The significance of celebrating the 59th anniversary of Ghana’s Independence

The struggle for independence in Ghana lasted several years with its attendant arrest and detention of political activists such as Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Dr. J. B. Danquah, Mr. Edward Akufo Addo, Mr. Ako Adjei, Mr. Obetsebi Lamptey and Mr. William Ofori Atta.

All the ‘Big Six’ played their various roles in the struggle but Dr. Kwame Nkrumah showed more commitment. He was a complex personality, a man of many sides, a man of the people, the undisputed leader of anti-colonial struggle in Africa, the leading protagonist of African unity and Pan Africanism in the 20th century, the historic architect of modern Ghana, a political strategist and tactician par excellence, a philosopher, a great teacher, a man of the arts and culture, an uncompromising socialist and many more attributes.

He was not fighting for Ghana alone but the rest of Africa and on attaining independence for Ghana on 6th March, 1957, he reiterated his commitment to that philosophy when he said, ‘the independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked up to the total liberation of the African continent”.

Ghana has transformed politically, economically, socially and physically since then with a population more than five times the population at independence. Out of this the most significant achievement, one would say, is our stable democratic governance since 1992 after several years of military interventions, the first that ousted Dr. Nkrumah in 1966.

Significant progress has been in the area of education. Access to education at all levels has increased alongside massive infrastructure development, also at all levels countrywide.

In the health sector, infrastructure, equipment and personnel needs representing access, quality and affordability have all received attention.

In the power sector, the Akosombo Volta River Authority, Ghana’s flagship electricity company since independence, has been supported by other interventions such as the T2 Power Plant at Aboadze, Ameri Power Plant, Karpower barge, Kpone Thermal Plant, Asogli Power Plant, Bui Dam Project, CenPower Amandi and GE among others.

Under petroleum, the Atuabo Gas Plant has been completed, commissioned and is currently supplying lean gas to the Aboadze enclave of power plants. At full capacity it can supply 120 million standard cubic feet of gas per day to generate about 500MW of electricity. It also has the capacity to produce 240,000 tonnes of Liquefied Petroleum Gas a year.

Production of oil is expected at the TEN fields in 2016. The county’s second FPSO John Atta Mills is expected to sail to the TEN fields in March, 2016 for production of oil and gas to begin.

The Oil and Gas sector, which was non existent since independence, but now a reality, currently provides direct employment for 7,545 Ghanaians.

There has also been massive infrastructure expansion in the transportation sector. Public transportation has being improved with the introduction of the Metro Mass Transit and the Intercity STC companies and the implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project.

Heavy investment has done in the development and upgrading of the country’s aviation infrastructure. The beneficiaries include the country’s first international airport, the Kotoka International Airport, Tamale International Airport project, Kumasi International Airport project and the new Ho Airport.

Whilst many road projects have been completed, many others are being worked on to open up the country to reduce road traffic accidents, boost economic activities, and move goods and services with ease.

Despite some challenges, Ghana’s economy continues to expand. The country’s GDP as of June 2015 stood at GH¢133.34 billion investor confidence in Ghana continues to grow as a result of measures introduced to stabilise the economy.

These are some of the achievements of Ghana as we celebrate 59 years of nationhood in spite of challenges we have encountered as a country.

The  59th independence day celebration on Sunday, 6th March, was on the theme “Investing in the youth for Ghana’s transformation”, is a well thought out one since investing in the youth as future leaders of the country will culminate in them using their acquired knowledge and experience to transform the country. Again the investment must be in the form of improving access to education, providing adequate and well equipped schools, professional teachers, teaching and learning materials and scholarships.

This year’s activities also included Independence Day President’s Award ceremony and an inter schools debate on the theme “Investing in the youth: the sole responsibility of government? The climax will be the match pass of selected schools, security agencies and some identifiable women groups.

It is important to note that the Independence Day President’s Awards ceremony attracts two students from each of the ten regions whose performance at the 2015 BECE was adjudged to be the best.

For the Ashanti Region, the candidates were Hansia Appiah-Kubi and Agyemang Irving Kwaku Mensah, former students of St. Thomas R/C JHS and Atimatim D/A Experimental JHS and now pursuing General Science at St. Louis SHS AND Prempeh College both in Kumasi respectively.

The Brong Ahafo Region was represented by Kumi Pamela and Amponsah Ahomeng Francis, formerly of Yesu MMO Preparatory JHS and Good Shepherd International School. They are now at Serwaa Nyarko Girls SHS, Dichemso and St. Peter SHS, Nkwatia-Kwahu pursuing General Science and Agriculture respectively.

The best students from the Central Region were Appiah Mavis and Oduro Kofi-Quakyi formerly of Blessed Assurance, Agona Swedru and University JHS, Cape Coast. They are offering Agriculture Science and General Science at Mfantsiman Girls SHS, Saltpond and Presbyterian Boys SHS, Legon-Accra respectively.

Candidates representing the Eastern Region were Ofosua Priscilla Effah and Osei Bonsu Jnr former students of Mills Duodu D/A JHS and St. Dominic R/C  JHS. While Priscilla is pursuing General Art at Presbyterian SHS, Begoro, Osei Bonsu is offering General Science at Mfantsiman SHS, Cape Coast.

Representing the Greater Accra Region are Bamfo Enim Ruth and Berkeley-La Theophilus formerly of St. Joseph R/C Basic School, Accra and Holy Child R/C JHS, Tema. Ruth Enim is currently pursuing General Science at Mfantsiman Girls SHS, Saltpond, while Theophilus is at Presbyterian Boys SHS, Legon-Accra offering Business.

For the Northern Region, Yabdow Naporo Adishetu and Akambey A. Issabella, formerly of Wantugu D/A JHS and Tamale International School represented it. The former is pursuing General Science at the Tamale SHS, while the latter is at the St. Francis Xavier SHS, Wa also pursuing General Science.

Those coming from the Upper East Region were Akambey Issabella and Asiak  Nathaniel, formerly of Great Victory Academy, Bolgatanga and Sandema Preparatory JHS respectively.  They are both studying General Science at St. Louis SHS, Kumasi and Nandom SHS respectively.

The Upper West Region was represented by Yelweh Nuratu formerly of Lamusia T.I JHS and Luki Daniel Bakuoru, formerly of St. Gabriel Basic School, Tumu. General Science is the programme they are both pursuing at Lawra and Nandon SHS respectively.

From the Volta Region are Peace Walker and Tey Reuben Mawunyo formerly of Kpeve Model JHS and Rijobeer R/C JHS respectively. They are both offering General Science at Ola Girls SHS, Ho and Bishop Herman School, Kpandu.

The Western Region was represented by Eunice Abrefi Appiah, formerly of ST. Andrew Preparatory School, Juaboso and Dennis Kwabena Twum, formerly of Gorsa JHS, Bibiani. While Eunice Abrefi is currently pursuing General Science at Tepa SHS, Dennis Twum is pursuing the same programme at Adisadel College, Cape Coast.

It is important to acknowledge that we are where we are today because of the peace we have collectively maintained. Again we are where we are because we have chosen the path of democratic governance devoid of military interventions and dictatorship which took Ghana back 25 out of the 59 years of independence.

We can only say congratulations to all our leaders in governance since independence. We also congratulate the security agencies and students who over the years have been making the celebrations colourful and memorable. Congratulations to all the 20 award winners and congratulation to all Ghanaians.

By Dan Osman Mwin

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