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11.02.2005 Regional News

Danquah, Not The Greatest

By Palaver

AN 80-year-old man, Mr Ato Brown of Cape Coast, has expressed concern over the way the NPP Administration is attempting to idolise the late Dr J. B. Danquah and placing him over AND above all others in the history of the country.

Commenting on a statement purported to have been made by the Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, describing Dr Danquah as the greatest Ghanaian that ever lived, Mr Ato Brown said:

Although we acknowledge the fact that as the "Doyen of Ghana Politics", Dr Danquah must be counted among the greats, the claim of him being the greatest is contestable, if not preposterous".

He noted that as Ghanaians, we cherish the memory of the dead and credit the departed ones, with attributes that they do not possess, but that is no licence for any high Government official, or a claimant to the Danquah-Busia tradition "to look mean on the more positive contributions, made by others in the struggle for Independence and after."

For instance, he said, it was not for nothing that the BBC, after a continental survey, named Kwame Nkrumah, as Africa's Man of the Century, in the process, pushing 'Madiba' Nelson Mandela to second place.

Of course, as human, Kwame Nkrumah might have had his faults, as all others, but it would be unfair to relegate his great works to that of a sub-ordinate role to Dr Danquah's, he said, adding:

"Kwame Nkrumah never organised any bomb-attacks against his opponents. It was he who was made a target of bomb-throwers."

The old man recalled how attempts were made by the same Danquah-Busia tradition to legislate Nkrumah's name out of history in the '60s and said if even some Ghanaian politicians of today won't give Nkrumah his due share of praise, the 'outside' world still knows Nkrumah, as the Founder of the Nation.

To the world, at large, he said, "Nkrumah is Ghana, and Ghana, Nkrumah", whether one likes it or not.

On the suggestion that the University of Ghana, be renamed after Dr Danquah, he debunked the claim that the idea for the establishment of the University was his "baby".

He said the call for the establishment of the University had come years and years earlier than Danquah's, by a group of scholars in Cape Coast.

That, he added, was long before the call for the transformation of Achimota College into a University.

Traditional authorities in the Oguaa Traditional Area had given consent to give free land for the project.

In any case, he said, the history of Legon did not start with Danquah's idea alone, though he was one of the opinion leaders, who championed the cause.

Many others before Danquah had made similar calls, he added.

Finally, Mr Ato Brown, who is himself, a retired educationist, called on Ghanaians to desist from making uncalled for comparisons, based on mere party allegience.

He stated: "There have been many other greats like the Ato Ahomahs, Mensah Sarbahs, Casely-Hayfords, the Kobina Sekyis, the J. P. Browns, the Bannermans, the Euphraim Amus, to mention just a few, who were all in a class of their own, in their various fields of endeavour.

"J. B. Danquah was revered for his unyielding spirit in improving upon his education.

For instance, it is on record that he sat for his London Matriculation Certificate seven times, before obtaining it.

"That was an admirable exemplary spirit of how man could battle life, against all odds and eventually come out successfully," he opined.

"On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of his death, I join Ghanaians, in reliving his memory, with all the respect due him."

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