The Kwame Nkrumah Centenary Planning Committee has organised the 8th in the series of Campus Lectures, to mark the centenary of the birth of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, at the University of Ghana. The lecture, which was under the theme, “His Ideas, His Vision, His Times, The Record”, attracted a large audience made up of academics, students, and people from within and outside the country.
Speaking on the topic, “50 Years On, What Does It Mean To Be A Republic?” the Executive Director of Third World Network, Dr. Yao Graham, said the objective of the 1960 Republican Constitution of Ghana was to create a society of political and social equity, without discrimination against any person, ethnic group or political party. According to Dr. Graham, the Constitution endowed all citizens with the right to rule or to decide who ruled.
Giving a critique of the situation in the country, Dr. Graham noted that educational and other social institutions and facilities were becoming a source of inequality. He was also apprehensive of the phenomenon of some “chiefdoms” and paramount areas assuming control of their neighbours, saying it goes against the logic of the 1960 Constitution.
Mr. Kwesi Pratt, Editor of the “Insight” newspaper who spoke on the topic, “The Political and Cultural Legacy of Kwame Nkrumah”, criticized the overthrow of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, as well as preceding events after. He expressed displeasure about the passing of a law by the 2nd Republican Parliament, under a certificate of urgency, prohibiting the possession and circulation of Dr. Nkrumah’s photographs, and the burning of books and other intellectual property relating to Dr. Nkrumah.
Mr. Pratt observed that, even though there was phenomenal expansion in school buildings, roads, dams and other amenities, the most enduring legacy of Dr. Nkrumah was the ideas of self-reliance and accelerated development which constituted the framework, within which the projects were executed, rather than the individual projects.
He said Dr. Nkrumah’s strategies of promulgating a unitary constitution, and bringing various ethnic groups together in boarding schools, inter alia, helped to promote national cohesion.
Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. C.N.B. Tagoe, who chaired the event, welcomed members of the Kwame Nkrumah Centenary Planning Committee and other guests, said the University was pleased to host the lecture and be part of Dr. Nkrumah’s centenary celebrations. He praised Dr. Nkrumah for establishing the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, in addition to the numerous projects he embarked upon.
The Chairperson of the Kwame Nkrumah Centenary Planning Committee, Prof. Akilagpa Sawyerr, thanked the Vice-Chancellor and the Students Representative Council for hosting the event. He noted that the purpose of the event was not to defy, nor antagonise anybody or faction, but rather to educate citizens, particularly the youth, about the life and times of Dr. Nkrumah.
At the end of the lecture Prof. Sawyerr presented a Certificate of Honour to the University of Ghana for participating in the centenary celebrations. The certificate was received by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Kwesi Yankah, on behalf of the University.