In the politics of oil in Ghana a certain Tsatsu Tsikata stood tall in the search for oil in commercial quantities. There were others before him but his name at a point became almost synonymous to Ghana’s search for oil.
But that tall name was dwarfed by one man- JA Kufuor- whose focus leadership and direction of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) led to the oil find in commercial quantities in 2006.
Today when the story of Ghana's oil find is told, President JA Kufuor will find his name in every page, paragraph, sentence or phrase. His name will be written in oil, rich black oil for posterity to know.
The role played by Tsatsu Tsikata and the others before him may be reduced to an obscure page somewhere and their names mentioned in passing.
In life, there is always a concept of stolen glory. There is nothing more painful than working your butts out for another to take the glory. It's a depressing experience no one must be made to endure.
The Tsikata and stolen glory analogy, find space and expression in the politics of “JB Nkrumah,” the politics the Nana Akufo-Addo led government is beginning to play with many ‘characters’ one of whom is the Speaker of Parliament Prof Mike Aaron Ocquaye.
I am a student of history and politics and I have read quite a bit about the struggle for Ghana's independence. I have read how Nkrumah supposedly and singlehandedly won independence for Ghana. I have read how powerful and visionary he was as a leader. I have read his power of oratory and his extraordinarily superb organizational skills. I have also read how he turned Ghana into a one party state, criminalized speech, arrested and detained his opponents some of whom died in detention.
I have read about JB Danquah the man who led the formation of the UGCC, the first political party founded in Ghana to demand independence. I have read how he invited Dr Kwame Nkrumah over to help in the independence struggle in 1947.
I have read many things about the independence struggle but the one phrase that captures the contribution of JB Danquah to that struggle is that he was "a doyen of Ghana’s politics."
The fact that he was prominent in bringing together the elites to fight for independence was nothing; his decision to choose a new name- Ghana- for the soon to be independent country did not matter much. The fact that he was prominent in choosing a flag, explaining each colour and the significance it brought was less significant to the independent struggle.
The fact that he chose the eagle as the emblem for the new independent nation, daring it to soar high because it was not a chicken meant little for many. The time, the money, the sacrifices, the life he lost in the independent struggle and formation of a new nation were reduced to one beautifully crafted phrase- a doyen of Ghana’s politics.
He was given not more than a page. Why?
Because Nkrumah waved the magic wand, galvanized the support of the masses, breathed a new life into the independent struggle and won independence with a shout of Freedom! Freedom! Ghana our beloved country is free forever.
The one thing that thousands fought for, tens died for was credited to one man- Dr Kwame Nkrumah- the man who won independence for Ghana. Was it another case of stolen glory? I believe so with a tinge of betrayal all over it.
I am no stranger to the story of betrayal and I know how it feels like. In many cases, there is always a price for betrayal and the CPP of today is that price.
What is left of that great party is a memory of Nkrumah and an army of visionless lot still fighting over names, and symbols to settle on in the new fight, not against colonialism but against corruption, incompetence, poverty and underdevelopment.
At least now we know that choosing, a name, a symbol and rallying people together to accept those are just as important for a cause.
So my question to president Nana Akufo Addo is why do you want to rake a fight that has been settled already?
Interestingly enough, the same Ghanaian history books that named Nkrumah as the founder of Ghana, glorified his exploits as a supernatural being also did quite a good job in demonizing him as well.
Thanks to those same books, I grew up loving and hating Nkrumah at the same time for his visionary leadership and autocratic credentials. He was one kind of a leader.
Without any fear of equivocation, I believe strongly the current generation, particularly the ones who cared to follow the history of Ghana’s independent struggle have their opinions formed already.
No amount of lecture can change the minds of people whose minds are already made up. Holding an August 4 lecture and bringing together the descendants of JB Danquah with the state resources is no different from ‘Junior Jesus’ celebrating the 31st December ‘revolution’ that changed his life better than the country.
Bringing the Speaker of Parliament Prof Mike Ocquaye as the protagonist in this new JB Nkrumah movie is no different from Ex-president John Mahama sending his Speaker of Parliament Doe Adjaho as his emissary to the people of Volta Region to attend a festival on his behalf just few months to an election.
If the JB Nkrumah politics was still relevant to the people of Ghana, Ivor Greenstreet would have been president by now.
I am in no position to lecture you Mr President about how the dynamics of Ghana’s politics have changed.
If you have Malik Kweku Baako Jnr, a CPP fanatic, an Nkrumah effigy and a colossus in Ghana's political journalism being an incurable supporter of team Nana Akufo- Addo then Mr President organizing a JB Danquah lecture as part of the 60th Anniversary of Ghana’s Independence to magnify JB, just as the followers of Nkrumah did in 50s, 60s and 70s is another way of cutting your nose to spite your face.
If you are truly interested in living the ideals Dr JB Danquah stood for and died for, organizing a lecture to tell us about his ideals is not the best possible way.
Tell us that ideal through your works. The legacies you will leave behind as president will tell a better story about you and Danquah than what a dozen professors will do in a lecture.
You promised a Ghana beyond aid, a Ghana where opportunities are open to everyone, not just those close to you, or work for you or your party. You promised free education. Give it and see if the generations to come will not be grateful to you and the ideals you stand for.
You promised a Ghana of hope, a Ghana where the youth can dream and live the dream in a safe, secure, hygienic environment. Live that promise. Walk your talk and let posterity judge you for what you did in championing the ideals of JB.
No bout of history lessons will feed an hungry man living in a corrupt Godforsaken country where opportunities come only because of whom you know!