NPP must work to realise aspirations of Ghanaians (February 22)


Rev. Prof. Emeritus John S. Pobee giving a lecture at a ceremony in Accra. Picture: BENEDICT OBUOBI
The government has been advised to get to work to realise the aspirations of Ghanaians who are full of expectation.
Instead of harping on its Danquah-Busia heritage, the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) must work hard and leave a lasting legacy just as J.B Danquah had done.
The advice from Rev. Prof. Emeritus John S. Pobee, an Anglican Theologian, also included the need for politicians from all sides of the political divide to continue to work in the collective interest of the nation and its citizens.
He said there were politicians who used the Danquah-Busia name but could not point to things that the duo, particularly Dr Danquah had done to champion the cause of the country.
The former Executive Director of Theological Education of the World Council of Churches in Switzerland explained that just as the NPP touted the achievement of Danquah, the party must also leave a lasting legacy for generations unborn to remember.
 “He (Danquah) lived his life for the nation and not for his personal interest. He was a visionary who thought ahead and inspired us to do things in our context,” he said at the 50th J.B. Danquah Memorial lectures in Accra last Monday.
On the first day of the three-day lecture, it was on the topic: “Peace and Security: An African Christian Theological Contribution.”
According to Rev. Prof. Emeritus Pobee, the goal of politics was to ensure peace and security of people and not just for power.
Man of many sides
Although he was one of the country’s leading voices and activists against colonialism, Dr Danquah has over the years been put in the shadows of his contemporary, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, who led the country to independence from British colonial rule in 1957.
But Rev. Prof. Emeritus Pobee said Dr Danquah who had his named etched in history as a doyen of Ghana politics was a man of many parts whose contribution to the country’s heritage left footprints in education, politics, youth development and the economy.
Going into the details, he said although Dr Danquah parted ways with Dr Nkrumah after the latter left the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), it was the former’s research on the old Ghana Empire and his link between the Bonds of 1844 and Ghana’s independence that the latter accepted to change the country’s name to Ghana and also declare its independence on March 6, 1957.
“The interesting thing is that his political nemesis, Nkrumah, could accept his research so that at Independence, we became Ghana and stopped using Gold Coast,” he said.
On March 6, 1844, the British signed a political agreement with a confederation of Fante states. Known as the Bond of 1844, the agreement extended British protection to the signatory states and gave Britain a degree of authority over them. In subsequent years, additional coastal and interior states signed the Bond.
It was the first agreement indigenous leaders signed with colonialist thus, the March 6 was seen as a date to severe ties with colonialism.
He said the late Danquah was not just a visionary but was also an actor who dug in his feet and got things done.
Education
He also credited the late Danquah as being the man who made a strong case for the establishment of the University College of the Gold Coast at a time the British colonial power set up committees at different times to look into the establishment of universities in British territories in West Africa.
While one committee recommended three universities in the Gold Coast, Nigeria and Sierra Leone another suggested only one for the entire subregion but this tickled Danquah’s nerves.
Hence, the Anglican theologian said, Dr Danquah made a forceful argument before the National Assembly, saying “the Gold Coast is not Nigeria. Achimota is not Yaba or Ibadan and never would be. For purely cultural reasons, I conceived that the Gold Coast a proud little with a good reason for being proud, can never and will never be proud of a university situated in Ibadan.”
He said Danquah then went on to make a case for the establishment of a university that suits the culture and tradition of the Gold Coast—University College of the Gold Coast (now University of Ghana) and much later the then University of Science and Technology (now Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology).
Distorted history
An author with many books to his credit, Rev. Prof. Emeritus Pobee observed that Danquah was a historian who ensured that Ghanaians who got first-hand Ghanaian history through his books and not distorted western accounts.
“Our stories were sieved through their thinking. Many at times, we just take the fabrication from foreign lands and things don’t jell properly in our context. Therefore, Danquah was one of the people who tried to help us to drink from our own wells so that we can be authentic Ghanaians and not pseudo Europeans,” he explained.
Youth development
He paid tribute to the late Danquah for championing the cause of the youth through integration of the youth into national politics and other issues of national importance as far back as 1938; at a time the adage “young people must be seen and not heard” was the norm.

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