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Opinions of Sunday, 16 March 2008

Columnist: Adu-Gyamfi, Kwaku

How much do you have in your "emotional account" in Ghana?


Another score for the visionary minds: The ‘Ghanaweb’ is something we can write home about.

And, where were the vote-hungry politicians and self-anointed crusade leaders when we needed them?

Money is the root of “all evils.” Those who believe in this unprogressive thought only use it as a tool to win more “mobrowa” souls.

We sometimes fall prey to some common beliefs such as; money is evil, rich people are wicked, it is somehow noble or spiritually safe to be poor and many more self-defeating mores.

Money is not evil when it is used to make life worth living to humankind. It only becomes “evil” if it gives the individual latitude to acquire only nice worldly toys like: jewelry, cars, over estimated mansions and stash of properties. These are temporary things that only give us some amount of inspiration to fortify our false notion of “security”.

No, I’m not against working hard for good life and its trimmings, but sometimes I question the lack of life fulfillment which money seems not to accomplish. As a result, we unconsciously replace our quest for life meaningfulness with acquiring material things to only numb our emotional pains.

Apart from the sense of false security which we desperately attempt to establish, we have also devalued our ability to develop social cohesiveness —as emotional insurance policy. Let’s face it, our quest for money doesn’t give us much room to develop strong social bonds any more. Consequently, family ties are fractured and friendships are punctured. Our obsession to get rich has attracted a negative stigma to money such that it has lost its meaning.

Honestly, the essence of money and its usefulness changes as we age and drift into the end of life. Once we get to that milestone, we will need more than money to keep us going. We will need some accomplishments we can look back on .This is why there is the need to build an “Emotional Account” as a form of insurance policy.

The Emotional Account is just like a bank account, but it doesn’t require any money. It’s a concept of finding a worthwhile activity that you can engage in to achieve life fulfillments.

Every now and then when our politicians dish out money willy-nilly it makes us believes that they’re up to something worthwhile. Where were they when we needed them most? Is their style of magnanimity sustainable?

Well, here is something you probably don’t hear or read everyday: My tremble hands hold before my disbelieving eyes the documentary evident of a visionary mind at work. It is an article I read from the New York Times (oct.23rd ‘2007 Issue) captioned:”Mozambican is awarded $5million on Leadership”.

The substance of the news is that the winner; Josquin A. Chissano was the Mozambican former president. The name behind the Foundation which awarded the 5million Dollar Prize is a Sudanese billionaire; businessman known as, Mo Ibrahim. This man has a vision to nurture the African Leadership to aspire to live up to expectation. One may be tempted to ask why the money was not given to the poor in Dafur, Southern Sudan, Somalia or Eritrea.

The fact is that, it has been proven over the years that all the evils of Africa are human generated ones. Our under development, poverty and disease and many more evils are originated by bad leadership which have been perpetuated by corrupt men and few voracious women. What do you say about a president who for reasons best known to him and his cronies stole the verdict of the people in an election only to bring that country to a halt?

In the case of Kenya, over one thousand poor rural folks were gunned down, axed, chopped into pieces with machetes or speared. Ironically not even a dog of their leaders died. We have countries like Gambia, Uganda, Chad, Cameroun, Zimbabwe to state only these whose Constitutions have been changed single- handedly by their leaders who want to rule till the second coming of Christ .

Are you aware Oman Bongo of Gabon is about to celebrate his golden jubilee as a head of state of that country? You can now appreciate why Mo Ibrahim had to come out with this option to entice these greedy leaders to leave power.

There are many people in Ghana who have money more than we have in the vault of bank of Ghana but will hardly embark on anything of social significance. All they do is to acquire their personal “toys” and build their invisible empires. The point is one doesn’t have to be a billionaire to provide assistance to his or her communities or support useful ventures in this world. Can you imagine what Ghana can accomplish if we begin to focus more on discovering what ‘matters’ and act as builders?

Mo Ibrahim is not the only one; there are others across Africa who have in their own small way affected the lives of two or more persons. I guarantee they may not be multimillionaires —they’re not extraordinary people either. They’re ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things. In Ghana, we have our own. Francis Akoto single-handedly opened a wide window of Ghana ( to the reading world. Before Akoto conceived the idea in 1992 in Finland, there was no information about Ghana on the World Wide Web. His vision has brought a lot of Ghanaians together than any government or organization has ever accomplished. Undoubtedly, the same vision has given us (the ‘wannabe writers’) an arena where we can hone our rudimentary skills. This is not a small achievement to sneeze at. A visionary at work, folks!.

Trust me, when everything is said and done and you’re in your 60’s and beyond, you can tap into the emotional resource you built over the years to make yourself feel good and your life worth-while. Those are the years all the cars, jewelry, fancy clothes and toys won’t count any more. There will not be too much need for them.

Regardless of your age what do you have in your emotional account? What will be your contribution to society when you hit that milestone? This is the time to do something for your country, village or neighborhood.

Are you there? This is a head- scratching one, huh? How much do you have in your emotional account? Do something while you have time and probably the means.

I don’t remember where I heard the following statement, but I ‘d like to share with you:” Life’s finite and we don’t even have the advantage of knowing when our finite supply of time will run out.” How sad!

Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi NJ, USA

*The author is a social commentator, the founder of the Adu-Gyamfi Youth Empowerment, Educational and Apprenticeship foundation at Asuom, E/R.