HOW FRIENDS NNAMDI AZIKIWE & KWAME NKRUMAH TURNED STORMY PETRELS TO COLONIALISTS WITH NKRUMAHS IMAGE SHOOTING GHANA INTO GLOBAL FAME
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HSTORY REPEATS ITSELF IN NIGERIA-GHANA RELATIONS AS REPUBLIC OF GHANA MARKS ITS 61st INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS
May I also acclaim the entourage of my worthy comrade in the cause of human freedom. These men have made history and it is proper that we should honour them today. May I say that I look forward eagerly to the day when Nigerians, as citizens of a fully independent and sovereign State, can join our honoured guests and the people of Ghana not only in enjoying political freedom, but also in participating in the titanic struggle for the freedom of all Africa from exploitation in every form and, under God, create a hate-free, a fear-free, and a greed-free continent peopled by free men and women. And I pray that Almighty God may give us the strength to accomplish this herculean task which it has pleased history to assign to us. Sentimentally, Nnamdi Azikiwe concluded the memorable speech, as recorded in a publication: A Selection from the Speeches of Nnamdi Azikiwe this way: Indeed, history has shown that the struggle for freedom in Africa is an epic in the annals of humanity. Welcome to Nigeria, Kwame Nkrumah! Welcome to this corner of West Africa, Kodjo Tiotsio, Krobo Edusei, Kofi Baako! Welcome to Africa, the land of your grandsires and tile land of your dreams, George Padmore! (Speech to the Eastern Region Parliament, by Nnamdi Azikiwe, then premier of Eastern Region of Nigeria when Ghanas Kwame Nkrumah visited Nigeria) It is, therefore, obviously a thing of joy that Ghana is according Nigeria a huge deserved respect by inviting President Muhammadu Buhari to its 61st independence anniversary celebrations that has also given Senator Bukola Saraki an opportunity to address the Ghanaian Parliament.
As the Republic of Ghana commemorates its 61st Independence anniversary today March 6, 2018, several issues keep reverberating about the influence and nationalistic posture of the earliest political rulers of the country that shares a kinship with the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In the first instance, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, (Ceremonial Governor-General of Nigeria until the military seized power in 1966) fondly called ZIK OF AFRICA by his teeming political admirers, was one of the frontline Pan Africanists who bonded with Ghanas Kwame Nkrumah to emerge stormy petrels to colonialists in Africa. Zik, a great motivational speaker, completed his university education and opted to work as a journalist and founded the West African Pilot, a tabloid that was printed in Ghana. (Then Gold Coast) The publication was founded by Azikiwe, a freedom fighter, to sensitize the populace on the independence struggle. Only a few people, perhaps know that Azikiwe mentored fame Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, having attended the same university in the United States. He was one year ahead of Nkrumah in the university, after which their paths crossed again in the Gold Coast. Incidentally, it was Kwame Nkrumah who sheltered Azikiwe who ran away from Nigeria on account of political persecution. He berthed in the Gold Coast (Ghana) in 1934, from where he and Nkrumah intensified their Pan African ideals. In the second instance, Ghana and Nigeria have enjoyed healthy rivalries with regard to development of the various sub-sectors of the two nations socio-political and economic agenda. Even on the soccer arenas, Nigerias Green Eagles and Ghanas Black Stars dominated West-Africa, and indeed Africas soccer scene for long, with Cameroon also coming on the scene as a formidable side.
With a population of 27 million people, spanning a variety of ethnic, linguistic and religious groups, Ghana, like Nigeria comprises multi-cultural and multi-ethnic groups. Both countries progressed steadily with the constitutional talks in pursuit of freedom about the same time, with legislative elections holding about the same time. The struggle was apparently easier in Ghana that was more united than Nigeria in agreeing to the date proposed for independence. Ghana, therefore, became an independent country, three years before Nigeria in 1957; and a Republic in 1960, also three years before Nigeria attained that status. Nkrumah tilted more towards communism and socialism; while Nigeria pursued a capitalist economy. Ghana and Nigeria suffered the same political fate of military intervention. Additionally, they also both suffered economic depression at different times. First to be evacuated from Ghana were Nigerians who aggressively, as they are wont to do, participated aggressively in the economic development of Ghana in the 1950s and were sent back home. Trust Nigerians. They would always work very hard wherever they are (like African Jews) and record monumental successes. A study reveals that: The successful exploits of Nigerian migrants as traders, cocoa farmers, farm labourers and farm contractors, factory workers as well as menial workers in construction sites ensured a further influx of more Nigerians into Ghana between 1931 and 1960. Hence, the population of Nigerians in Ghana increased geometrically from 57,400 in 1931 to 191,802 in 1960. (Erdkunde; 1972) Thus, Nigerians were sent packing in the late 1950s and 1969. Nigeria also sent Ghanaians back home in 1983, in an exercise tagged: Ghana Must Go when Ghanaians who also came in large numbers and worked in various sectors of the Nigerian economy were expelled from Nigeria. That God now for ECOWAS Protocol on Migration.
As Ghana marks its independence anniversary today, people who are old enough to recognise the worth of our political heroes or who have read about liberation struggles will remember some of the great Africans who did their very best for their societies. These include 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 Africas independence movements, who led Ghana (then Gold Coast) to independence in March, 1957. His agenda was regional integration and remained committed to decolonization of colonies in Africa. He championed the cause of the political union of African nations to operate a confederation. Nkrumah served as the first prime minister of the Gold Coast (195257) and of Ghana (195760), and first president of the Republic of Ghana (196066) Kwame Nkrumahs image loomed large, even outside Africa.
Popularly called: Osagyefo, Nkrumah had an unbending resolve to 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 1950s by the then emerging statesmen and activists of African nations, piling pressure on colonialists quit Africa for Africans to 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 for immediate continental political union, while others favoured slower steps towards unity. Many of these were inspired by Kwame Nkrumahs unbending resolve to forge African unity; and Julius Nyereres principles 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 (later Olubadan of Ibadan) & Hon. S.O. Gbinovia from the defunct Mid-Western Region)
EVEN ENGLAND WAITED FOR NKRUMAH
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 years 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 Kenya and 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 drivers 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)
HISTORY BEING REPLAYED
NKRUMAHS VISIT TO NIGERIA
Senate President Bukola Saraki addressed the Ghanaian Parliament, and President Muhammadu Buhari is playing a key role in Ghanas 61st Independence Day celebrations. TERRIFIC HEADLINES recalls that this is indeed a replay of history. When Kwame Nkrumah visited Nigeria shortly after Ghana became independent and Nigeria was looking forward to 1960, he was hosted by Premier Azikiwe who recalled, in his speech to the Eastern Nigerian Parliament, how he was a New arrival at Accra, and an energetic journalist in charge of the African Morning Post, whose motto was: Independent in all things and neutral in nothing affecting the destiny of Africa. Nnamdi Azikiwe in the Welcome Address stated that: May I also acclaim the entourage of my worthy comrade in the cause of human freedom. These men have made history and it is proper that we should honour them today. May I say that I look forward eagerly to the day when Nigerians, as citizens of a fully independent and sovereign State, can join our honoured guests and the people of Ghana not only in enjoying political freedom, but also in participating in the titanic struggle for the freedom of all Africa from exploitation in every form and, under God, create a hate-free, a fear-free, and a greed-free continent peopled by free men and women. And I pray that Almighty God may give us the strength to accomplish this herculean task which it has pleased history to assign to us. Sentimentally, Nnamdi Azikiwe concluded the memorable speech, as recorded in a publication: A Selection from the Speeches of Nnamdi Azikiwe this way: Indeed, history has shown that the struggle for freedom in Africa is an epic in the annals of humanity. Welcome to Nigeria, Kwame Nkrumah! Welcome to this corner of West Africa, Kodjo Tiotsio, Krobo Edusei, Kofi Baako! Welcome to Africa, the land of your grandsires and tile land of your dreams, George Padmore!
TERRIFIC HEADLINES rejoices with The Republic of Ghana, particularly our numerous Ghananian New Media friends and well-wishers on the occasion of Ghanas 61st Independence Anniversary celebrations. Forward Ever, Africa!
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