President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in a message to mark Founders’ Day, rallied citizens to work relentlessly to free the nation from the non – productive neo-colonial structure of the raw material producing and exporting economy.
He also urged the active participation of all towards the realisation of a united, free, democratic and truly independent Ghana.
In the message, posted on his social media handles, the President said Ghanaians must: “As a mark of reverence to our forebears, work to free ourselves from the economic arrangements designed by the former colonial power to serve its particular purpose at the time, which continue to bind us.”
“Let us all put our shoulders to the wheel, and drive our nation to its destination, a united, developed, prosperous, free,
democratic and independent Ghanaian nation.”
Founders’ Day, instituted in 2019, is a statutory holiday observed to commemorate the contributions of all the people who led the struggle for Ghana’s independence.
The event, originally called ‘Founder’s Day’, and observed on September 21 each year, was to mark the achievements of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president, who led the struggle for independence from colonial rule, with other nationalists.
But in March 2019, the Public Holiday Amendments Bill was passed into law and August 4, was instituted as the “Founders’ Day,”
The rationale was that the original date of September 21, was Kwame Nkrumah’s birthday, and since he was not the only person who fought for Ghana’s liberation from colonialism and imperialism, that date should be kept to honour his memory, and a different date be set to pay homage to all those who took part in the country’s independence struggle.
Consequently, August 4 was chosen for the Founders’ Day commemoration because it marked two important events in Ghana’s history.
It is the date for the formation of the Aborigines’ Rights Protection Society by John Mensah Sarbah in 1897, and the formation of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) in 1947 by J.B. Danquah and George Alfred “Paa” Grant.
However, that decision was without controversy, as some political activists said it was an attempt by the ruling government to distort historical facts.
They claimed that the institution of the Day was a ploy by the President to honour his uncle, J.B Danquah, who was a leader in the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), the political party from which Kwame Nkrumah broke away to form the Convention People’s Party.
The CPP won him the election that saw him become the first president of Ghana.
However, on the inaugural Founders’ Day celebration, on Sunday August 4, 2019, President Akufo-Addo, in a message, acknowledged the role played by successive generations of Ghanaians who worked towards the liberation of Ghana.
He implored Ghanaians to rise above partisan considerations and to recognise the collective efforts in the fight for freedom and independence from colonial rule “and do right by our history.”