The first Prime Minister and President of Ghana, Dr. Francis Kwame Nkrumah delivered his review in a broadcast on the Eve of the Independence Anniversary March 5, 1958
A year ago today, the people of this country reached the end of their long struggle for Independence and won the fundamental right of all peoples to govern themselves as they see fit.
Ghana, on this day, was proclaimed a free and independent sovereign state. Our first year of independence has been a most successful and also an eventful one. Our achievements, during this period, have proved beyond all doubt the justice of our claim to govern ourselves and to control our own affairs.
And I wish on this auspicious occasion to send my cordial greetings to you all. Our first responsibility, as I have understood it, was to consolidate the independence of Ghana and to safeguard our newly created state.
In order to do this, we have had to govern firmly and will continue to do so within the framework of the laws of Ghana.
We are determined to preserve the democratic and traditional way of life in Ghana, but will continue to deal firmly with the efforts of any unlawful elements or groups to undermine by unconstitutional means the Government or the established institutions of Ghana.
Discipline and Loyalty
I am convinced that we cannot build up this our new state successfully without showing personal and public discipline, and also demonstrating loyalty to the nation.
It is a matter for which we can be justly proud that against the background of strife and turmoil which grips so much of this great Continent, the different races represented in Ghana have been able to work in harmony and understanding.
This achievement reflects credit on everyone here and I hope that the tolerance and goodwill of Ghanaians towards people from overseas may have some effect in persuading non-Africans in other parts of this Continent to adopt more humane attitudes towards our fellow Africans.
During the last year we have introduced many new internal policies which reflect our independence; and we have modified many old procedures which were not suitable to our new status. We have continued to do everything in our power to hasten the economic emancipation of our country.
I reported to Parliament only a fortnight ago the impressive achievements of the last twelve months. If anyone will survey objectively what has been done in Ghana during its first year of existence, I am sure they will reach the conclusion—as many of our overseas visitors have done—that it is a most remarkable record of initiative, hard work and successful accomplishment.
With regard to our foreign affairs, we have adhered to the independent policy which was announced on the eve of our independence. We have taken an active part in the affairs of the Commonwealth and in the work of the United Nations. Diplomatic relations have been established with several countries; and we have participated in many international and regional conferences.
In all these activities we have adhered to independent policies consistent with the safeguarding of our independence and in accordance with our strong belief in the right of all peoples to determine their own form of Government.
We have achieved a great deal since our Independence but much more remains to be done. We must expand and diversify our economy so that suitable opportunities will exist for the professional men and women and the skilled technicians who will soon become available in increasing numbers from our University and other institutions. We must increase our national resources in order to provide for education, better health and welfare facilities, housing and essential public services, in the effort to raise the standard of living of our people.
It is my fervent desire that, by our example of governing ourselves and the way we conduct our affairs, we may assist other territories still under foreign rule in Africa along the road to freedom and independence. We are anxious to work together not only with other African independent states in the attempt to solve the problems of Africa, but we are also determined to do whatever we can to assist the other territories of Africa that are not yet lice in their struggle For freedom.
One of the most burning issues facing Africa in our age is whether the forces of freedom can triumph over colonialism. We, for our part, have no doubt which side our forces shall support in this struggle.
I believe, however, that the best course is for leaders in the countries of Africa to meet and discuss their common problems frankly, and I hope that the Conference of African independent states which will meet here in Accra next month and the Pan-African Conference which will follow will prove to be a step in this direction.
Ghana, as I said a year ago, was born into “a world torn and divided in the political relationships.” Subsequent events have done little, if anything, to improve these relationships and all of its great nations and small nations continue to live in the shadows of nuclear weapons of war.
The ordinary people of this world would be far happier if the energy and resources of the Great Powers which are used in an attempt to conquer outer space, were directed instead towards the conquest of the poverty, the malnutrition, the disease and the suffering which is the lot of half the population of this world.
Our first year of independence, as I have said, has been one of great activity and enterprise. Our gratitude goes out to all the men and women of Ghana who have worked so hard and so loyally to consolidate our independence. And we acknowledge too, the valuable contribution made by many overseas people whose belief in Ghana and its independence has been demonstrated by their hard work and service.
Inspiration to Others
The Government hopes to announce at an early date details of Ghanaian Honours and Decorations which will be bestowed on Ghanaians and men and women from overseas who have rendered distinguished service to our country. The highest award will be the Order of the Grand Cross of the Star of Ghana. The other Order, to be awarded on a wider scale, will he the Order of the Volta of which there will be three distinctions and three divisions—civil, police and military. There will also be a Ghana Medal for Gallantry, and Orders and Decorations available for the Police and Military Forces.
Despite the dangers and tensions which threaten world peace, we enter our second year as an independent country with confidence, certain of our ability to control our own affairs and believing strongly that, with the loyal co-operation of our men and women, we can build a nation which will remain a proud memorial to our generation and which will provide inspiration for other countries now travelling along the road to independence.
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