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Akufo-Addo: 4 August most appropriate day to celebrate country’s forebears

Akufo-Addo made the assertion in an address to the nation to herald the 4th year since the 4 August founders day holiday was instituted

President Akufo-Addo has reiterated his conviction that setting aside the 4 August as founders day remains an appropriate way to recognize and appreciate the collective efforts of the nation’s forebears in securing the independence of the state.

He made the assertion in an address to the nation to herald the 4th year since the 4 August founders day holiday was instituted. The holiday was first observed in 2019.

“Undoubtedly, Fellow Ghanaians, that day, 4th August, is clearly the most appropriate day to signify our recognition and appreciation of the collective efforts of our forebears towards the founding of a free, independent Ghana. We should continue to celebrate this day accordingly.

“Today, seventy-six (76) years later, and sixty-six (66) years after independence, our nation is considered a beacon of democracy and stability in Africa, where the rule of law, respect for individual liberties and human rights, and the principles of democratic accountability are part and parcel of our governance structure,”  President Akufo-Addo said.

“These are the very things for which our forebears fought. The battle our generation must fight and win is that of rapid economic development. We must set Ghana to rights, and get our country to where it should be.

“The challenge before us remains to build a modern economy, and, thereby, generate a prosperous, progressive and dignified life for the mass of our people. Hard work, enterprise, creativity, discipline and a consistent and effective fight against corruption in public life would bring the transformation we seek. I am confident that, with a united will, we can achieve this in our life time” Akufo-Addo added.

Below is the full address  of President Akufo-Addo

Fellow Ghanaians, good evening.

Tomorrow, four (4) years ago, on 4th August 2019, our nation commemorated the maiden edition of Founders’ Day, a day set aside to recognize the contributions made by successive generations of Ghanaians, across many decades, to the liberation of our nation from the shackles of colonialism and imperialism, and the founding of the new nation-state of Ghana.

Four (4) years on, it is good to see that the needless controversy, spurred on by largely outdated political considerations, that, initially, embroiled the celebration of this day, is being set aside gradually, as more and more Ghanaians now come to appreciate the collective effort made by many Ghanaians to the process of gaining our independence.

4th August in the life and history of our nation is one of utmost importance. It is, indeed, a sacred day. We must remember the sacrifices made, some one hundred and twenty-six (126) years ago, when a group of our forebears formed the Aborigines Rights Protection Society in Cape Coast on 4th August 1897 to resist the application and implementation of the 1897 Crown Lands Bill, which sought to sequestrate and expropriate our lands to the benefit of the British Crown, as was done during the same era to the lands of our fellow Africans in Eastern and Southern Africa.

The Society mobilized the Chiefs and people and public opinion in the then Gold Coast to agitate against this pernicious legislation, and, eventually, forced the colonial power to withdraw the Bill. The ownership of our lands was never in issue again during the rest of the colonial period. We should not, then, forget that we continued to possess our lands freely, unlike the situation in Eastern and Southern Africa, because of the bravery and foresight of the members of the Aborigines Rights Protection Society, and we must continually pay homage to these patriots.

Fellow Ghanaians, the second of the two significant events in the struggle, after the agitations of the 1920s, 1930s and early 1940s, then occurred on 4th August 1947, exactly fifty years later to the day of the formation of the Aborigines Rights Protection Society, when a group of nationalists, including “paramount chiefs, clergymen, lawyers, entrepreneurs, teachers, traders and men and women from all walks of life in the Gold Coast”, according to an eye witness, gathered in Saltpond for the launch of the United Gold Coast Convention, the UGCC, the first political party in our country.

The UGCC was the first political party to make a formal demand for independence, indeed, the first time any such demand was made in colonial Africa, a demand made eleven (11) days before the declaration of India’s independence on 15th August, 1947.

In the words of the chronicler, L.H Ofosu-Appiah, 4th August, 1947 “marked the beginning of a new era in the Gold Coast.” It is the date which shaped and determined the course of our collective history – setting the stage for an organised front for Ghana’s independence struggle.

History has captured the seminal events that unlocked the door to freedom – the triggering of mass resistance by Nii Kwabena Bonney (Boycott Hene) through the boycott of goods of European traders; the riots that consumed the country, reflecting the nation’s rage at the senseless shootings and killings by the British colonial police, at Christiansborg Crossroads, on 28th February 1948, of three unarmed ex-service men, Sergeant Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe and Private Odartey Lamptey, part of a group of unarmed ex-servicemen who were marching peacefully to present a petition of their grievances to the colonial Governor at Christiansborg Castle; the subsequent arrest of the UGCC leaders, who have gone down in history as the legendary “Big Six”, JB Danquah, Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey, Edward Akufo-Addo, Ebenezer Ako Adjei, William Ofori-Atta, Kwame Nkrumah, by the colonial authorities, who held them responsible for the disturbances; the establishment of the Watson Commission, which helped design the path towards independence in 1957; and the formation, in 1949, of the Convention Peoples’ Party by Kwame Nkrumah, which, thereafter, became the principal organ for the prosecution of the nationalist agenda.

Kwame Nkrumah led the nationalist movement with panache and verve, and, on 6th March, 1957, took us to our promised land of independence, of freedom and justice, for which the Ghanaian people will always be grateful to him – hence his memorialisation on a special day, Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day, the only Ghanaian to be so honoured.

Undoubtedly, Fellow Ghanaians, that day, 4th August, is clearly the most appropriate day to signify our recognition and appreciation of the collective efforts of our forebears towards the founding of a free, independent Ghana. We should continue to celebrate this day accordingly.

Today, seventy-six (76) years later, and sixty-six (66) years after independence, our nation is considered a beacon of democracy and stability in Africa, where the rule of law, respect for individual liberties and human rights, and the principles of democratic accountability are part and parcel of our governance structure.

These are the very things for which our forebears fought. The battle our generation must fight and win is that of rapid economic development.

We must set Ghana to rights, and get our country to where it should be. The challenge before us remains to build a modern economy, and, thereby, generate a prosperous, progressive and dignified life for the mass of our people. Hard work, enterprise, creativity, discipline and a consistent and effective fight against corruption in public life would bring the transformation we seek. I am confident that, with a united will, we can achieve this in our life time.

I wish all Ghanaians a happy Founders’ Day, and may God bless us all, and our homeland Ghana, and make her great and strong.

Reporting by Wilberforce Asare in Accra

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