Tuesday, March 6, 2007
A GOLDEN JUBILEE ESSAY
By: ISAAC M. QUIST
TODAY Ghana is making the 50th anniversary of her independence under the theme ‘Championing African Excellence’, and the subtext is undoubtedly the need for unity.
Unity is a requisite if the nation is to attain excellence and achieve all its other aspirations and goals.
Unity has to be the bedrock of this quest because it is only the weaving together, as with Kente cloth, of the varied hues and strengths of the human and natural resources that a beautiful outcome can be assured.
And unifying presupposes an acceptance of the complementary importance of the role of others, a recognition that no one country or person can succeed alone. It is also a recognition that unity enforces a purpose and hence leads to achievement.
We recall the sentiments expressed at the weekend by President John Kufour, at the 80th anniversary celebration of Achimota School. He pointed out that there is the need to recognize the common destiny of all the ethnic, cultural, religious and political groupings within the country for a peaceful co-existence.
The President’s thought-provoking statement that, “when we begin to stress what unites us, it becomes easier to resolve those things that divide us”, summed up in a few words a truth that should be taken as a guiding light. It is instructive that it is always the focusing on what divides that brings conflict.
Against this backdrop, it is commendable that the main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress has said that it will be represented at today’s Jubilee Parade at the Independence Square, led by flag bearer Professor John Atta-Mills. Independence Day is a national celebration and it is therefore important for all to put aside their differences and join hands with fellow citizens to mark it.
Ghana has been blessed by the Grace of God that the civil wars and serious conflicts that have plagued some African countries have not been visited on us. True, this country has had its own turbulence, but thank God that is behind us and we have been charting a new course at which we are making steady progress.
Some would say that even these are enough reason to celebrate, apart from the fact that a Golden Jubilee is an auspicious occasion all over the world whether it is that of an individual or a country, and Ghana should not be an exception.
The Independence Square is today privileged to host many foreign Heads of State and other dignitaries in response to the President’s invitation, not to mention sons and daughters of the Ghanaian Diaspora who have come home in their numbers. And it is only because they, too, believe that Ghana has cause for celebration.
The presence also in the country of reportedly some 300 representatives of the world’s media is also testimony that the international community believes that Ghana has a story to be told. As the first country in black Africa to throw off the chains of colonial rule, this country has always been a pacesetter.
It is instructive that in the run-up to today’s event, some of the most critical western media have devoted considerable air time and space to publicizing the Golden Jubilee, and notably, it has been mostly supportive coverage.
The BBC, for example, has been reporting on and promoting the anniversary for weeks, including a number of special programmes, and it is being climaxed this morning with a live coverage of the Jubilee Parade.
Time magazine’s latest issue, has made the Golden Jubilee an eight-page cover story, and appropriately its cover shows a picture of a splendid Kente cloth. It is no mean achievement to catch the attention and the positive interest of the international media.
President Kufuor’s government, and Ghana, must be doing something right.
Of course, it also has something to do with Ghana’s status on the continent, not only in the past, during the period of Independence, but also at present. For, one of the most memorable quotations from Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, whose achievement is being honoured by this Jubilee, is what he said that glorious night 50 years ago, that the independence of Ghana was linked to the total liberation of the African continent.
This is why it is especially significant that Ghana’s current President was recently elected chairman of the African Union, the successor body to the Organisation of African Unity which President Nkrumah was so instrumental in founding.
It is also encouraging that on the eve of Ghana’s Golden Jubilee, at the weekend news came of the signing at last of an agreement between the warring factions in neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire that is seen as durable and workable.
The anniversary provides an opportunity for the nation to reflect on its past, assess its present and see where to straighten the path taken for the future.
In this special issue of our paper today, a number of eminent people have taken on this assignment in their various areas of expertise. We hope that the insights they provide will add to readers’ store of knowledge and enhance an appreciation of Ghana’s fifty-year journey.
Above all, the occasion should, hopefully, provide inspiration for the future.
It should inspire Ghanaians of all ethnic backgrounds and callings, men and women, to use the inherent power that conquered colonialism, with fewer tools and facilities than now, to unite in diversity for the remaining challenges.
That is the way to ensure that Ghana can achieve its development goals fully as it heads confidently into its 51st year and beyond.
We wish everybody a memorable and happy celebration.
And to all the Golden Jubilee guests we say, akwaaba!
THE LEADERS, FROM 1957
DR. KWAME NKRUMAH
GEN. JOSEPH ANKRAH
GEN. AKWASI AFRIFA
DR. KOFI ABREFA BUSIA
GEN. IGNATIUS KUTU ACHEAMPONG
GEN. F.W.K. AKUFFO
DR. HILLA LIMANN
FLT.-LT. JERRY JOHN RAWLINGS
PRESIDENT J.A. KUFOUR
THE GHANAIAN TIMES - Tuesday, March 6, 2007 Pages: 1 & 5