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Opinions of Saturday, 7 March 2020

Columnist: Raymond Ablorh

Ghana @ 63: A nation of mediocre leaders and citizens

Yesterday, our President delivered a very inspiring speech. That's very important at a time when millions of citizens are drowning in despondency and hopelessness.

To say we haven't made any progress at all as a nation is WRONG, but, to be contented with the progress we've made so far considering the vastness of resources at our disposal and our vast potentialities is exactly what MEDIOCRITY is.

In fact, the man who is our President today not too long ago, in opposition, looked at the resources at our disposal and juxtaposed that to our living conditions.

This was his conclusion: GHANA YE YE MOBO DODO.

This was barely four years ago. And, not much has changed.

He's the first person who would conclude that his administration hasn't turned Ghana into a Paradise in three-four years. Nobody can.

Truth is, beyond the beautiful macroeconomic indicators his administration boast of, they haven't made a substantial impact at the micro-level. But, then, again, it's noteworthy that without growth, there can't be development. Hence, substantial growth must be appreciated.

To be blunt, Ghana hasn't seen any meaningful progress in the last four years in SANITATION, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY, SECURITY, CORRUPTION FIGHT, LIVING CONDITIONS OF CITIZENS, etc.

In fact, in terms of waste management and sanitation we've gone backwards. Ghana isn't cleaner today than it's at the time of independence. A walk on our beaches will reveal backwardness instead of progress in our environment and sanitation.

In terms of the fight against corruption, Ghana has made no progress. We're more corrupt than ever before. It's corruption, especially, in officialdom that's depriving this nation of great resources that we could use for development.

When it comes to equitable distribution of resources and social justice, we haven't made much progress. There's simply too much unfairness in the system. The beneficiaries of our resources are few.

We also haven't made meaningful progress in terms of ownership of our economy. We don't own this economy; the means of production, the big multinational companies, etc.

Truth is our economy hasn't changed in structure from the colonialist economy we inherited. Ours is a retail economy that produces raw materials at the side for exports.

If you look at our economy with an opened mind, all you see is a big supermarket for foreign goods at the side of which is a farm that produces cash crops for exports.

We seldom add value to our raw materials.

The most important aspect of every nation is the collective mental predisposition and development of the nation. When it comes to the collective thinking of Ghanaians, it's fair to say that Ghanaians today don't think any differently from and better those who were colonised.

Our collective thinking is our biggest bane to meaningful development. Severe inferiority complex, no sense of self-worth, search for external validation all the time among others collectively define us and our leadership.

We haven't made any significant progress in that direction and that partly accounts to why we continue to stagnant in various sectors.

Our leadership isn't any different from the chiefs in the British indirect rule system. We're unable to properly manage anything named after Ghana; Ghana Airways, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Electricity Company of Ghana, Ghana Telecom, Ghana News Agency, Ghana Government, etc.

Because it's his independence speech, I understand why our President chose to talk of progress generally from independence till now without telling us which percentage of this progress, for instance, in electricity expansion and penetration is attributable to his administration.

Raymond Ablorh is a former student leader, professional journalist, media development practitioner, corporate communications specialist and a prolific feature writer who has written thought-provoking articles for the Daily Graphic and other local and international mainstream and online media since the year 2000.

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