“Ghana’s Famous Declaration [of self emancipation] was made in 1947 by Danquah (who the British came to declare as the Doyen of Gold Coast politicians). Nkrumah was not in the country at all”, Prof. Ocquaye asserted in a lecture to mark the 21st anniversary of the NPP.
According to Prof. Ocquaye, who is also a Reverend Minister, “Nkrumah came and added bountifully to it. And Nkrumah was a great man. But he was not in Ghana when it all started. Nkrumah was not the Founder!”
As far as he is concerned, “We should recognise 4th August 1947 as the founding of the ultimate independence movement. That day the UGCC was inaugurated in Saltpond. It was a Broad Movement of Chiefs, clergymen, lawyers, professionals, business men, teachers etc. ‘It marked the beginning of a new era in the Gold Coast’, said one historian. Saltpond was the headquarters of the Joint Provincial Council of Chiefs and that is why the meeting took place there. It was a unity movement which incorporated all existing groups, e.g Obetsebi Lamptey’s League of the Gold Coast, Danquah’s Youth Conference etc. Paa Grant was Chairman, Danquah was the Political Leader”.
The former Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Dome-Kwabenya Member of Parliament said: “Danquah made the Declaration of Self Emancipation. This became the cornerstone of the New Ghana. Something happened in Ghana akin to what took place in the USA. People should know that even though Americans declared independence on July 4, 1776, it was not until 1787 that the US Constitution came into force. Those who made that Declaration of Independence are all Founding Fathers in America”.
Describing Danquah as “the great leader”, Prof. Ocquaye quoted him as having declared that: “We have come from all the corners of this country… (to decide) how we are to be governed, a new kind of freedom, a Gold Coast liberty. We left our homes in Ghana and came down here to build for ourselves a new home: There is one thing we brought with us from ancient Ghana (870 years ago). We brought with us our ancient freedom. Today the safety of that freedom is threatened; has been continuously threatened for 100 years; since the Bond of 1844 and the time has come for a decision”.
He said the decision to found Ghana “was taken that day that the Gold Coast should be free and translated into the modern Ghana. The seed was duly sown. And Nkrumah was not only physically in the UK, but also he made no input whatsoever”.
Prof. Ocquaye insisted that: “Danquah conceived the idea of calling the independent Gold Coast, Ghana. This was formally adopted in Saltpond. It became known to every school child then, that our nation would soon become independent; that our leaders were fighting for this; and the name of the new nation would be Ghana. And all this happened before Nkrumah arrived”. “Ghana is known in our history. Danquah gave it the nationalistic interpretation – hence our name,” he averred.
To him, “when Nkrumah said on the eve of Independence that our beloved country Ghana was free for ever, he was putting the icing on the cake. But there were other bakers of the cake. Can you forget them? No. Our independence was gained more with brain than with brawn. This must be acknowledged”.
According to the former Political Science Lecturer at the University of Ghana, “before Nkrumah arrived, our name had been chosen by the nationalist leaders at Saltpond. The Founding Fathers also chose the Eagle as our national emblem. The national colours- red, yellow and green- had been discussed at length and accepted. Later, Ms. Okoh was to design it into a befitting flag. Nkrumah changed the flag in 1964. He substituted the national colours with what he desired all along – red, white and green – the CPP colours. This also brought loads of acrimony. The original flag was brought back only when Nkrumah was overthrown”.