Exactly forty-nine years ago today, 1972, the Osagyefo Nkrumah took his last breath and triumphantly exited the world in a hospital in Bucharest, Romania. Five years after the coward and traitor Kotoka and his entourage of leeches staged a CIA-sponsored coup while the Osagyefo was away in Hanoi – Vietnam to broker a peace pact.
You need not be neither a soothsayer nor a Jewish prophet to correctly predict the February 1966 coup is to blame for Nkrumah’s early death. This was a man full of patriotism and with the blessings of all deities of the land, driven to build and develop this lovely and blessed country.
Ghana was the envy of her peers when the Osagyefo was alive and in charge. Ghana was the Messi of the era, breaking records and achieving the impossible. All his peers including Lee Kuan Yew, Josip Broz Tito, Gamel Abdul Nasser etc. took inspiration from him to build their respective countries. He is largely the reason for the friendly relationship we have with many countries of the world.
The Man Nkrumah built and elevated Ghana in just six years. Accomplished what took America two centuries to attain. Forty-nine years after his death, Ghana is still living on his legacies. We still depend largely on the Akosombo to power the nation, the Tema Motorway is still in good use while rains are washing away roads months after their construction and we struggle to light up the Motorway at night the country is settling on fake street lights for solace.
It is usually said you can kill a leader but not his ideology and even the Man himself shared in this assertion when he said, “I am in the knowledge that death can never extinguish the touch which I have lit in Ghana and Africa. Long after I am dead and gone, the light will continue to burn and be borne aloft, giving light and guidance to all people.” It will only be a while before we realize we were wrong. His ideology was not only distorted and attempts made to kill it but it was also criminalized and abolished. There have been numerous attempts both in plain sight and subtly executed to kill his legacies too. Founders Day has replaced Founder’s Day.
Just like the Vanderbilt family empire, the once upon a time one of the richest families in America that went broke due to the descendants lack of vision and direction, the descendants, the people who came after the Osagyefo will loot and virtually bring the country down to its knees and reduce it to borrowing and debts. We became beggars scavenging scrumps from the tables of Europe and the West. We are so much indebted to the tune of GHS291.6 billion as at December 2020, such that half pf our expected revenue will be needed to pay just the interest on these debts. Nkrumah’s Ghana, who bewitched you?
But good thing is, as a visionary, the Osagyefo foresaw these days when his people will play in the mud pool of naivety and foolery and so he documented how we can fly on the peaceful wings of the dove and overtake the serpent in wisdom in books such as; I Speak of Freedom, Africa Must Unite, Neo-Colonialism – The Last Stage of Imperialism, Dark Days in Ghana, Class Struggle in Africa, Revolutionary Path etc. to guide us. But worst thing is, we are too hating of books and sheep of the Bretton Woods Institutions nothing is worth considering if it were not coming from these institutions.
Almost all of the Osagyefo factories were abandoned and left to rot in the seventies because the IMF had advised the government of the day these factories were not viable and were bound to fail. With no study backing the claim, we abounded the factories because this was supposedly coming from the Jesus or Mohammed (SAW) of monetary fund and that is how we lost our economic muscle and freedom and adopted highly dependency. If we were a people that read, we would have found in his 1965 Colonialism – The Last Stage of Imperialism book that, the neo- colonial project began many years even before the fall of colonialism and these institutions were
established to ensure the neo-colonial project was a success.
Like it happened during the colonial era where Africa and for that matter, Ghana, initiated and fed the industrial revolution of Europe, the trend needed to continue even in independence and with Ghana running factories of her own meant the raw materials needed to feed these European factories will either be greatly reduced or non-existent so it was of economic benefit to use the IMF and the World Bank to collapse our factories so theirs can have a constant supply of raw materials. This is how the Osagyefo’s legacy of economic freedom was defeated, so gently corroborated without struggle. The hand that feeds you controls you.
Forty-nine years after everything came crumpling down, we are choking the masses with a One District One Factory slogan with not even a single established and fully functioning factory in the country. The Osagyefo was so visionary and strategic he established factories at where they were needed. The Pwalugu Tomato factory to process the large volumes of tomatoes that was produced up north, the Zuarangu meat factory to process meat, the Aboso glass factory, the Kumasi jute and shoe factories among many others.
The Man was literally strategically placed. It would have cost us nothing to have those factories maintained and running. The Osagyefo wanted to reduce the pressure on the Akosombo Dam so he started the Bui Dam project which he planned to use to power the northern part of the country, nothing tangible and substantial has
been added to the progress of the dam after his demise. We have collectively failed to save and protect the legacies he left behind but have rather passionately run and called him all sort of names including dictator for life.
The man was so organized everything of his was planned. He had plans in place to decongest the capital Accra. He foresaw the housing deficit we face today and formed the State Housing Corporation, the Tema Development Corporation and the State Construction Corporation and began major residential projects – Tema township, Akosombo township, Labone Estates, Airport Residential Area, Ringway Estates, Mamprobi Estates etc. He had already built or started the construction of residential areas in all the regions of the country at the time of his departure.
The Ghanaian by default is a traveler. He formed the State Transport Corporation for domestic travel and commissioned the Ghana Airways for international travel. Forty-nine years later, the only surviving plane from the Ghana Airways fleet is dripped in the colors of 1931 serving as a restaurant. Fly Emirates, a company that was not even conceived at the birth of Ghana Airways has now taken over the international routes. This makes me wonder if the Black man is still capable of managing his own affairs. Rail travel was essential at the time too so he laid rails across the country to transport both humans and goods. And now, with a whole Ministry of Railways Development, there is yet to be a single training running the rails. This only leaves one wondering what they are there developing?
There is absolutely no sector that the Osagyefo did not commit to. He treated all the sectors as equals and with the same sense of urgency and need Nkrumah never dies but his vision and legacy is almost dead. Killed by the people he fought for and he is left to be forgotten. He will certainly be weeping in his grave for not even ten per cent of his vision has been achieved. Sadly, the easiest and smartest way to gain fame today is to
belittle Nkrumah or his legacies, the legacies which they are yet to add some or modify since his
We must correct the wrongs of yester decades and study the Man Nkrumah to reignite the developmental drive which we so desire. If this is too big to ask, simply spare an innocent man who tried his best to save his people the attacks. As a nation that needs to develop, we must start asking all the critical questions of what happened to the Nkrumah legacy and projects. And also have a national day of asking of forgiveness for the incessant attacks on his person and the deliberate and conscious efforts made to snatch his legacies and attribute them to a group of elite who scheduled occasional meetings to discuss business.
Kabah Atawoge | [email protected]