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Opinions of Friday, 18 September 2009

Columnist: Kpebu, Sandow Seidu

What We Can Do For Our Country

By Sandow Seidu Kpebu, London

It was a fine Saturday afternoon in London as I was on my way to the hospital, to visit a friend on admission, my mobile phone buzzed, I received the call and it was from a gentleman called Ibrahim Farouk Napson. This gentleman met me when President Mills met with the Ghanaian community in London. It was at this event that a friend introduced me to Farouk as a media consultant and a Programmes Director of a private radio station in London.

He was overly happy to meet me since according to him, the media is key to the development of Ghana. We could not chat for long that day. But on that fine weekend we had a marathon conversation for nearly two hours all centred on how to source development initiatives for our brothers back home. He said he founded an organisation called Redeemer Aid (UK), Redeemer Aid International (GH) and Germany to help the youth steer clear of the streets. This was a great idea, I thought, and was prepared to offer any assistance.

What really makes me humble in this instance is that, this organisation has young Ghanaians based in UK, Germany and USA behind it. These young Ghanaians believe that all Ghanaians who have made little success in life have to throw something back to the country that gave them the opportunity to become successful. A case of ‘every little helps’. Yes the government has a social responsibility to provide infrastructure and social amenities for the benefit of the citizens, however, the successful citizens will have to also contribute what they can to help the government. A mutual benefit you reckon?

The case about Redeemer Aid International (GH) is one out of hundreds of such initiatives, but for young Ghanaians to start thinking that they also have a social responsibility to help their brothers and sisters is quite revealing and raises hope for the future of our country. I have always maintained that the future belongs to the youth and therefore they must play a major role in the development process. The leaders who have ganged up to fleece the country dry cannot be trusted to provide the needed development for Ghana. These politicians are apparently ruling by proxy and do not seek to serve the interest of Ghanaians but the interest of the Breton Wood institutions (IMF and World Bank).

The idea of networking is very important and I believe other young Ghanaians in the Diaspora and in Ghana can found organisations or groups in the form of cooperatives to go into Agriculture, manufacturing, services and ICT.

The Redeemer Aid for instance has established an ICT school at Ordokor in Accra to provide computer, broadcasting and First Aid courses for the youth. It is also expanding to the northern parts of the country. It is important to emphasise the value of ICT in our development efforts, including the much touted Agric sector. We can use ICT for e-Agriculture, e-Commerce, e-Health, e-Education and e-Governance. The government of the day should try to facilitate the efforts of the youth who are prepared to help bring meaningful development to Ghana.

The new angle of development that is emerging should be harnessed by the government to push the development agenda a notch higher. We have young Ghanaians in the Diaspora whose expertise could also help in both the Agriculture sector and the construction industry. A young Ghanaian Geologist in UK also observed that our building and road contractors do not test the soil to ascertain the suitability for a particular type of construction that last for many years. He believes that the reason why we build roads and within a year they develop cracks and potholes is poor soil testing and treatment. Also that Ghana has no soil data to help contractors. Mr David Klutse tells me he is ready to team up with other Ghanaian engineers to compile a comprehensive soil data across the country for the use of the Agriculture and construction sectors. He attributes the poor nature of our roads and buildings to poor supervision by the Agencies responsible for checking our contractors to ensure that they do not construct roads and buildings on a contaminated soil.

Mr John Eshun a USA based irrigation engineer has expressed his desire to offer free consultancy service for a time tested irrigation projects in the country, especially northern Ghana. According to him Ghana should consider the California example of turning a complete barren land into an all year round Agriculture which now plays a major role in sustaining the economy of the state of California.

One theme runs through all the issues I have enumerated above. There is a new dawn in Ghana and among Ghanaians both home and abroad to offer selfless help for the country, the youth and future generation. I doubt if our politicians can offer such selfless service to mother Ghana without draining the coffers of the poor taxpayer whose sweat is used for the kingly enjoyment of the ruling class. I however commend President John Evans Attah Mills for exhibiting this rare selfless quality and modesty for refusing any per diem from the poor taxpayer. The time to move from rhetoric to action is long overdue and our leaders must understand that. I sincerely believe that our politicians are underestimating the intelligence of Ghanaians and playing with our patience as well. I can foresee a social revolution in the near future if the politicians do not shed their profligate life style and to give hope to the people.

The youth of Ghana are setting the pace and it behoves the ruling class to follow that example of selfless service. The porters, the civil/public servants, the teacher, the nurses, the doctors, the pensioners, the farmers and all the market men and women are playing their part to bring development to Ghana. The very politician who just yesterday was in a queue with me to buy ‘waakye’ or ‘TZ’, who for some strange reason has become ‘Lord’ over night must understand that the wind of change is still blowing across Ghana and they will be held accountable by the suffering majority of Ghanaians.

If young Ghanaians, as stated above, can show this level of concern for the country how much more the politician who is given the mandate to do more? The government as a matter of duty should facilitate the efforts of people who want to contribute their quota to the development of the country. The High commissions and Embassies abroad should compile a list of Ghanaian experts and their contacts details; this will not cost the taxpayer a dime, so that we can call on them to assist as and when we need them. Alternatively, appropriate contact details for the government Agency responsible for harnessing young Ghanaians’ expertise both home and abroad are made public and also published on the websites. There are thousands of the likes of Redeemer Aid International (GH), Mr David Klutses and Mr John Eshuns out there whose expertise is waiting to be tapped for the betterment of Ghana.

Source: Sandow Seidu Kpebu