Veteran journalist and diplomat, Alhaji Abdul-Rahman Harruna Atta has recounted where he was and how he heard about the 1966 coup that ousted Ghana’s first president, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah.
Back then, he was a student at the Navrongo Secondary School and the news was broken to the entire school community by the headmaster, one Robin Crawford.
According to him, it was the first time he will hear and know what the word coup d’etat (which he thought was coodeta) meant even though for himself and other students, it sounded a serious affair but meant little in the scheme of events.
“I first heard of coup d’état on a windy, dry savannah February morning in 1966 when I was a little schoolboy attending Navrongo Secondary School. Our headmaster, a feisty Scotsman called Robin Crawford (later the Rev) that morning, called an emergency assembly.
“The whole school, including the teaching staff, trooped to the assembly hall, which at that time also doubled as our dining hall. Even before we had settled, he delved into his mysterious reason for assembling us in such an emergency fashion,” he wrote in a piece cited by GhanaWeb.
It continued: “He (headmaster) said to us that news had just come from Accra that President Nkrumah had been overthrown in a coodeta. Classes would not continue and we were all to proceed to our dormitories and remain calm. End of Assembly.
“We trooped out the same way we came in with coodeta ringing over and over in my head and wringing my curious ignorant mind into all sorts of knots. There was no going to the dormitories as we gravitated in clumps to our different groups to learn some more.”
He recalled further how some seniors had gathered around a radio set that was “blaring mostly military-style music.”
“It was from one of these seniors, a distant relation that I finally got a hang of coup d’état and the man behind it, a Colonel “Kiteku”, and true, that’s how that one also twisted itself to my tongue. The coup d’état of February 1966 and Colonel Kotoka’s role are now an indelible episode of our history, for good or bad, but by popular acclamation, for bad…
“After that, we had the coups of 1972 and 1981, with a “housecleaning revolution” in 1979, a palace coup that removed the coup maker of ‘72, and the palace coup-makers themselves who were all scythed in the house cleaning, not forgetting the number of attempted coups thrown in to add to the flavour of coup making in Ghana,” his post added.
The full write-up titled: ‘Coodeta: The spoilt child of ‘yentie obiaa!’ addresses the recent developments in Guinea where Elite Forces deposed President Alpha Conde last Sunday.
Harruna Atta avers that Conde called the situation upon himself after refusing to leave power when his time was due.
“The overthrow of President Professor Alfa Conde of Guinea came to me from a friend through my WhatsApp – the “rediffusion box” having gone extinct for decades now.
“As soon as I finished reading it, I sent a one-liner to him: “Serves the fool right!” This is a man who refused to see all the wrong turns he was taking, plunging his impoverished country into more and more under development,” he added.