Happy Independence to all Ghanaians!

Today is Ghana’s 66th Independence Day, a day on which the country politically received freedom from its colonial masters.

Parades of security services, basic and second-cycle school­children, workers and other identifiable groups as well as other activities are annually held to mark the occasion.

Today, Ho, the Volta Regional capital, hosts the national pa­rade, with the rest happening at various places at the regional and district levels.

The funfair is good because it, at least, gives a glimpse of the joy of the day when the country attained self-rule.

A country declared indepen­dent is like a newborn child; everyone around him or her is happy and some of the remarks made at its arrival and the nam­ing ceremony suggest the good things the family and others expect from the child as he or she grows up.

Similarly, the country’s politi­cal leaders at the time and others expressed great expectations that should meet the needs and aspirations of the people.

For instance, at midnight of March 6, 1957, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the torch bearer of the country’s inde­pendence, told the people: “At long last, the battle has ended! And thus Ghana, your beloved country, is free forever! Our independence is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of the African continent.”

In this famous remark, Dr Nkrumah affirmed the country’s freedom from the British and went further to give an idea of one of the things the indepen­dent state Ghana was going to do politically.

It was going to assist African countries still under colonial rule to come out of the oppressors’ shackles.

History would tell you he did well in that respect.

Dr Nkrumah’s vision of pan-Africanism and his push to prove that the black man was capable of ruling himself have never been in doubt, judging from his political pursuits.

On the socio-economic scene, Dr Nkrumah, Ghana’s first President, adopted the state-led approach to develop the country as opposed to market-oriented one.

His achievements in the coun­try’s socio-economic transforma­tion can be classified as a good foundation and the springboard for its further development.

His overthrow on February 24, 1966, led to the country having both military and civilian administrations, who mostly have clung to the market-led economy.

But that is not so much of the story; the question rather has to do with the country’s levels of political and socio-economic transformation.

It is on record, for example, that Ghana and Malaysia were British colonies and while Gha­na first attained independence in March 1957, Malaysia had hers in August that same year.

Interestingly, it is said that Ghana had some socio-econom­ic advantages over Malaysia then.

It is on record that at the beginning, Ghana’s GDP was slightly above that of Malaysia and Malaysia was marred by internal ethnic tensions yet it managed to surmount the odds.

Today, Malaysia is streets ahead of Ghana in terms of national development.

What went wrong in the pur­suit of the country’s needs and aspirations?

As Ghana is in the Indepen­dence mood, we urge its political leaders and other public officials to take stock of the 66 years so far and see what went wrong, what the solutions are and the way forward.

Happy Independence Day to all Ghanaians!

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