A LETTER TO MUSAH; MY JOURNEY TO NKRUMAISM

By: Alhassan Ahmed Tembineh/www.africanakua.com, African Diaspora

[EDITED AND PUBLISHED BY RICHARD FIEBOR]

Musa Mukhtar,

The need to acclimatize to my new environment and the grueling academic activities has succeeded in making me lose touch with you. In the absence of any bad news, I assume everything is hunky-dory.

Musah, do you remember how I tried to rope into every conversation we had, one particular great personality? Do you also remember how incessantly I tried to link up every issue of relevance to something he said, did or an aspect of his great life? I remember the day you seemed to have gotten fed up and then you asked “how did you come about this extreme love for this man?

Well, I want to answer you in this piece. Before I do that, let me let you know I am not alone in this regard. Perhaps an example will suffice. The great African author, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o told a very significant story. In his book IN THE HOUSE OF THE INTERPRETER, he stated “Gaitho was a reader of books, with an interest in Pan-Africa and the world, and he and I had weeks of conversation, touching on different subjects. But he had a way of smuggling Kwame Nkrumah into any theme or topic of our talks…… Gaitho admired the philosophy of Marcus Garvey because Nkrumah had said that it inspired him. He liked George Padmore and W.E.B. Dubois because they had allied with Nkrumah and Kenyatta in the 1945 Pan-African Congress in Manchester.” There are a lot more we can’t enumerate in this short piece.

My friend, this piece is designed to answer you and millions of people who normally ask me “how did your journey to Nkrumaism start?”

After a very busy semester at the University of New Mexico, I decided to pay a visit to my brother Abdul Hamid Ahmed who resides in Carlisle, Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania. The very night I reached his place, I disclosed to him, that one of my plans is to visit Lincoln University in honor of the person who gave me the identity, Ghanaian. The Lincoln University is situated in Philadelphia, the largest city in Pennsylvania about two-hour drive from his residence. Fully aware of the importance of this man to Ghana and Africa, he pandered to my request hook, line and sinker.

Nkrumah (second from left, behind) in a pose with some of his colleagues at Lincoln University
A form Nkrumah filled on getting admitted to the Lincoln University as a foreign student from the Gold Coast, West Africa.

On Wednesday, January 3, 2018, when the entire City of Pennsylvania was flooded with snow, with the cold deeply felt in the marrow as if it were electrocuted from a higher voltage set-up, we embarked on a journey together with a cross-section of my brother’s colleagues at Vitro Glass Company, the biggest glass company in Carlisle, to the Lincoln University in honor of the Osagyefo, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Before I relate to you the flummoxing and surprising things I saw about this man in such a great institution, let me take you the genesis of my journey to Nkrumaism.

Musah, growing up as a young child in Ghana, I was fortunate to have had two great friends whose influences and guidance still linger in my life. It’s almost impractical and wholly impossible to write my story without touching on the significant role these people played in my life. These two friends are Abdul Samad the former Greater Accra Regional Imam of the Ghana Muslim Students Association and Inusah Mohammed, the Executive Secretary of Success Book Club.

Today the story I want to tell you is predicated on the latter. My journey to Nkrumaism can never be told without mentioning the name of this brilliant young-chap from Nima (in Accra).

Way Back in Ghana at Nima

Musah my friend, I still see that fateful day in my naked and unaided eye. It was one azure-skied Saturday morning at Tafsiliyya School for Training and Education when the issue of Kwame Nkrumah became the subject of controversy. We were used to discussing several issues ranging from archaeology to zoology.  Inusah was trying to highlight some of the remarkable achievements of Kwame Nkrumah. He did mention some but I was so entrenched in my ignorance as a Junior High School (JHS) leaver that I made some vituperative utterances about Kwame Nkrumah. I said “Nkrumah is the worst thing to have happened to Ghana”. Inusah (Maazi Okoro) realizing my shallow understanding of this issue told me something that I will never forget. He said “Hassan you have to read more to understand Nkrumah”.

It was like an inspiration from the skies, this sentence sunk deep down the cistern of my heart and soul. He said “I will get you a book on Nkrumah hopefully the coming week”. I agreed without blinking. The first book he gave to me to read is titled “WHAT I MEAN BY POSITIVE ACTION” written by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

Nkrumah was brought before some chiefs to explain to them what he meant by POSITIVE ACTION. During the fight against the inglorious colonialism, Kwame Nkrumah then leader of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) launched what he termed Positive Action. It was an action that included several activities including strikes and boycotts to frustrate and bloody the nose of the colonialists to grant independence to the people of Ghana, the then Gold Coast. However, when it was launched, riots and disturbances erupted throughout the capital, Accra. The chiefs therefore invited Nkrumah to come and explain what he meant by Positive Action. He spent the whole of the night with a book on his bed and the political tactics flowed lucidly like a giant waterfall. He succeeded in completing the pamphlet, WHAT I MEAN BY POSITIVE ACTION.

After reading, I began to soften my stance on Nkrumah. Inusah never stopped there; he inundated me with several hundreds of articles about Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. The one that enthralled me the most was an article written by Kofi Bentum Quantson dubbed “KWAME NKRUMAH, THE UNSINKABLE”.

In that article he highlighted the fact that the greatness of Dr. Nkrumah, can never be concealed regardless of the effort being made to cover it. What he said in the article that caught my attention and entrapped me into Nkrumaism is captured in the second paragraph of that article “that after years of calculated, orchestrated, sophisticated stratagem by a consortium of local and foreign detractors to exterminate the man and sink his memory, the name Kwame Nkrumah still bounces back at every turn with energized momentum” Nkrumah never dies.

Inusah continued to flood me with great literary pieces on Nkrumah. He provided me with an extemporaneous speech of Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa at the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences staged at the British Council, to read. The speech is titled “GHANA: THE HOUSE THAT NKRUMAH BUILT.” In that speech, Professor Akosa pointed out some of the outstanding monuments built by Nkrumah of which some reactionary elements and enemies are trying to cover.

Musah, as if that was not enough, he helped me to find a sermon delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., titled “THE BIRTH OF A NEW NATION”. A piece every Ghanaian must read. In that sermon, Dr. King likened Nkrumah’s energy and struggle in vindicating Ghana from the grinding wheels and yoke of colonialism to the sunlit path of independence to that of Prophet Moses as he exonerated the Israelites from the hardhearted and tyrant ruling King Pharaoh. Dr. Martin Luther King pointed out several things that will blow your mind, soul and body away. Did you ever know that, the day Dr. Kwame Nkrumah mounted the podium to declare Ghana as an independent country, almost all the African leaders who were on the continent and in the diaspora were in Ghana? Did you also know that seventy nations were represented by envoys just to come say to this new nation: “We greet you. And we give you our moral support?” Do you know all these?

From America herself, more than a hundred persons came down to witness the historic occasion. And the press, the diplomatic guests and the Prime Ministers were in Ghana as guests including the Vice President of the United States of America at that time.

Almost all the civil rights activists were also present including Malcolm X and Philip Rudolph [Read about Malcolm X from QUOTES CORNER on this website]. Dr. Martin Luther King said one thing that was indicative of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s selfless leadership. He said “the thing that impressed me more than anything else that night was the fact that when Nkrumah walked in, and his other ministers who had been in prison with him, they didn’t come in with the crowns and all of the garments of kings, but they walked in with prison caps and the coats that they had lived with for all of the months that they had been in prison. Nkrumah stood up and made his closing speech to Parliament with the little cap that he wore in prison for several months and the coat that he wore in prison for several months, and all of his ministers round about him. That was a great hour!

Musah, that straw that broke the camel’s back, what heightened my knowledge, broadened my scope and presented to me wide range of information about this man was when the same person handed over the Autobiography of this great son of Africa. Albeit I read several other books written by the Osagyefo such as DARK DAYS IN GHANA; I SPEAK OF FREEDOM; NEOCOLONIALISMTHE LAST STAGE OF IMPERIALISM and the most technical literary work of this man, CONSCIENCISM. The finest of the books is GHANA: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF NKRUMAH. I almost read the book at the peril of my academic life at the University of Ghana. The book is intellectually stimulating, historically accurate, educative and ideologically inclined. The story of this man is a true meaning of leadership, the summary of organizational ability. A book every Ghanaian alive/living must read. That was my journey to Nkrumaism until I found myself as a visitor at the Lincoln University.

The writer and some of the Library staff at the Langston Hughes Memorial Library

At the Lincoln University we were scheduled by the University to be at the Langston Hughes Memorial Library. The library Nkrumah used to spend almost all day consuming books voraciously like a hungry lion. We were warmly received by the library staff. That day every corner of the library took the images, writings and other things related to Nkrumah.

The person designated by the library to take us through this exercise was Jessica Garner, Reference and Information Librarian and she was assisted by A. Daniel, Assistant Reference Librarian. She took us through the life of Nkrumah at the Lincoln University. She said people are working assiduously with the ideology of Dr. Nkrumah. She attested to the fact that Nkrumah was a great person; she respects his thoughts and reads a lot of Nkrumah. She took us through the powerful and myriad of writings of Nkrumah in the Lincolnian Magazine. His writings were so superb and geared towards personal development and the liberation of the African Continent. She added that Nkrumah was a great writer, debater and orator. Finally I presented to them the relevance of Nkrumah to me, Ghana and Africa. Space and time will not permit me to relay all that I said overthere. But I remember vividly ending by saying “For nothing at all, Nkrumah has given me an IDENTITY AND FREEDOM and the importance of freedom is captured by Martin Luther King  – ‘To rob a man of his freedom is to take from him the essential basis of his manhood. To take from him his freedom is to rob him of something of God’s image’.”

NB: The writer is a student at the New Mexico University.

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