“At long last, the battle has ended! And thus, Ghana, your beloved country is free forever!” These were the words of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah to Ghanaians on the eve of March 6 1957, when he delivered the first independence speech in the history of Ghana.
Our forefathers fought tirelessly to grant us the independence that we enjoy today. They gave up themselves for this cause, in which I believe many lost their lives, in freeing our country from foreign rule and imperialism. Dr Nkrumah noted the difficulties, imprisonments, hardships and suffering, they went through, but thanked the Almighty God that he had brought us to the end of our troubles.
Consolidating our gains
Indeed, the people of Ghana agree with our founding fathers and give thanks to the Almighty God for seeing us through 63 years as an independent nation.
Last Friday, March 6 2020, marked our 63rd birthday as a nation. The theme for the 63rd Independence Day is “Consolidating Our Gains”. As a nation, we have made great strides to make our nation great and strong. Since independence, successive governments have contributed tremendously in the area of health, education, agriculture, political stability, and infrastructure, just to mention a few.
During birthdays, we take stock of our lives, plan for the years ahead, and make resolutions. As a young Ghanaian, I decided, for the first time, to read Dr Nkrumah’s Independence Day speech. As I read it, I came to understand the zeal, passion, love, commitment and philosophy of our founding fathers. Sixty-three years down the line, I believe that Dr Nkrumah’s speech still speaks to Ghanaians.
He stated, “And as I pointed out… I made it quite clear that from now on – today – we must change our attitudes, our minds, we must realise that from now on, we are no more a colonial but a free and independent people.”
If Ghana were to be a person, he would be on retirement by now. The big question is: have our minds and attitudes changed? What legacy are we leaving for future generations? With the way we are living as Ghanaians, will future generations be proud of us?
One such attitude we have to change from is bribery and corruption. This is killing our nation. It has become the norm. Some public officials ask for bribes to do things they are supposed to do. Some even call it “motivation”. Corruption is everywhere. It is as if it is in our DNA. Politics is now a means to amass wealth. People get into politics and within few years live affluently. The political few live lavishly while the majority of Ghanaians suffer. Every year, the country loses millions of Ghana cedis to corruption.
The fifth and sixth lines of the first stanza of our national anthem reads, “Fill our hearts with true humility. Make us cherish fearless honesty”. If Ghanaians live by these principles, things will change for the better. If we are honest as a people, there is no way bribery and corruption will be a norm.
We have made progress but there is still more to be done. To reshape our destiny as a nation, it behooves on us as a people to listen to the admonishment of our founding fathers, live by the principles in our national anthem, change our attitudes and make Ghana a nation that will be respected by every nation in the world.
SOURCE: Frimpong Mansoh Cobbina