President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged Africans to rededicate themselves to the attainment of the twin goals of guaranteeing the liberties and freedoms of the people and eradicating mass poverty.
He explained that the African freedom fight against colonial rule was also dedicated to the rapid enhancement of the quality of life of the people and the need to banish the spectre of mass poverty bequeathed to it by the long period of colonial exploitation.
President Akufo-Addo was addressing the 60th anniversary of the All Africa People’s Conference (AAPC) in Accra last Saturday.
The conference was attended by delegates from Africa and the Diaspora.
The AAPC was first organised by Dr Kwame Nkrumah in Accra 60 years ago and it was attended by over 300 delegates from 62 nationalist organisations, including trades unions, liberation movements and youth organisations.
Also in attendance were famous nationalist leaders such as Julius Nyerere, Patrice Lumumba, Odinga Odinga, Kenneth Kaunda, Tom Mboya, Hastings Banda, Holden Roberto and the celebrated Caribbean revolutionary and writer, Frantz Fanon.
At that time, the African countries that had attained independence were Ghana, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Libya.
Process of rededication
President Akufo-Addo explained that the process of rededication involved investments in education at all levels, a move from raw material exports to value-adding economies, a clear road map for the political and economic integration of the continent to enable it to maximise its potential and dealing with the outside world on an equal footing.
He said while those were critical challenges, they must be surmounted “if, at long last, we are to exploit Africa’s vast potential and enormous wealth for the benefit of its peoples and not, as has been the norm in our history, for the benefit of peoples outside our continent”.
The President said he was an “incurable optimist” and believed in the capacity of the African to reach those goals and quoted Dr Nkrumah’s words: “Africa could become one of the greatest forces for good in the world… 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”, to support his optimism.
President Akufo-Addo recounted the declaration by President Nkrumah on the eve of independence: “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 the African continent.”
He recalled that with that, Dr Nkrumah became the symbol and the voice for the cause of African independence and freedom.
He said these famous words generated hope and excitement in Ghana and across Africa and renewed optimism, born out of the fact that if Ghana had made it, the rest of Africa could equally be free.
President Akufo-Addo further recalled that in his speech at the inauguration of the AAPC, Dr Nkrumah had described the liberation of Africa as a task for the African people.
He quoted Dr Nkrumah: “We Africans alone can emancipate ourselves. We welcome the expressions of support from others, for it is good to know that we are wished well in our struggle, but we alone can grapple with the monster of imperialism which has all but devoured us.”
The President noted that 60 years on, the vision of an Africa free from colonialism, which was the main object of the holding of the conference, had been realised and the continent, the beneficiary of the work of the conference, must always remain thankful for its intervention.
He, however, pointed out that the promoters of the conference wanted more than political freedom and the independence of their people because they were also yearning for rapid enhancement of the quality of life of African people.
The Convener of the meeting, Ms Samia Yaaba Nkrumah, said the conference was meant to continue what the freedom fighters commenced and called on the young people of Africa to rededicate their lives to the unification of the founding fathers and take up the mantle.
She said for Africa to be peaceful and secure, its citizens must unite politically and economically and this must include the planning of economies together, so that no country would be left behind.