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Nkrumah was Significant but Neither Great Nor Visionary

opinion

Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.Nkrumah was Significant but Neither Great Nor Visionary

There is a bleeding-hearted article circulating on the Internet captioned "Nkrumah's Death 42 Years Ago (1) - How He Died In Sekou Toure's Guinea - Busia's Sadistic Refusal To Allow Him Back To Ghana" (See Modernghana.com 5/3/14).It is bylined Daily Guide, but at the tailend of the article is the signature of somebody called Apostle Kwamena Ahinful. The point of this rejoinder is to set the records straight, not to bicker with this obviously fanatical and incorrigible "Apostle" of Ghana's deposed and most infamous dictator, Mr. Kwame Nkrumah.

A "fanatic," by designation, is a "fan fool" or "foolish fan of any iconic personality." The adjective of "foolish," in our particular context, simply means somebody who is so pathologically star-struck that his/her admiration for his/her icon largely emanates from sentimentality or sheer emotions, rather than cogent rationality. The admirer's admiration for his/her icon, or s/hero, is based on the sort of "suspended rationality" that undergirds the average person's faith in an organized religion.

Any attempt to debate such a person is akin to running starkly naked with soap suds on one's body, after a clinically certified madman, or woman, who just bolted with your bathrobe or towel while you were in the shower. I usually compose an Nkrumah commemorative, annually, in order to remind the very young and the oblivious of how not to fall into the same claptrap and egomania that mortally afflicted the African Show Boy. For what really killed Mr. Kwame Nkrumah was the latter's own immitigable wickedness and self-centeredness.

There is absolutely no doubt that Nkrumah thought the African world revolved around his personal proclivities and ideological suasion. Anything else was promptly proscribed and labeled as a crime against the nation. And the nation, even as Dr. J. B. Danquah prophetically had occasion to observe, was then-Prime Minister Nkrumah himself. "L'Etat Cest Moi," the putative Doyen of Gold Coast and Ghanaian Politics had written in one of his innumerable letters to the Show Boy.

The original, of course, was a self-reference by the subsequently executed notoriously profligate French monarch, Louis XVI. And Nkrumah's 1965 declaration of himself as Ghana's President-for-Life, ought to open the eyes of all those who would have the man apotheosized as Africa's foremost statesman of the twentieth century to the stark fact that, in terms of creative leadership and foresight, the Nzema-Nkroful native was decidedly a toddler.

We must also, one again, put back into the record books the incontrovertible fact that Mr. Kwame Nkrumah never defended any doctoral dissertation in any accredited university anywhere in the world; and it is inexcusably criminal for the custodians of the Nkrumah Mausoleum in Accra to continue peddling such scandalous falsehood to unsuspecting tourists. The Mahama government ought to bear some of the blame for such deliberately orchestrated mendacity, as also the Mills government before the current one.

Indeed, I have often said that the operatives of any government that has performed as apocalyptically poorly as the so-called National Democratic Congress, since 1992, would naturally be expected to envisage and hail "Nkroful Kwame" as a nonesuch continental African political genius. The greater other half of Ghana's citizenry, of course, knows far and much better than to be facilely hoodwinked by such apocryphal poppycock.

The fact of the matter is that Nkrumah was a passable, or average, intellectual who proudly boasted of some four or five "Honorary Doctorates" from some African and European universities. This may well be what people like "Apostle" Kwamena Ahinful mean when they tout the Show Boy as a first-rate scholar. Even C. L. R. James, a largely autodidact scholar and intimidate friend and classmate of George Padmore's, from their elementary and intermediate Trinidad school days, had occasion to introduce Mr. Nkrumah in a letter to the latter as "a not-so-bright chap who will learn with time."

It is quite obvious that Nkrumah did not learn a remarkably much with time. But what is also interesting to point out is that Mr. Padmore, Nkrumah's cabinet adviser on African Affairs, had not gone beyond a class or two at the City College of the City University of New York by way of tertiary education. I must also hasten to add, at least in passing, that yours truly would graduate from the same City College some two generations later, having been named a Ford Foundation Fellow (Scholar).

Of course, Mr. Padmore's time was remarkably different in terms of race relations and scholastic opportunities, although at the time that Mr. Padmore briefly attended, City College was absolutely tuition-free for those who legitimately qualified. Mr. Padmore (alias Malcolm Nurse) was also one of the known traitors of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Nkrumah's much-touted hero and firebrand pan-Africanist!

I am also glad that the author of the article being discussed here, presently, referred to Mr. George Alfred "Paa" Grant as an uncle to Mr. Nkrumah. For in the wake of his tactical split from the Danquah-led United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), whose name Nkrumah had mischievously plagiarized, Paa Grant was widely reported to have lamented that "The young man [i.e. Nkrumah, then the UGCC General-Secretary] has absconded with all our [national development] plans" (See Dennis Austin's Politics in Ghana: 1946-1960).

Recently, some latter-day charlatanic Nkrumah fanatics have been polluting several Ghanaian media websites with a series of heretical and badly composed articles titled "What Kwame Nkrumah Stole from J. B. Danquah," or some such patently quizzical and shamelessly propagandistic tripe. Well, the preceding is Paa Grant's unassailable riposte for them.

________________________________________________________________

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Department of English

Nassau Community College of SUNY

Garden City, New York

Board Member, The Nassau Review

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

May 4, 2014

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