Founder`s Day is a statutory public holiday in Ghana and thus observed annually on the 21st of September to commemorate the birthday of Ghana`s first president, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. It was initiated a few years ago under the Presidency of Professor John Evans Atta Mills and consolidated by the Mahama - led administration.
The christening of this celebration has aroused an ongoing debate in certain quarters but is irrelevant to the message I yearn to put across. The founding fathers of our dear nation obviously had a dream; a dream that was not limited to the political emancipation of the Gold Coast but also her economic emancipation. Their dream was to make Ghana a beacon of hope to the African continent and a conducive domicile for her citizenry.
One of those who championed the afore-mentioned aspirations and ideals was Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. He had his faults and all but what can not be denied is that he was a visionary leader who tirelessly sought to facilitate the actualization of these aspirations. Little wonder he once noted, “We face neither East nor West, we face forward”. So true! We face forward and forward we must.
Admittedly, Ghana is still riddled by numerous and diverse challenges; notable amongst them are challenges with the economy, energy, water, healthcare, graduate unemployment etal. Truth be told, we as a nation have chalked some successes but these are relatively minimal and progress has been slow under the watch of governments since independence. The blame can not laid at the doorstep of one government or the other.
We have loads of work to do no doubt. It was Dr. Kwame Nkrumah who once quipped, “What other countries have taken three hundred years or more to achieve, a once dependent territory must try to accomplish in a generation if it is to survive. Unless it is, as it were jet propelled it will lag behind and thus risk everything for which it has fought”. So true!
Ghana ought to develop by leaps and bounds. If this feat is to be chalked, it must be our collective responsibility; that of the government and the governed. It was John F. Kennedy, a remarkable one time president of the United States of America who once remarked, “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”. Little wonder America is perhaps the world’s wealthiest and most developed nation at present. Dare we ask similar questions of ourselves?
The point is that, national development is a collective and shared responsibility. Everyone ought to put his or her shoulders to the wheel. This is an absolute necessity if ever Ghana will become the nation of our dreams; a prosperous nation, a nation that has replicated the success story of nations such as Singapore and indeed a beacon of hope to the African continent. This is a call to duty; a call to patriotism; a call to make our dear nation great and strong. Yes we can! Yes we must! Happy Founder`s Day celebrations!!!
Written by: Daniel Dela Dunoo (Freelance writer/Theologian)