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Monday, September 7, 2009

Africa To Celebrate Nkrumah's Life

The late Dr Kwame Nkrumah
The late Dr Kwame Nkrumah
The African Union (AU) has decided that the continent will, on May 25, 2010, celebrate the life of Ghana’s first President, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, to climax the commemoration of the centenary birthday of the man who is incontrovertibly acclaimed as the African of the 20th Millennium.

Before then, on September 21, 2009, many Africans and their leaders will also join Ghanaians here and in their respective countries to celebrate the centenary birthday of the man who led Ghana to independence from British colonial rule in 1957 and provided the needed inspiration for the total liberation of Africa from colonialism.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni, made this known in Accra last Friday at the 7th Conference on Dr Kwame Nkrumah/Awards 2009, which was organised by the West Africa international magazine, in collaboration with the Nkrumah Vision Alive Movement, a non-governmental organisation.

All the speakers at the forum were unanimous that Dr Nkrumah was the African of the millennium as they extolled his leadership, vision and commitment towards the emancipation of Africa and the projection of the black race in the global political order.

Alhaji Mumuni said the decision by President Mills to declare September 21 a statutory public holiday in Ghana in honour of Dr Nkrumah, was not by accident, but in recognition of his selfless service to the country and Africa as a whole.

He said in view of the importance President Mills attached to the centenary celebration of Dr Nkrumah’s birthday, he would delay his departure from Accra to the US to attend the UN General Assembly Meeting by one day to enable him to take part in the celebration.

The Foreign Minister said Dr Nkrumah lived ahead of his time and peers, pointing out that at a time when he (Nkrumah) advocated African unity, many people did not understand him, "but 50 years later, African leaders are now talking continental unity".

"Today, we all recognise that continental unity is the only way Africa can compete favourably in the global setting," he noted.

Alhaji Mumuni said in his maiden address to the UN General Assembly, two days after Ghana had attained independence, Dr Nkrumah emphasised the need for reforms in the world body to make it more democratic and all-inclusive, adding that more than 50 years after making that statement, everyone was now talking about the need for reforms in the UN.

In a presentation, a veteran journalist, Nana Essilfie Conduah, said Ghana and Africa could not fully repay their indebtedness to Dr Nkrumah.

He said US President Barack Obama might be receiving applause across the world for becoming the first black US President, but Dr Nkrumah had already sparkled Africa to the rest of the world.

In another presentation, the Director-General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), Prof. Edward H. K. Akaho, applauded the wisdom of Dr Nkrumah in establishing a nuclear research reactor in Ghana based on his firm conviction that science and technology were cardinal in addressing Ghana and Africa’s socio-economic problems.

He said Dr Nkrumah underscored the value of nuclear energy for electricity generation to promote effective and rapid industrialisation of the country, adding, "Today, there is far greater realisation than anytime before of the importance of nuclear energy as, perhaps, the only viable solution to sustainable development without further aggravating the global environment that is already threatening serious climate change."

Prof. Akaho said regrettably, the nuclear project was disrupted after the overthrow of Dr Nkrumah in 1966, until 1973 when it was reactivated under the regime of the late Gen I. K. Acheampong.

He said among other benefits, atomic energy could be used for the generation of base-load electricity to support industrial growth and the production of fresh water by sea water desalination.

The Editor-in-Chief of West Africa international magazine, Dr D. Otibu Asare, expressed gratitude to former President J. J. Rawlings for providing a befitting resting place for the mortal remains of Dr Nkrumah, and to President Mills for declaring the birthday of Dr Nkrumah as a statutory public holiday.

He said Dr Nkrumah was a century ahead of his generation, adding that it was several decades after his death that African leaders woke up to his philosophical wisdom in the formation of an African Union.

The chairman for the function, Mr Cyril Ajagu, said Dr Nkrumah had come and gone and it was now time for Africans "to liberate ourselves from ourselves".

As part of the ceremony, some individuals and organisations who have excelled in leadership roles and other fields of endeavour were given awards.

They included the Foreign Affairs Minister, Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni; the Minister of Defence, Lt. Gen. J. H. Smith (retd); the Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan; Regimanuel Gray Ltd and Manet Group.

A book titled, Nkrumanomics: Recipe for Africa’s emancipation, written by S. Agble, was launched at the ceremony.

The Minister of Defence, who launched the book, commended the author for the initiative, saying any attempt to add more information to existing literature on Dr Nkrumah should be welcome.

Author : Kofi Yeboah

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