Kwame E. Bidi

FOUNDER’S DAY: FEEDING ON NKRUMAH’S FLAWS AND STARVING ON HIS VISIONS

September 21st, 2010 marked another day in the commemoration of Founder’s Day. Founder’s Day highlights the achievements of Ghana’s illustrious son and Africa’s man of the millennium, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. The day is observed by all African Union (AU) member countries. There are many controversies surrounding the term “Founder’s Day” as some Ghanaians think it should be renamed “Founders’ Day” to acknowledge the roles played by other figures, such as J.B Danquah, in the emancipation struggle of Ghana.

This article skips that particular controversy to address some misunderstanding of Nkrumah by critics. These misunderstandings are often rooted in petty politicking, and try to downplay his achievements and vision for Ghana, Africa, and black people everywhere. It is imperative to make clear that Ghana/Africa celebrates not Nkrumah per se, but his selfless and timeless vision he left not only for Ghanaians or Africans but also for the entire black African people. Another point worth clarifying is that Nkrumah was not an infallible demigod, and therefore not beyond objective criticisms.

Just like every major leader, Nkrumah had his flaws, but it will amount to gross imprudence on our part, and disservice to posterity to continue to feed on his flaws, leave his strengths to rot on the table, and inter his vision with his corpse. There comes a time when people must challenge themselves by rising beyond their selfish inclinations and begin to gravitate towards a bigger stream of consciousness­—one that is clean of petty party politics, pull-him-down mentality, and personal whims. That time could be now!

WHAT OF GADDAFI’S THEORY OF A NIGERIA PARTITIONED ALONG RELIGIOUS LINES?

Gaddafi, the Libyan leader and current head of African Union (AU) recently called on Nigeria to split on religious lines, Christians and Muslims, in order to address the endemic clashes that have claimed many lives. This call has engendered mixed reactions from many Africans, Nigerians in particular. While many think it is a welcoming panacea to the Nigerian crisis, others, including myself, think otherwise.

A religion-inspired division of Nigeria (a federal government) would never resolve the cause of the recurring clashes; neither would it miraculously heal the symptoms. It looks appealing and easy to suggest division and to presume that it holds the prospect for peace. Divide Nigerian on no grounds other than Islamic and Christian ones and you invite xenophobic attacks, deepen blatant hatred and intolerance and set a bad precedent for Nigeria in particular and Africa as a whole. If Islam and Christianity, which are imported religious belief systems, are formidable forces, potent enough to split Nigeria, anything else, be it political dissent, ethnic differences can equally split any African state or justify further balkanization of Africa.

It is important to note that, Nigeria’s oil, which contributes about 90% of its GDP, is mined in the South, where Christians predominate. Enugu, Lagos, Onitsa and other prominent cities in Nigeria with huge public infrastructure, all built from Federal coffers, from both the North and the South, are all located in the South.

THE INDEPENDENCE OF GHANA: TRUNCATED AFRICAN VISION AND THE WAY FORWARD

After several years of independence struggle, Nkrumah and the people of Ghana, with support from fellow Africans, at home and abroad, succeeded finally in liberating Ghana from colonial shackles – at least politically. That happened on 6 March 1957. There was a need, however, for the sustainable economic liberation of Ghanaians. That way their political independence would be rendered more meaningful.

As every economist would agree, Nkrumah saw Ghana, a nation with a little over six million people at the time, as economically unviable, as it could not possibly benefit from the kind of economies of scale needed to survive and compete fairly on the international market. Naturally, he sought to help Africa decolonize, using every means possible, so that through their collective power as a giant nation – the Nation of Africa- would pool their resources together and become competitive economically, have a voice on the international stage, and collectively push for the interests of Africa.

The West, however, realized that, a United Africa, with a socialist development agenda, together with its natural resources

%d bloggers like this: