Ghana’s independence on March 6, 1957 is much heralded as the catalyst for the total liberation of many African countries against colonialism.
The freedom from British rule for the then Gold Coast is mostly attributed to Osagyefo Dr. Nkrumah and rightly so. His defiance and perseverance for the sovereignty of the Gold Coast is well documented.
However, it will disingenuous to attribute all the work for independence to Ghana’s first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Some other Ghanaians played their part to achieve the ultimate goal of self-government.
In the wake of Ghana’s 65th Independence anniversary this weekend, let’s take a look at 5 prominent people that aided Kwame Nkrumah officially or unofficially in the struggle.
1 . Nii Kwabena Bonney: It is understood Ghana’s eventual independence in 1957 actually gathered steam in the late 1940’s. And this was triggered by Nii Kwabena Bonney, a defiant Chief of Osu Alata.
In 1947, he formed an Anti-Inflation Campaign in Accra in response to the inflated prices by the European imported goods to Ghana. He directed his letter to the United Africa Company. In waiting for the response he toured the country to explain the plan for a boycott throughout the cities.
On 26 January 1948 the boycott began as planned. An agreement was reached as foreign firms reduced their overall profit form 75 to 50 percent on 20 February 1948.
The boycotters were disappointed when prices were not reduced as they anticipated; taking the 75 to 50 percent as a price reduction but rather overall profit margins.
This led to a riot, positioning Kwame Nkrumah to demonstrate for Independence as the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) leader.
2 . J.B. Danquah: Often described as the doyen on Ghanaian politics, J.B Danquah’s influence in Ghana’s independence cannot be overemphasized. Danquah became a member of the Legislative Council in 1946 and actively pursued independence legislation for his country.
In 1947 he helped to found the pro-independence United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) as a combination of chiefs, academics and lawyers.
Danquah’s historical research led him to agree with Nkrumah’s proposition that on independence the Gold Coast be renamed Ghana after the early African empire of that name.
3 . 3 ex-servicemen that were killed: A protest march by unarmed ex-servicemen who were agitating for their benefits as veterans of World War II was broken up by police, leaving three leaders of the group dead.
As the group marched toward the Governor’s residence at Christiansborg Castle, they were stopped and confronted by the colonial police, who refused to let them pass. The British police Superintendent Imray ordered his subordinate to shoot at the protesters, but the man did not. Possibly in panic, Imray grabbed the gun and shot at the leaders
The killing of Sergeant Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe and Private Odartey marked the beginning of the process of the Gold Coast towards being the first African colony to achieve independence, becoming Ghana on 6 March 1957.
4 . Ako Adjei: Ebenezer Ako Adjei was part of the famous ‘Big Six’ that spearheaded Ghana’s independence struggle and he is credited as the one who brought Dr. Kwame Nkrumah to the Gold Coast to take up the role of General Secretary of the UGCC.
According to Ako Adjei he recommended Kwame Nkrumah because he had grown to know his organisational capabilities and that he knew he will be interested in the job. This was because, before he left London for Accra Nkrumah had told him:
“Ako you’re going ahead of me. When you get to the Gold Coast and there is a job which you think I can do, let me know right away so that I would come and work for some time; save some money and then return to London to complete my studies in law at Gray ‘s Inn.”
It is widely believed that his role in poaching Nkrumah to join the UGCC was fundamental in Ghana’s independence.
5 . Rebecca Naa Dedei Aryeetey: Naa Dedei Aryeetey also known as Dedei Ashikishan was a businesswoman, political activist and a feminist.
She was popularly known for her flour business in Accra. She was known to be the chief financier of the then CPP party and led CPP women activities at her house in Kokomlemle. As a political activist of the CPP, she campaigned and funded Nkrumah and the CPP party.
She financed Nkrumah to win the Ashiedu Keteke legislative council seat which made him the first Prime Minister of Ghana.