Meet Albion Mends I whose residence served as political Mecca to engineer the formation of U.G.C.C

Meet Albion Mends I whose residence served as political Mecca to engineer the formation of U.G.C.C

- Albion Mends was an influential personality in Ghana's political arena in the 1940s

- He was popular for his benevolent gestures and became known for hosting revered Ghanaian political personalities prior to the formation of the United Gold Coast Convention (U.G.C.C)

- Albion Mends freely handed his residence, Canaan Lodge, to host political meeting leading to the origination of U.G.C.C and the eventual independence of Ghana

Ghanaian born Albion Mends I, was a true patriot, who was a notable personality in the 1940s before the formation of United Gold Coast Convention (U.G.C.C), the political roots of the Convention People’s Party (CPP).

Albion Mends I, a native of Saltpond in the Central region owned the Canaan Lodge, which he freely gave out for the formation of U.G.C.C in Saltpond in 1947.

His residence was one of the houses in Saltpond, which served as Ghana's political Mecca, to host most of the conferences and meetings to engineer Ghana's liberation and independence.

The U.G.C.C, which initially started as a social group of mostly the merchants and educated elite was formed at Saltpond in August 1947. Its slogan was “Self-Government within the shortest possible time”.

The chairman of the party was George Grant, better known as Paa Grant, a wealthy businessman who was also the financier of the party.

Paa Grant often invited Ghanaian VIPs to meet at the house of Albion Mends I, which continued the struggle for Ghana's Independence.

Albion Mends l, had three children before he passed on. The oldest of his children, Albion Mends Il, 100 years, currently lives in USA and is now the oldest living Mfantsipim alumnus.

A source affirmed that is second son, whose name has been withheld is also alive and resides at Teshie Nungua in Accra.

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His daughter currently lives at the Canaan Lodge in Saltpond.

Background of the Convention People's Party

The Convention People’s Party is descended from a line of political movements formed in the early half of the 20th century to spearhead the anti-colonial struggle in the Gold Coast.

The movement that preceded it was the United Gold Coast Convention (U.G.C.C.) formed in August 1947 and led predominantly by members of the professional and business classes.

To expand its support base and step up the struggle for independence, the leadership of the U.G.C.C. decided to appoint a permanent general secretary to lead its expansion and step up the pace of change.

Ebenezer Ako Adjei, then a young lawyer, was offered the paid secretaryship of the U.G.C.C. but he declined the position and instead proposed Kwame Nkrumah a political activist then in London, for the position.

Ako Adjei had known Nkrumah as a fellow at Lincoln University in the United States and at the London School of Economics.

He was also the past president of the West African Students Union (WASU) in London, which first hosted Nkrumah when he arrived in Britain from the United States.

The leadership of the U.G.G.G accepted Ako Adjei’s suggestion and agreed to invite Kwame Nkrumah who already had a wide reputation as an experienced political organizer with a gift for leadership.

Together with George Padmore and others he had organised in 1945 the Fifth Pan-African Congress in Manchester, England.

Nkrumah personally drew up the dynamic Declaration to the Colonial Peoples of the World, approved and adopted by the Congress.

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He was an eminently suitable person to galvanize the mass of the Gold Coast people and the youth to play an active part in the national liberation movement.

Initially Nkrumah was hesitant about accepting the position, being aware that both the composition and objectives of the U.G.C.C. fell far short of the radical, political program he envisaged for the Gold Coast and for Africa.

But after discussion with his colleagues he decided to accept, knowing that it might not be long before he would find it impossible to continue working within the U.G.C.C.

On 14 November 1947, Kwame Nkrumah set sail from Liverpool aboard the SS Accra accompanied by Kojo Bostio, another friend from London who was also member of WASU and with that, the beginning of a new chapter in the modern political history of Ghana begun.

Kwame Nkrumah was officially introduced to the U.G.C.C.’s Working Committee as their Secretary on 28 December 1947 and soon got to work seeking to expand the support base of the U.G.C.C by mobilizing the youth through local youth societies in the Colony, which included the Apowa Literary and Social Club, the Ashanti Confederacy and the Asante Youth Association- A.Y.A.

Most of the members of the groups were farmers, petty-traders, drivers, artisans, school, teachers, clerks and letter-writers.

In the beginning, the U.G.C.C had only a handful of branches in the larger coastal towns and Kibi; it had no official presence in Ashanti and there had been no attempt to enlist support for the organisation in the Northern territories.

Nkrumah set about to change this, travelling extensively and organizing mass meetings and within six months hundreds of branches of the U.G.C.C. had been established throughout the country.

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