Ghana became independent on the 6th of March 1957. Today, Ghana turns 58 years. If it were a human being under the employ of the Head of Civil Servants unit, She should be preparing for retirement in 2 years. This would have been the ideal time for her to look back if she had achieved enough to live on after the elapse of the 2 remaining years for pension.
However, that is not the case. A nation has a day of birth but cannot have a date of retirement and a probable day of death.
I was born many years after our independence, at least 37 years after our independence. I would take a historical tour of this country preceding my birth and then dove-tail into our present and then into the future.
Ghana had been colonised for many years at least since the signing of the bond of 1844. After 113 years of exploitation, bondage, oppression and suppression, a few illustrious sons came together to advance the freedom of the people of the then Gold Coast. That was the initial name of Ghana until independence.
After Ghanaians led government business in Parliament for a couple of years, we were handed the mantle to govern ourselves. Even though that was the case, we were never fully independent until on the 1st of July 1960. We were then given full sovereignty as a people.
Since then, the journey had never been that easy. It was a bumpy one with many portholes to scale through.
The young nation Ghana was under pressure to develop and to lift majority of its citizens from the quagmire of poverty. A fight that has continued till today.
We defined our mode of governance that we felt was suitable for our development at various times. We moved on from democratic rules to coup d’etat and then finally into another democratic rule from 1992 to today.
We have chalked some successes. Nobody can tell me Ghana as it was in 1957 is the same as we have.. today. We have expanded electricity coverage to more communities than ever, expanded rural and urban access to water, we have improved on our road infrastructure, access to education has much improved beyond what it was, women participation in politics has risen over time, more Ghanaians have access to communication services than it was the case.
A sightseeing across our cities would reveal the springing up of estates and private properties of Ghanaians. Indeed, more Ghanaians today drive their personal cars which is a sign of how far with have come.
We emerged from the era when people queue for weeks and take appointments for when to arrive at the Telecom office to place a call into the Eestern world to be able yo speak to someone. In the days of telegraph, one was cautious what to write as they were charged per the number of words written to be transmitted. A joke was told of a man whom, in an attempt to drive home how far we have become that, he was to inform his brother abroad about the death of his uncle and this was what he wrote “Kofi, this is Kwame, uncle died, funeral Friday, father, say, come” the more your talk or write, the more you pay.
Years down the lane, we do not queue to send telegraphs. As a matter of fact, this piece is being written with the aid of a mobile device. Today, we can get onto social media and connect with the whole world. We have moved from the period when common SIM cards were queued for and bought for 1,000,000 Cedis (Ghc100 equivalent). Today, we wield mobile phones than ever before and in some cases, get SIM cards for free. Communications and the cost to connect with the worl is now faster and relatively cheaper.
We have come a long way. We have elected governments over the years at least between 1992 and today 2015. Twenty three (23) clear years of uninterrupted constitutional rule, we are laying blames on one government and the other, trying to establish who had failed more or who had failed better.
Does this really matter if we have woken up to the reality today? It is important to maintain some amount of history to guide us into the future but not what is sorted for to mislead our society. The successes of this country is our collective success while our failures are equally a collective one.
How many times have we even raised our voices to call people to order to behave for the common good of our society? When was the last time you were involved in a communal work in your area?
We have now shifted our individual responsibilities to the government. As a matter of fact, the working Ghanaian thinks his only obligation to the state is to pay tax from January to December.
Once that is done, we think we have grabbed the license to attack the government in power. How could we achieve?
Communal activities like we see today in relation to National Sanitation Day are the means through which citizens can contribute their quota to the development of this country. It does not rely on the taxes we pay. What would be left for the development of other sectors when what is realised from our taxes are used to collect the rubbish we generate and throw away indiscriminately?
Fast forward, your father’s 58 years without his entering a university class does not mean his failure so long as you have entered the university on his efforts. His entire liberation lies in you. Once you are better of, he is also better.
Ghana at 58 had not stopped providing us with the requisite education required for its development. Ghana at 58 has not abandoned its responsibility of creating an enabling environment for you and I to advance our potentialities.
What had failed us is our speed at pointing figures at others other than our own selves. When we begun thinking someone should do it and not us, that was when we began failing.
Our current situation as a country was our creation. However, at every opportunity, we are so enthusiastic to point out and lay blame at the door steps of governments.
Yes! We elect governments to fix our problems. But, that does not mean our responsibilities as citizens have been forfeited.
Another 58 years would pass. You may be a key member of government when that time comes. You may be old or be dead by then, but, what are you putting in place such that 58 years to come, Ghana would be the Ghana you would want it to be?
Building a nation is not an easy task. It is a difficult and an arduous one. It requires the contributions of everyone.
If we are to get Ghana to move forward in the direction we want, we must wear back a high sense of patriotism and be ready to work the extra mile to see this nation stand out. It is our collective responsibility and not for anyone to sit on the fences and point fingers at others to correct.
Today, we govern ourselves but refuse to participate. We have been divided along partisan lines such that we see no sense in unity and the need to build this nation together.
We see the task of working to build for ourselves as that of others. When we were under slavery and could not speak or choose when to act, we built for others to enjoy. Today, as we are to build for our own selves, we see it as someone’s else’s business.
The only time we can survive under such mental attitude is to have some slaves working for us while we behave as masters. In that case, point one nation to me that we can walk in and colonise in this century so we can quicken the magical pace of our development.
Let is rise up above our petty partisan squabbles and build Ghana together!
God bless our homeland Ghana!
Stephen Kwabena Attuh – ASK