By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
At the Independence-Day Debate, held at the Kofi Annan Center for Excellence in ICT in Accra recently, Dr. Richard Amoako-Baah said all the right and factual things vis-a-vis why Ghana is in the Stygian mess in which we find ourselves presently. Nevertheless, as was to be expected, the fanatical Nkrumacrats went after the Head of the Political Science Department at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (See “Ghana Would Be Better Off If Nkrumah Hadn’t Made Enemies – Amoako-Baah” MyJoyOnline.com / Ghanaweb.com 3/27/15).
But what is even more true to underscore is the fact that from the get-go, as New Yorkers are wont to say, Kwame Nkrumah was intent on promoting the African-American Agenda of Pan-Africanism which, in of itself, was not a bad idea or agenda at all, except that it was diametrically at variance with the direction in which the overwhelming majority of Ghanaians wanted to go – which was to dedicate the bulk of their nation’s resources to making life as livable in ways that their British colonial overlords had either denied them or totally not been interested in. For instance, it would take the determination, action and rhetorical vehemence of Dr. Joseph (Kwame Kyeretwie) Boakye-Danquah to get the British colonial administration to consent to the establishment of the country’s flagship academy, the University of Ghana.
Ironically, today, Dr. Danquah is the only seminal Ghanaian nationalist leader without any landmark dedicated to his glory and memory on the sprawling campus of the University of Ghana. I have also noted several times, elsewhere before, that when it comes to an understanding of the need for the development of higher education in the country, the putative Doyen of Gold Coast and Ghanaian Politics has few peers. As of this writing, I can only think of Dr. James Emmanuel Kwegyir Aggrey and the culturally and academically authoritative Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia. But what I initially wanted to observe here is the fact that both the Nkrumah-founded University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, which presently bears his name, and the University of Cape Coast used to be integral colleges within the larger academic set-up of the University of Ghana, Legon.
And so, really, one has a hard time envisaging the proverbial African Show Boy in the sort of nonesuch visionary icon which his fanatical supporters would have the rest of the world believe. One cannot honestly begrudge the man his remarkable contributions to the development of colonial and postcolonial Ghana. The fact of the matter, though, is that Mr.Kwame Nkrumah was no more visionary than the great men and women who invited the hitherto stranded and cash-strapped London sojourner to come down to the erstwhile Gold Coast to lend his purported organizational skills, largely, to the ongoing Ghanaian and African liberation struggle.
That Nkrumah’s inescapably Machiavellian betrayal of his political mentors and ideological superiors cost the country dearly is an incontrovertible fact, and Dr. Amoako-Baah positions himself far and away from his peers on the ground when he emphasizes the fact that doggedly and prematurely pushing a Pan-Africanist agenda on Ghanaians in ways and directions in which the very people who afforded him their mandate did not intend to go, or be taken, was equally indisputably tantamount to a flagrant breach of trust. There is also this rhetorical bromide, at least one fan-fool presumed to snag Dr. Amoako-Baah with it in the chatroom of Ghanaweb.com recently, about Nkrumah’s having uniquely conjured and caused to be constructed the Akosombo Dam.
Well, had the barely literate critic bothered to research the subject even casually, he would have learned to his great surprise, and perhaps even shock, that Sir Albert Kitson’s brainchild was actually “conjured” while the future President Nkrumah was barely out of diapers. That pathetic fan-fool would also have learned to his utter embarrassment that the Akosombo Dam cost Ghana at least three times the prevailing market value. And this was all because as Dr. Amoako-Baah aptly observed, the the clinically cantankerous Ghanaian leader was too naively angry at the country’s colonial overlords and the allies of the latter to fully appreciate the practical dynamics of international relations.
And for those of our readers who may either not know this or may simply be reluctant and too deeply steeped in their sense of denial to accept the same, it was this bare-knuckled fact of life that differentiated the globally immortalized Singaporean premier and astute lawyer Mr. Lee Kuan Yew from “Osagyefo Doctor” Kwame Nkrumah.
Source: By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York