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Opinions of Thursday, 23 June 2016

Columnist: Badu, K

Do we really want to develop as a nation?

The painful truth is, our development has been beclouded by irresoluteness, negligence, corruption, cronyism, nepotism and needless dubieties,-----‘can’t do attitude’.

So, we are often viewed by others as unproductive and incapable of contributing meaningfully to the advancement of humanity.

A few years ago, I hired a Turkish taxi driver to take me home following a lengthy seminar at City University London.

Upon realising that I hail from Ghana, he hypocritically remarked, “I admire Ghanaians, they are nice and modest”. “I used to work with Ghanaians, South Africans and Nigerians”, “but throughout my affiliation, I found Ghanaians very pleasant”.

Ironically, the Turkish minicab driver euphemistically went ahead and asserted, “Africans are not intelligent”.

Obviously, I was extremely dumbfounded to hear such seemingly indiscreet statement, albeit I reflected summarily and composed myself.

I tried to show deference to the clamorous Turkish taxi driver, but it was not easy for me to contain my emotional intelligence.

Consequently, I quizzed the vociferous Turkish driver: what do you mean? Are you serious? “make yourself clearer please”.

When he realised that his statement was not taken lightly by me, the Turkish taxi driver turned apologetic for his impolitic statement. He, however, offered a substantial explanation:” You see my friend, Europeans have researched and invented a lot for humanity”; “North Americans have done their bit”; “Asians are currently catching up with the Europeans and the North Americans”.

I nonetheless queried the Turkish taxi driver further: What about the other continents? Driver: “Oh yes, the South Americans and the Australians are doing their utmost best”.

I put it to the driver once again: Do you know the number of countries in Africa? Driver: “No”. He, however, stated that he had read widely and watched the catalogue of the ills of Africa on Television.

The Turkish driver explained further that he is cognisant of incompetence, corruption, nepotism, cronyism, tribal conflicts, poverty, squalor, etc., in Africa.

I became numb momentarily, for, indeed, the truth hurts, they say. All the same, I engaged in a carefully considered reflection and rather directed my anger towards our incompetent leaders.

Apparently, some of Dr Osagyefo’s patriotic messages came to mind in my quiet mood.

It would be recalled that during the 6th March 1957 independence proclamation, Osagyefo eloquently recited some important messages which were meant to motivate Ghanaians.

Nevertheless, as to whether those inspiring messages have impacted positively in the lives of Ghanaian people is yet to be seen.

In paraphrasing some of his benign and enlivening messages, Dr Nkrumah positively asserted back then, that Blackman was more than ready and capable of ruling himself.

Without any iota of doubt, he sounded like a manful optimist. Yes, I concur, a Blackman has the requisite knowledge and intelligence to be able to manage his own affairs, but has the intelligent and knowledgeable Blackman been able, and more importantly willing to do so?

What’s more, during the delivery of the euphonious speech, Osagyefo challenged all and sundry to come together and work hard towards the development of the nation, so as to gain our respect amongst nations.

Perfect, that message was melodious to the ear, but have we, as a nation, managed, or in a position to do so?

Just listen to the current arguments following Nana Akufo Addo’s announcement of ‘one District one Industry’ policy and you would not belie by suggesting that Ghanaians are not ready for advancement.

Unsurprisingly, however, the critics have woefully failed to analyse how the policy will eventually impact on the lives of Ghanaians, including the likely reduction in the armed robbery menace.

For if anything at all, the unemployed will find something meaningful to do if Nana Addo was to put his advantageous policy into action.

Obviously, we witnessed in the past how the incompliant critics moved heaven and earth to shoot down all the important social interventions like the National Health Insurance Scheme, Maternal Care, School Feeding, etc.

In fact, my view on Nana Addo’s one District one Industry policy is that it will reduce all forms of robberies.

Although it has not been well established that unemployment is the main cause of robberies, extant literature cites unemployment as one of the causes of armed robbery.

More importantly, if Nana Addo was to get the opportunity to put his policy into use, it will enhance our socio-economic standards of living.

Unfortunately, the sceptics argument that we do not have funds to be able to carry out such a gargantuan venture is specious. For if we put a tab on our needless spending, we can do it.

If Dr Osagyefo was able to build hundreds of industries despite all the exigencies, so could Nana Addo.

“We are not purposeful as a nation, are we?”

K. Badu, UK.