When he stood on the podium 59 years ago and declared Ghana independent and proceeded to add “our independence is meaningless unless it’s linked to the total liberation of the African continent”, he had a vision.
A vision born out of a man who needed not stand on the tallest tree to have a full glare of the world, but born out of a man who can see even buried under the sand.
Today, even as we celebrate the 59th anniversary of the birth of Ghana, a name adopted for the new nation after the attainment of freedom from the colonial rulers, we can see his vision still standing even more firmer.
Having journeyed through these years, Ghana had shown her leadership skills on the continent of Africa. The help that was given to all other countries that sought independence goes to stress the relentless efforts by the independent nation to see a free continent that is in the hands of its people.
From the collaborations given to young independent nations under the presidency of Dr Kwame Nkrumah, we have long established our relationships with these nations that kept bearing fruits for all to see.
The 59th independence parade under the command of His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, Commander-In-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, had displayed the long established relationships within the continent. The presence of the president of Kenya as well as that of Guinea Bissau had confirmed the love this country continues to attract because of its discipline in the affairs of the continent and the world as a whole.
Ghana, if she were human, would retire a year from now. If she were human, she would be looking back to see how best she had lived.
As captured in my article of last year 5th March 2015, “GHANA AT 58; THE VIEWS AND PERSPECTIVES OF A YOUNG MAN”, I made a point that, a nation has a day of birth but does have a day of death. That being the case, we cannot stop making progress and measure ourselves accordingly based on the number of years we have managed this country. To this end, I would proceed to look at the progresses we have made in health, education, electricity, jobs, roads, water, attitude and to project what the future holds for us all.
In the area of health, Ghana had attained a lot. It is a fact, that, today, Ghanaians have access to health care than ever before. It is a fact, equally, that, today, hospitals have been spread tremendously. Looking at a single government’s policy to add 6,000 hospital beds by close of 2018, one cannot refuse to appreciate the effort. Indeed, that remains the largest under a single administration. The colonial administration bothered much on its welfare. Indeed, in instances where they had to build these facilities, they were meant much for their comfort rather than the needs of the people.
In education, Ghana’s First president Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, upon assumption of office, had noticed the discriminating nature of the colonial administration where schools were only dotted around the south. He mobilised and expanded the base to the northern sector with a motivation of free education. The intention was to bridge the gap between the north and the south. Indeed, where the colonials were able to provide schools, they were to train administrative workers and translators who would help them understand the languages of the people. Indeed, simply, it was their benefit that they pursued.
Electricity provision under the first Republic was indeed remarkable. However, that was not to say every Ghanaian had had access to electricity. Indeed, the Rawlings administration had to make a conscious effort at expanding access to electricity to some parts of the country and especially to the 3 Northern Regions namely, Upper East, Upper West and the Northern Regions. The inadequate investments in the area, coupled with the political and economic motivation for these expansions, had grounded the sector into serious troubles in the 90s, in 2006 and 2007 and as recent as 2014. We have come far, as the government of the day under His Excellency John Dramani Mahama had had to endure the pain of fixing the energy crises that bedeviled this country by adding a record 817 megawatts of power in the shortest possible time to resolve the famous “dumsor”.
Jobs have remained governments biggest headache. Apart from the kwame Nkrumah regime that had offered opportunities for the citizens to work under the Workers Brigade and other cooperative unions as well as the provision of factories, subsequent governments had failed woefully to absorb graduates into meaningful and well planned structure. Since then, almost all workers absorbed by governments were teachers, nurses, the state security forces, doctors, and a host of others. The cities have become populated with individuals who are job seekers rather than job creators. This sterns out of wholesale implementation of the educational structure left behind by the colonial regime which was not production oriented.
The many unemployed we see today, is as a result of years of churning out unskilled graduates onto the job market. The industries that are to provide jobs have been collapsed, or sold off to multinationals whose primary aims are to make profit and would not hesitate maintaining a minimum workforce.
Yes, many road networks have been left in deplorable state. The significance of roads cannot be underestimated. At the time the Accra-Tema motorway was constructed, no one apart from those with vision, knew its significance to the nation. Today, 50 or so years after its construction, we do not seem to have the technology to patch portions that are experiencing cracks. Today, efforts are underway to expand the motorway, a clear sign of vision of Ghana’s first president.
To this end, the contraction of major roads such as Fufulso-Sawla, Sofoline, Eastern-Corridor, Kwame Nkrumah Circle Interchange, the Kasoa Interchange and plans to flyover the Awoshie-Pokuase stretch to Riss Junction at Madina, cannot be downplayed. The many other investments in asphalting roads across the city and expanding and upgrading of cities and town roads can only be commended in our 59 years of nationhood.
Water supply had remained a challenge to various governments including the Osagyefo government. Many of the citizens remain in rural areas whose sources of water remain the streams that attracted their settlements. The economic activities of men have made these sources of water unsafe for the consumption of many. Until recently, guinea worm was a major challenge to this country. The investments in the water sector though improved access to water from some 56.5% in 2009 to 80% in 2015 although commendable, remains inadequate. We must make further efforts at improving upon the situation.
Attitude, the last component of this piece, remains a major challenge. From the spirit of patriotism that characterised the young independent nation, to individualism where no one cares anymore what happens to the state or fellow human, we can best describe as a social crisis. For me, attitude is everything. Our attitudes would determine how far we want this country to go. It would determine how serious our nation is. Our total disrespect to time would always place as behind those we are competing with. We must wear back the consciousness that pricked our conscience in the past. We must embrace our old ways if we want to be better.
Looking into the future, I will still emphasise that attitude remains our future. If we must make the future better, we must then make better our attitudes. Shalom.