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Opinions of Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Columnist: Maxwell Akalaare Adombila

Making Ghana a ‘good society’: Realistic or idealistic?

Opinion Opinion

In the days that followed, loads of suggestions were made by people from various walks of life on what the authorities could do to prevent a repeat.

While some of those measures bordered on long-term planning, majority of them required practical, drastic and immediate actions to implement and reduce to the barest minimum the possibility of a recurrence.

But typical of the Ghanaian, the entire nation went to sleep after its headaches had palliated.

The result has been the repeat of the flooding on October 9, barely five months into the flood and fire that wreaked havoc on lives and property to the attraction of international headlines.

This, therefore, begs the question if in a good society, where everything is perfect, laws are allowed to work and gross abuse of regulations and human rights punished will ever happen in Ghana.

That is the question the weekly motivational talk show, the Springboard, Your Virtual University, on Joy FM seeks to answer through its new series titled: 'Building the Good Society; Reclaiming the Seven Pillars of Influence.'

It is the second edition of the Leader's Digest, which premiered last year as a platform for celebrated leaders in and outside the corporate world to share their ideas on leadership to listeners.

This year's edition is expected to run between now and December, within which various personalities will take turns to deliberate on what a good society is, why it is necessary and how it can be created in the country.

Deliberations on the show will touch on seven pillars — business, religion, family, education, leadership and governance, media and arts and entertainment — considered the most influential areas in society.

The first series on October 4 featured insightful discussions from the Managing Director of IFS Financial Services Limited, Mr Kojo Ohene-Kyei, and the Director of the Grant Dupuis Investment Limited, Mr Yofi

Understanding a good society
Explaining why it was relevant to discuss how to build a good society in Ghana, Mr Grant said the whole concept of a good society traced its roots to Western philosophers such as John Locke, who envisaged it as a society where individuals would be given conducive environment to achieve their aims.

In modern days, however, he said the concept had been remodelled into a societal one, where people expected that 'good society' to facilitate and reward their aspirations at large.

"It is a general one where there is that social contract and the people agree that this is where we want to go and they work to get there," he said.
Yofi chose leadership and governance as the first most influential pillar for every family.

He, however, was unable to single out a third one, explaining that he saw religion and education to be at par relative to the creation of a good society.
Explaining why he chose leadership and governance as number one, Mr Grant said the recent consensus on a good society cited a common purpose, public spirit and strong institutions that worked to the benefit of the people.

"So, the societal goals are determined and guided by institutions. When you have strong institutions that have a common purpose and goal, then you are getting closer to a good society and the crust of that is good leadership," he said.

He described as unfortunate recent thoughts by the youth that they could get rich easily in politics rather than from any other sector of society.
Such thinking, he said, was a testament to society's inability to model a good leadership style to the youth.

Yofi mentioned Jesus Christ as his role model from whom he derived inspiration.
Mr Ohene-Kyei also mentioned leadership and governance, family and business as three top favourite pillars among the seven most influential pillars.

On family, he admitted that modern-day schedules made it difficult for parents to spend quality time with their families.

This, he said, was worrying given that building the next generation of society, through child raising, was the most important issue that every society must concern itself with.

"Many children are emotionally deprived. I don't want to get to the point where I am very successful in business and financially, yet I don't even know my children," he said.

He explained that it was necessary for parents to build a bond with their children, especially at their tender ages, where parenthood was very key.
He disagreed with the notion that only women should always sacrifice their ambitions to raise children, saying: "Men can equally sacrifice theirs too. It mustn't always be the woman who should be at the receiving end."

The bigger picture
He expressed unhappiness with the level of poverty and deprivation in the country, explaining that that could have reduced if there was a collective effort to create a level playing field for everybody to succeed.

At the national level, Mr Ohene-Kyei said, the country needed to see the nation as one big family that supported the disadvantaged.

"So, if there are children somewhere who cannot pay their school fees, children who do not have the emotional support because they have poor parents, there has to be a social setup that ensures that these members of our family are taken care of. If we don't, then we are creating a bigger problem for the greater society," he said.