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Opinions of Friday, 30 June 2017

Columnist: Graphic.com.gh

Can National Dialogue ‘2017’ succeed without attitudinal change?

The ‘2017’ National Dialogue has been launched recently on the theme, “Restoring the Ghanaian Identity: Our Values, Our Passion.” The occasion had speakers deliver scholarly and morally intelligent speeches to mark the day.

Various Ghanaian political hegemonies have had several platforms with a similar quest for seeking national cohesion, sanity and respect in all endeavors of our national lives. Yet, we keep harping on the same string of missing the Ghanaian identity and values but adopting strange “norms” in the Ghanaian society.

The Kufuor administration had a portfolio attaché to the Ministry of Information (National Orientation) with the sole responsibility for recognizing the Ghanaian identity and keeping abreast of its values.

How are we faring?

The question to ask is, how have we fared in all the sensitization by the various political administrations that had held several platforms for a similar mission?

The more the citizenry is being sensitized to hold in high esteem the Ghanaian core values, the more things get out of hands. What has gone amiss?

The 2017 May Day celebration had the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, enumerate some flaws at the labour front and reiterated the need for attitudinal change. We hope this time round it works.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.”

It is just like the biblical quotation that says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

Are we making all these sensitisations by various political administrations just a wild goose chase? Huge sums of moneys are spent on sensitisation programmes , yet the purpose is hardly significant.

The Vice-President, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, in his remarks at the 2017 National Dialogue intimated that for the first time, the government had raised the allocation of disbursement for the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) to enable it to execute its mandate.

That is a remarkable effort in the President Akufo-Addo administration to ensure that the institution is adequately resourced to carry out its mandate to a certain level of satisfaction in a quest for positive results.

However, the question to ask is, how will that be possible if the Ghanaian attitude is stereotyped? How does that yield results even if the NCCE uses the resources judiciously or prudently but the attitude of the citizenry is stereotyped?

Attitudinal change

The President Akufo-Addo administration is poised to make Ghana work as a country that believes in upholding her values without any compromise. Can that work when the citizenry does not acknowledge the need for attitudinal change? A big No!

Even during Ghana’s colonial regime, the Ghanaian attitude was not encouraging. That was evident in the role the Ghanaian workforce played when the struggle for independence was being staged.

Ghanaian workers schemed to make work difficult for the colonial masters. That had trickled down to generations with lackadaisical attitude and corruption at the Ghanaian labour front. Since then, Ghana has been bleeding profusely from attitudinal change in almost all spheres of her human endeavour ranging from corruption, cheating, apathy and other related setbacks, especially in the national identity and values bequeathed us by air ancestors.

Values

The adoption of foreign fashion, values and norms is inimical to the Ghanaian socio and religio-cultural values.

That is the extent of the loss of the Ghanaian identity and core values.

Gone are the days when an elderly person could discipline an indisciplined boy or girl in the Ghanaian society (Courtesy for Boys and Girls book). Those were the days when parents whisked their children to school to order teachers to cane them for being disobedient at home. Today, the elderly stand in buses while the youth sit.

The irony in the values of the past is that today’s parents send their children to school to hurl insults at teachers or even fight them for disciplining them. Today, woe betides an elderly person who dares to discipline even their own child, let alone someone else’s.

Today, in the name of adopted value for fashion, both parents and their children dress indecently, exposing body parts that need to be hidden. Parents in the past were very particular about what their children wore both at home and while going out.

Dare any child who dressed indecently in the past Ghana. Parents scolded them to go and change into a decent one and there was compliance. Where have those values disappeared to?

Is it technological advancement? Is it “civilisation?” The irony is that, the more sophisticated society becomes, the more cultural values are relegated to the background. Just like the more churches are spreading in the society, the more indiscipline and sin abound.

Nonetheless, in restoring the Ghanaian identity, the citizenry needs to reflect soberly to make a resolution.

Adherence to the rule of law, prudence and truthfulness in the day-to-day running of the Ghanaian administration, institutions, homes and individuals are the keys.