June 4th Revolution In Ghana And The Nostalgic Of ‘June 12’

Richard Odusanya

Richard Odusanya

A revolutionary is a person who either participates in, or advocates a revolution. The term revolutionary can also be used as an adjective, to refer to something that has a major, sudden impact on society or on some aspect of human endeavor. Though the idea of revolution was originally related to the Aristotelian notion of cyclical alterations in the forms of government, it now implies a fundamental departure from any previous historical pattern.

Furthermore, a revolution constitutes a challenge to the established political order and the eventual establishment of a new order radically different from the preceding one. The great revolutions of European history, especially the Glorious (English), French, and Russian revolutions, changed not only the system of government but also the economic system, the social structure, and the cultural values of those societies.

Instructively, Jerry John Rawlings (JJR), was a Ghanaian military officer and politician who led the country for a brief period in 1979, and then from 1981 to 2001. He led a military junta until 1992, and then served two terms as the democratically elected President of Ghana. Rawlings was a respected figure across the political spectrum and was regarded as an astute disciplinarian with great praise from both the academic and military.

‘JJR’ has long held a complicated place in Ghanaian popular politics and historical memory. On May 15, 1979, the then-flight lieutenant led a group of junior Ghanaian army officers in an attempted overthrow of the military government of General F.K. Akuffo and the Supreme Military Council. Rawlings, who insisted that he should be held responsible for the coup, was imprisoned and court-martialed.

Soon after, on June 4, he was released from prison by junior military officers in another takeover, seizing power in a successful “housecleaning exercise” that sought to purge the country of corrupt political and business leaders and recalibrate Ghana’s national moral compass. The June 4th Revolution or June 4th Uprising was an uprising in Ghana in 1979 that arose out of a combination of corruption, bad governance, frustration among the general public, and misunderstandings within the Ghanaian army. The (AFRC) was headed by Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings.

Interestingly, the events of June 4 were spearheaded after Rawlings and others were arrested on May 15, 1979 during a failed coup. While incarcerated, Rawlings and his associates were freed by non-commissioned officers who were inspired by the coup attempt. Special elections were scheduled and Dr. Hilla Limann was elected as the only president of Ghana’s 3rd Republic.

After two years in power, Limann was removed as president by Rawlings and the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC). Rawlings was democratically elected as president of Ghana twelve years later and became the first president of Ghana’s Fourth Republic. But for the revolution underpinned by nonconformity and zero tolerance for corruption, Ghanaians would have been in the same tragic-comedy like Nigerians today. We therefore, join the good people of the Republic of Ghana in celebration of freedom.

Unfortunately, Nigerians, unlike their counterparts in Ghana have so much to worry about. Our own June 12 and the previous expenditures were stillborn – although, by act of the parliament, June 12 has became our democracy day – issues of corruption, political instability, economic downturn, killings, banditry, kidnappings, insurgency among others. Sadly, some of the issues have become a social malady and major challenges. This is certainly not the NIgeria that our heroes envisioned; this is not the democracy that Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, the hero of our democracy – laid down his life for.

Permit me to dedicate today, 4th June to the evergreen memory of our wakanda warrior, John Jerry Rawlings, of the blessed memory, as I join millions of our compatriots home and abroad to celebrate a day of freedom with the good people of the Republic of Ghana. I salute living legends; our own Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka, Femi Falana, Steven Omoyele Sowore and many other revolutionaries. It should be noted that freedom is nearer than we envisaged.

FREEDOM IS OUR GOAL, ARISE ‘O COMPATRIOTS.

Richard Odusanya is a Social Reform Crusader and the convener of AFRICA COVENANT RESCUE INITIATIVE ACRI

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