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Opinions of Friday, 8 March 2019

Columnist: Raymond Ablorh

Ghana's 62nd independence anniversary speech by President Ablorh

OUR FATHERS ARE YET TO LEARN FROM WHAT HAPPENED TO THEIR FATHERS

Fellow Citizens of Ghana,

Today, certainly, marks a very important day in the life of our nation.

Ghana, the nation many of her citizens pretend they love so much is 62 years old even though she looks less than 26 years old in maturity and development.

This is why on this occasion, we have a lot of thinking to do than we ever did in the past; this is why we have to observe this day reflectively towards redefining our thinking pattern, politics, character and attitude towards God, our nation, her people and the global community with the ultimate purpose of pulling our collective dreams and aspirations to the shores of reality.

Today, you may have heard our National Anthem played to remind us of when it was first played.

You may have heard Kwame Nkrumah's voice announcing our dominion status amidst cheers and jubilations.

You could imagine the euphoria and the hope that generation had on this day 62 years ago.

How many of you were alive on that day? Looking at Ghana today, would you say this is the Ghana you had in your dreams and you saw in your visions?

Of course, there are more cars on our streets than there were in 1957 just as there are now more streets; tall cement block buildings; radio and TVs in our rooms, offices and shops; many other technologies; and goods and services.

Sadly, how many of these technologies and items we so proudly patronise are made by us?

Look around you; our streets, gutters, beaches, rivers, lagoons and environment in general. How do you feel? Would you travel to tour such filthy places in other countries?

Check the state of our institutions and systems. Is it not reflective of the quality of our leadership and followership?

Well, fellow citizens, my intention is not to call your attention to what we all see and lament daily, but, to share with you why we are still where we are at the age of 62 and how we could exit this squalor to where we dream of being.

Of course, the month of March has a beautiful lesson of possibilities. It tells us that it is possible for any group of people to obtain whatever they desire if they commit to their search for it. By 1957, our freedom fighters had done enough to attain what those before them yearned for.

What happened after independence, however, rendered useless the struggles of our forefathers and made its essence unachievable at the time.

It is important for this generation and younger ones to know that our founding fathers or forefathers were tragic heroes whose struggles contain so many lessons for us to learn to be able to exit the hopelessness we are suffering today.

First, they couldn't win independence as one people; they won while hanging apart because of the poisonous politics they did at the time.

Same politics killed them and their dreams while Ghana was in her teens.

In 1965, 4th February, when this nation was barely 8 years old, Joseph Boakye Kwame Danquah, popularly called Uncle JB, the man who is often referred to as the Doyen of Ghana politics, died in the Nsawam Prison in the hands of Francis Nwiah Kwame Nkrumah, the man he invited upon the recommendation of Ako Adjei to come and help in the struggle for independence.

About a year later, on 24th February 1966, Kwame Nkrumah, the man who announced, "Ghana, our beloved country is free forever" suffered coup and lost his freedom to live and die in the country he declared free.

Later, Kofi Abrefa Busia too suffered coup and went into exile where he died, thus, suffering the same fate with Nkrumah.

Is this not our story?

Politics of ill-suspicions, mistrust, vindictiveness, animosity, wicked propaganda, character assassinations, greed, arrogance, sycophancy, bootlicking, etc., killed these intelligent men of great visions leaving this nation an orphan at a very young age.

Since then, we've been in a long stretch of wilderness with no collective destination in my mind, hence, moving in circles like the Israelites did for 40 years.

Sadly, our fathers; the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo's, the John Kufuor's, the John Rawlings, the John Mahama's, etc., have not learnt or benefited from the lessons inherent the lives and struggles of their fathers before, during and after independence. Hence, they are drinking from the same cup from which, their fathers died of poisoning; they're running in the dark on the same slippery path they fell and died while walking, not running.

And, our clergy and other religious and traditional leaders and elders of our nation because of their selfish parochial interest are also aligning thoughtlessly to the establishment with some openly telling blatant lies disrespectfully in the name of God to promote their partisan clients and favourites while others work behind the scenes.

More painfully, younger generations whose future and that of their unborn children are at stake are following our incompetent leaders without integrity headlessly; fighting for them against their own future in the name of party solidarity and loyalty.

Many youths are also locked up in entertainment halls dancing their future away into uselessness so unconcerned about decisions are taken on their behalf and how they are governed.

Should this continue, we would have no nation to save and develop in the near future.

This is why I think about this junction of time, and on this occasion, we have to pause and think reflectively with our collective dreams and aspirations dominating our parochial individual and partisan interests.

We have to pause and stop talking at one another in partisan noise, and start constructive conversations with empathy and respect for one another.

We have no choice, fellow citizens, but to depart from the path of this filthy politics on which, our forefathers died with their lofty ideas.

Regardless of how intelligent and visionary they were than those we have today, they could not even save their own selves let alone save their people and deliver to them the milk and honey they promised them on their way to our Canaan.

Amazingly, their achievements are far greater than ours.

Fellow citizens, because we have no foresight and cannot see farther than they did, we still talk of making Ghana great again in reference to the Ghana of their era while we allow their ghosts to haunt us in a "who started the independence fight before who came and who contributed more? and "whether Ghana should have a Founder's or Founders' Day" arguments.

It is time we said enough is enough to our thoughtlessness.

But for the nature of our politics, the challenge of party forces who serve citizens lawlessness, impunity, violence and threats of violence would not be a topical subject of public discourse at age 62 long after the Action Troopers, Unknown Warriors and all those who fought with soda bottle bombs and grenades are gone into oblivion.

Had we any respect, love and reverence for the God who we ask to bless us in our National Anthem and who we are now helping our president to fulfil his personal vow of building him a National Cathedral, fellow citizens, we would not be engaging in this kind of destructive Politics which is only wasting our resources, energies, lives and years.

Were we united to a higher being than ourselves, there would not be endemic corruption in our government, institutions and systems.

We worship Him on our lying lips in brick and mortar temples, cathedrals, synagogues or sanctuaries and mosques while our hearts which, he desires to dwell in are far away from Him.

Hence, almost all classrooms in our public schools are churches or places of worship on Sundays or Saturdays; we've turned our cinemas and warehouses to Cathedrals, yet, we are so far from God and His love is not in us.

Thus, our praise and worship sessions are mere religious entertainment or concerts and our ablutions are nothing beyond personal hygiene.

At, 62, let's turn from our evil ways as a nation and demonstrate great love and reverence to the God we refer to in our National Anthem and our National Pledge so that we can get the blessings we are seeking from Him.

Let us do politics with love and respect for God, our nation, communities and our people with a focus on our collective interest than on the personal and partisan we have always done as a nation.

Let us aspire to excellence, build core values and principles to collectively abide by, cherish men and woman of integrity than questionable characters solely because of their monies, appreciate talent and work with merit to avoid putting square pegs in round holes at all levels.

What Ghana needs today are great thinkers and doers; not machomen or talkers; she needs competent men and women of integrity to lead her, and responsible citizens to help them pull her dreams from the ocean of global aspirations to her shores of actualisation.

May you and I be those leaders and citizens to give her hope, wipe her tears away and re-write her story with the love of God to put joy in her heart and the hearts of her vulnerable children.

May God help us and our leaders.

May God bless Ghana.

President Ablorh.