It's been a week since we celebrated your 100th birthday. It's been ages since I last wrote to you. Coincidentally, my last letter was about your birthday and the debate about the Founder's Day celebration and holiday. No one listened to my suggestion and you were celebrated (alone) on your centenary with good measure. Everyone was talking about you, including the folks at Ghanablogging.com. How did you spend the day? Reflect on your regrets and achievements. Kwame, I find myself regretting way too much in my life these days. If it will make me grow old quicker than I want, please warn me. I am already worried about my age, but let's leave that for another day. What I want to know is, were you a little lucky to be born in 1909? In essence, were you a little lucky to be Ghana's first president instead of its 4th? Is there a little luck involved in creating and leaving a legacy? I will like to argue so.
I am really enjoying my infrastructure development class this term. I haven't enjoyed a class this much in a while. We are talking about and discussing issues and things that I care about. Earlier today, we talked about Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt and Barack Obama. They are all American presidents who led America in times of distress, recession, depression and turmoil. Seriously, it feels like they are fondly remembered because they were faced with bad situations and came out successfully out of them. If they had enjoyed easy going presidencies, no one may have revered them in history. Lincoln was an awesome leader but he had the backdrop of the civil war. FDR faced huge challenges and didn't succumb and is seen favorably. Barack Obama is mostly believed to be the beneficiary of the mess Dubya Bush created. If Barack had run for president in 1996, he may not have won. In a sense, he was lucky. True talk no?
And you Kwame, 1909 was a time to be born, wasn't it? By 1957, you were 48, had been in your political prime with years of independence struggle and experienced enough to lead the nation. If you were born 20 years later, you would have just been another member of the Committee for Youth Organisation (CYO). To be fair, other people had fought the same fight you had been fighting and it never really materialized till you were at the forefront but who said it was all you anyway? If those mosquitoes hadn't declared a war the British couldn't win in the 1950's, we'll still be yet to celebrate a golden jubilee. Not to mention the conspiracy theories that really made the British cease control of our dear Gold Coast.
People claim we give you too much credit for what you did. Well, obviously, not many people rate Ghana's subsequent leaders after you because they didn't have to start from zero or gain independence for a colonized people. You were a tough act to follow, Busia couldn't possibly come in and build another Akosombo Kanea, and a couple of universities. Our recent leaders have not been able to match those efforts but that's because they've had a little to work with. Look at Obenfo Asomdwoehene Atta Mills who is unfortunately being remembered for his gbaas (gaffes). How will he remembered? It's been almost 9 months at the helm of Ghana's ship. Why do we celebrate Africa's freedom fighters? It's because they were involved in some serious business that is nostalgic to us. Our presidents may be facing challenges today but nothing like what the first half of the 20th century presented. History shall not be kind to them. Look at JFK, what do we remember him for? The civil rights' times. Hstorical figures ensured that leaders in those times had their names etched in stone, whether for better or worse. If nothing exciting happens in your time, you quickly become forgotten.
Kwame, I am not wishing any bad fortune on Ghana or any nation so they can produce great leaders. I just think it's interesting how times of adversity produce men of character and stature. I hope we can find such candidates in the good and jolly times as well. Pray with us. I salute you though, lucky or not, you shall always be fondly remembered for the work you did for Mother Ghana. On this positive note, I'll go think of my own achievements and little glories to spur me on.