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DR. KWAME NKRUMAH; A phenomenon that never dies

September 20, 2009

 “We are going to see that we create our own African personality and identity. We again rededicate ourselves in the struggle to emancipate other countries in Africa; for our independence is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of African continent.”

That was the message of Dr Kwame Nkrumah at the midnight on March 5, 1957, at Accra Polo Ground.  Today, the whole world will join Africa for the centenary celebration of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of Republic of Ghana and one of the pioneer of Africa liberation struggle and unity against imperialism and foreign domination of colonial masters. As we all celebrate the 100 years posthumous birthday of the illustrious son of Africa, Nkrumah is a phenomenon that never dies and we call on African leaders to emulate the ideals, learn from his legacy and imbibe his fighting spirit towards accelerated development of the continent.
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah started as a young student activist and later graduated into full political activism and eventually fought for the liberation of entire African continent. This is a challenge for African youth of today. Nkrumah is a role model to us and the reason why AASU Secretariat in conjunction with Global Agenda initiated the Kwame Nkrumah Leadership Award in 2001 to encourage upcoming leaders to imbibe his ideals and principles. It is important to say that all of us in all parts of Africa owe a great deal to the vision, mission, forbearance and dogged fight of the likes of Nkrumah who started his nationalist struggle on the platform of student/youth activism.  Nkrumah was active member of the West African Students Union and was elected as Secretary-General of Pan African Youth Conference of Manchester in 1945.
In Africa Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, Kwame Nkrumah, Sekou Toure, Patrice Lumumba, Jomo Kenyatta, Moddibo Keita, Samora Micheal, Amical Cabral and our living legend Dr Nelson Mandela were all people who gave their citizens leadership for change and emancipation. Nkrumah was a leader with integrity guided with pure African values that inspired the entire continent with the confidence that we Africans were not inferior and will never be inferior to any race. This dream was actualized in President Barack Obama as the first black president of the United States of America, and also the advancement of democratic process in Ghana. We call on other African countries to emulate Ghana by overhauling their political process by allowing participatory and transparent democratic process with a political system that is devoid of election, rigging, corruption and manipulations and all other vices that are not in tandem with Kwame Nkrumah’s dream for Africa.
He laid solid foundation for the Unity of Africa. Today, Nkrumah remains the uncrown President of the United States of Africa. It is unfortunate that contrary to his dream, what we have in Africa today from the North to the South, from the East to West are similar. The common stories are those of armed conflicts, armed robbery, hunger or outright starvation, poverty, disease, totalitarian governance, extra-judicial killings, corruption, appropriation of public office to self-centered interests, insensitivity to the needs of the governed, electoral fraud to gain power, injustice, abuse of power and arrogant flamboyance. Remember the stories of election fraud in Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe. War in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Algeria, Angola the two Congos, Somalia, Rwanda, and Burundi. If the story is not one of religious conflict, it must be ethnic dispute or power struggle all of which have taken the lives of millions of youth. The most well managed economies on the continent are at best worse than the poorly managed economies of Europe with the debts so compounding that they will take determined youth of the next four generations to settle.
We African students once again re-echo the message of Dr. Nkrumah in his speech entitled I Speak of Freedom; “Divided we are weak; united, Africa could become one of the greatest forces for good in the world. I believe strongly and sincerely that with the deep-rooted wisdom and dignity, the innate respect for human lives, the intense humanity that is our heritage, the African race, united under one government, will emerge not as just another world bloc to flaunt its wealth and strength, but as a Great Power whose greatness is indestructible because it is built not on fear, envy and suspicion, nor won at the expense of others, but founded on hope, trust, friendship and directed to the good of all mankind,”.
That was the vision of a great pan-Africanist. It was the vision of a nationalist. Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah had an indomitable spirit. He soldiered on until his was overthrown in 1966 and died of “cancer of betrayal “in exile in Guinea in 1972. Until death, he remained a critic of the colonial system and remained committed to fighting colonialism. He was unrepentant of his belief. Yet, he died. At 63.
In conclusion, Dr. Nkrumah saw beyond Ghana. He wanted a United States of Africa, even before most of the lands constituting the continent were not free of the colonial yoke. We salute this hero of the African struggle.  As we remember him today, the question that is paramount to us are; Is Africa really free today? Have we freely handed over to the colonial masters what they lost in the late fifties and early sixties?  Is the continent more united today than it was 40, 50 years ago?  We all know the answers, and we call on African leaders to reflect on Dr. Kwame Nkrumah many legacies and turn a new leaf in order for them to be celebrated like Nkrumah and the rest of other African heroes that laid their life for betterment of Africa. Dr. Nkrumah will continue to live in our consciousness forever. AASU Secretariat will continue with the centenary celebration with all year long event and the climax will be November 17, International Students Day where Professor Wole Soyinka, the first African Nobel laureate will broadcast live message to entire African youth all over the World at annual Kwame Nkrumah Leadership Award/State of the African Union 2009.
Long live Africa!
Oludare Ogunlana
Secretary-General, AASU

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