The many statues, busts, roundabouts and several currencies honouring, Edward Akufo-Addo, the father of President Akufo-Addo, appear inadequate for the first family, hence plans are far advanced to have August 4 of every year, celebrated for him and Dr. J.B Danquah and William Ofori Atta, uncles of the President, as the day they founded Ghana.
To this end, Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery, last Thursday, laid a new bill before Parliament on behalf of the government to amend the Public Holidays Act to include January 7 and August 4, as statutory public holidays in further recognition of their places in the history of Ghana.
Interestingly, there are currently various parts of the city of Accra named after President Akufo-Addo’s father, as well as Dr. J.B Danquah, William Ofori Atta and their colleagues popularly referred to as “The Big Six” which include; Ebenezer Ako-Adjei, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey, celebrating their roles in winning political independence for the country.
There is Danquah Circle, Edward Akufo-Addo, Obetsebi-Lamptey Circle, Ako Adjei Interchange and Kwame Nkrumah Circle.
Indeed, William Ofori Atta alias “Paa Willie” a relative of Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, although has no venue in the city of Accra named after him, has his bust located among those of his colleagues at the Kotoka International Roundabout in Accra.
The new bill is seeking to make January 7 Constitution Day and August 4 Founders’ Day. Constitution Day, as explained by the government, will be in honour of the 4th Republic and that of Founders’ Day, will be in honour of the country’s forefathers who fought for independence, especially those behind the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) and the Aborigines Rights Protection Society (ARPS).
Amongst the individuals, Kwame Nkrumah, is more recognized internationally as the Founder of Ghana and September 21 set aside as a holiday in his honour.
This has not sat well with the Akufo-Addo family, who feel the role of Edward Akufo-Addo, Dr. J.B Danquah and William Ofori Atta, has not been celebrated enough.
In this regards, the Akufo-Addo government, is also proposing to scrap the Republic holiday on July 1 and AU holiday on May 25, whereas the Founder’s Day on September 21, will no more be observed as Founder’s Day, but only as Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day.
The new arrangement will make AU and Republic Days, only observed as commemorative days.
The bill has stoked anger in people, including the Member of Parliament f(MP) or Tamale Central, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, who is accusing President Akufo-Addo of “grandstanding”.
The Ranking Member of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament is of the view that, Akufo-Addo has taken the move in self-fulfillment.
“The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is indeed in grandstanding, political grandstanding and it appears to me what he has done is an exercise of self-aggrandizement,” he said on TV3‘s Saturday morning show, The Key Points.
He questioned the basis for seeking to make January 7 a Constitution Day, when the 1992 Constitution “was gazetted as a legal document on May 15, 1992”.
He maintained that, President Akufo- Addo’s quest to make August 4 celebrated as Founders’ Day and that of September 21, as a commemorative Kwame Nkrumah Day, is a conscious attempt to honour his relatives, who were three of the Big Six.
“In order to mask the restoration of his ancestors, he somehow linked the formation of the UGCC to the establishment of the movement of the Aborigines Rights Protection Society (ARPS), both occurred on the same day 4th August…3 of his relatives were involved”
“That’s exactly what the president is doing,” he insisted.
The Tamale Central MP, mentioned other groups and individuals, including Yaa Asantewaa, as contributing to the struggle for independence and argued if Founders’ Day, must be instituted then it must be in honour of all those people and not just those behind the formation of UGCC and ARPS.
Kwesi Pratt, has also cautioned the Akufo-Addo administration against a new bill before Parliament drafted by the government to amend the Public Holidays Act.
The journalist questioned the logic in scrapping the Republic Day and introducing January 7 as statutory holiday.
According to him, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, is an African icon and his immense contributions to Ghana’s independence and the liberation of Africa, cannot be underestimated.
He wondered why the government, wants to change the history of Ghana.
Kwesi Pratt noted that, going by the logic of the Akufo-Addo government for seeking to scrap the Republic and Founder’s Days, the government, should then celebrate all the characters and entities that played instrumental roles in the attainment of Ghana’s independence.
He also added that Republic Day, as well as 6th March, represents landmarks to Ghana’s independence and so there shouldn’t be attempts to amend them.
He noted that, the government’s attempt to amend those holidays, will distort the history of Ghana, with particular emphasis on the legacy of Dr. Nkrumah and his relevance as the Founder of Ghana.
“The people of Ghana will write their own history in the foreseeable future” if the government advances its motive to amend the Republic and Founder’s Days, he told sit-in host, Nana Yaw Kesseh on Peace FM’s ‘kokrokoo’.