The last thing that anybody wants to be drawn into on the eve of one's birthday, and in the middle of a handsome breakfast, is a pointless debate regarding whether Dr. Joseph (Kwame Kyeretwie) Boakye-Danquah, the putative Doyen of Gold Coast and Ghanaian politics, as well as the nominal Father of modern Ghana and founder of Ghana's flagship academy, the University of Ghana, is greater than Mr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana and founder of the Convention People's Party (CPP).
First of all, we must hasten to note that without the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), co-founded by Dr. Danquah and Mr. George Alfred (Paa) Grant, there would likely not have existed any political party called “Convention” People's Party, a veritable derivative and institutional offshoot of the UGCC. And, it is worthwhile noting that Nkrumah himself fully recognized this incontrovertibly historical fact well enough, thus his proud and routine acknowledgement of the fact of him having made a seminal contribution to the country's development through his, admittedly, remarkable role as both an organizer and General-Secretary of the United Gold Coast Convention.
Furthermore, long before Nkrumah arrived in London from the United States and enlisted himself into the executive membership of the West African Students' Union (WASU), the seminal training ground for many of the prominent leaders of the African liberation movement, the shortly to become “Dr.” J. B. Danquah, foremost John Stuart Mill Scholar in the Philosophy of the Logic of the Mind, having also won a gold medal for the same from the University of London, had been elected as First President of the West African Students' Union.
And so, in essence, the scandalous notion making the shameless rounds among members of the Nkrumaist circle in Ghana, to the damnable effect that beyond Ghana's colonialist territorial boundaries, the Doyen of Gold Coast and Ghanaian politics was, literally, at sea, must be squarely envisaged for what it primarily is; and the latter is patently integral to the sacrilegious fabric and chimerical lunacy of the nescient Nkrumaist fanatics.
What is also significant to stress is the fact that in 1930, while on his deathbed, Mr. Joseph Ephraim Casely-Hayford, founder of the National Congress of British West Africa (NCBWA), father of CPP stalwart Mr. Archie Casely-Hayford, envisaged Dr. Danquah as the one Ghanaian (Gold Coaster then) who was singularly qualified to pilot the Ghanaian ship of state into the heady, albeit murky, waters of independence, thus his solemn knighting of Dr. Danquah as a perfect replacement for the dying Mr. J. E. Casely-Hayford.
In sum, had Dr. Danquah been woefully possessed of a parochial political perspective, in all likelihood, Mr. Casely-Hayford would have anointed another Ghanaian in his stead; and to be certain, there was hardly any shortage of formidable Ghanaian intellectuals to readily assume Mr. Casely-Hayford's august and progressive leadership mantle.
Unless one has the stamina and is willing, such as this writer has done during the course of the last several years, to spend marathon midnight oil-burning sessions in order to excavate and thoroughly examine the epic breadth of Danquah's polymathic genius, as exemplified in his documents and artistry, of course, one would be tragically doomed to slavishly and oafishly lap up nescient Cii-Pii-Pii propaganda against the unimpeachable scholastic pragmatism of the Doyen of Gold Coast and Ghanaian politics as constituting all that there is to the man.
Indeed, if the man has not been fittingly accorded his due, even under the aegis of the Danquah-leaning Kufuor Administration, it is primarily because so blistering had Nkrumaist propaganda been that until very recently, one could hardly Google the name of Dr. J. B. Danquah and be lucky to come up with even one-hundred hits! Still, just like the “Truth” that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., repeatedly and consistently adumbrated, the ideological hangmen and undertakers of Dr. Danquah, particularly the moral righteousness for which he stood, were, thankfully, only able to inter (or bury) the flesh and bones of the man, not his eudaemonius spirit of statesmanship and exemplary leadership in the realm of African Nationalism.
Perhaps the vacuously loud micro-nationalist critic who presumed to cavalierly impugn the pan-Africanist credentials of the Doyen of Gold Coast and Ghanaian politics had better be referred to the famous Egyptian Epic Drama, in which the immortalized President Julius Nyerere, of Tanzania, ripped his prepared speech apart and mordantly lit into Africa's so-called Man-of-Destiny in Cairo, during the teething days of the erstwhile Organization of African Unity (OAU).
For those of our readers who may not be aware of the foregoing landmark event, it had to squarely do with Mr. Nyerere's unmistakable recognition of Mr. Nkrumah's overweening ambition to assume the neo-Garveyite mantle of Emperor of a United States of New Africa. President Nyerere readily saw through the shameless transparency of Nkrumah's bid to upstage his executive peers and promptly put the Nkroful native in his place.
But what is even more significant about Egypt's Epic Drama is Mr. Nyerere's blunt, albeit salutary, enlightenment of the African Show Boy to the fact of the ideal objective of Pan-Africanism being collective and integral to the Blydenian concept of the African Personality. In other words, for President Nyerere, no single African leader reserved the right to foist the collective Pan-Africanist agenda on another, while also mischievously and mendaciously pretending to have copyrighted the ideology of Pan-Africanism as his personal property.
What is also tragically embarrassing is the predictable fact of the fanatical Nkrumaists' flat refusal to recognize the grim fact of Nkrumah having probably remarkably retarded the Anti-Apartheid liberation struggle by electing to consort with white-ruled and racist South Africa as Ghana's largest trading partner on the African continent during the CPP's dictatorial tenure (see Kwame Arhin's The Life And Work of Kwame Nkrumah).
What is also epically unflattering to well-meaning Ghanaians is Nkrumah's benighted refusal to financially support Nelson Mandela's African National Congress (ANC) in the early 1960s, when the future Nobel Peace Prize Laureate visited Ghana, among several African countries, to solicit material assistance for the vigorous prosecution of the Anti-Apartheid liberation struggle. Nkrumah had recently been knighted as “Moscow's Most Obedient Servant” by being awarded the LENIN PRIZE. It was Dr. Danquah's tragic mistake in taking up Nkrumah's bait of a guest-invitation that firmly laid the groundwork for the Doyen's prison assassination by President Kwame Nkrumah! (See Inquest into Dr. Danquah's Death at the Nsawam Medium-Security Prison).
Back then, Nkrumah preferred to throw his neo-imperialist support behind Mr. Sobukwe's Pan-Africanist Movement (PAM). And not only did President Nkrumah adamantly refuse to grant audience to Mr. Mandela, he also rather arrogantly, ignorantly and self-righteously characterized the leaders of the ANC in much the same manner as the Show Boy envisaged the Danquah Tradition. Thus, it came as hardly any surprise that President Nkrumah and Ghana, the so-called Lodestar of Africa, did not make the “visionary” and heroic list of staunch supporters of the Anti-Apartheid movement in Mr. Mandela's maiden post-prison speech.
Ultimately, we can only speak to the foresighted genius of the immortalized Doyen of Gold Coast and Ghanaian politics. No doubt, Mr. Kwame Nkrumah has more than his fair share of fiery propagandists at his beck, even posthumously.
*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is the author of 14 books, including “Romantic Explorations” (Atumpan Publications/lulu.com, 2008), his 11th and latest volume of poetry. E-mail: [email protected]
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