary Association meeting.  Anyway, I was treated like a visiting President of a country.   They did not bother to check my papers neither did they inspect my luggage.  Everything was very strange.  They later came back to me and helped me to take a taxi to Strand Palace Hotel, where I was booked to lodge with all other representatives throughout the Commonwealth.

Apart from meetings, we visited different Parliamentary Houses in the United Kingdom.  As soon as we arrived from Nigeria, we were classified according to our interest.  As a school Principal I was classified Educationist.  So, apart from the general places we visited, I had the opportunity of being taken round schools in London.  The Education Minister took me round some institutions.  I was not taken to any place less than secondary schools.  In one of the secondary schools, I taught Geography.  I drew the map of Africa and indicated Nigeria.  They seemed not to know anything about Nigeria as some of them asked – “Is Nigeria in East Africa?”  They seemed to be interested in East Africa.  They knew Kenyaand others.  I drew the map of West Africa and showed them Ghana.  They knew Ghana; I could see the glory Kwame Nkrumah brought to Ghana.  The people knew Nkrumah quite well.  They might not know him as a person; but they have heard a lot about him. No wonder, they were expecting him at the CPA Meeting.  At the Middle Schools there, the students knew about Nigeria.  ‘’We were in Oxford, for a whole day.’’

‘’We visited London Zoo and River Thames where we were told stories about the ancient river and the engineering works on it.  They showed pride for the achievements of their forefathers and we too, appreciated it.  I remember the first time the Minister for Education came to pick me for our outing.  I was expecting to see his driver come to my room and inform me that ‘Oga’ was waiting for me.  He came to me himself and we went inside the car.  I was expecting we sat at the back, so that the driver would drive us.  To my surprise, the Minister entered by the driver’s side and I sat beside him.  The car was very small.  It was Morris Minor.  I asked him what happened to his driver.  He told me, he could not afford taking a driver adding that, drivers at times earned more than he did. Their drivers combined ability to drive with good education.  Apart from driving us to places, they showed very high intelligence in explaining things to us.  I remember when they took us to Canterbury; they referred to history of King Charles and the songs they sang in those days including the poems.  They knew their apples.  Any subject they wanted to discuss they did expertly.  Their education must be high, no doubt.  The Minister told me, he did not earn as much as they did.’’(Culled from: The Part To Play: An Autobiography of Chief S.T. Adelegan)

 

Also, join TERRIFIC HEADLINES on Saturday January 13, 2018, for another edition of MIKE OYE ON SATURDAY. Rev (Dr) Mike Oye, an expert in Herbal Medicine points out that it is very possible to live healthy without drugs through good diets, discipline, and adequate appropriation of nature. He says that whatever is natural is always better for human consumption than the synthetic alternatives.

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