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Opinions of Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Columnist: Daily Guide Network

If I were to ask you about 'the Ghanaian dream'


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I once had a dream while travelling to the Upper West region of Ghana. This was a few years ago and in that dream I saw that all the roads were tarred and there were a lot of high-rise buildings there with a modern airport. I woke up a few minutes later when the vehicle in which I was travelling fell into a pothole.

The shaking of the vehicle woke me up and I was disappointed because it interrupted my dream. I woke up from my short but deep sleep, and as I looked around I begun to wonder when the roads will be tarred to reduce the burden of travelling from Accra to Wa by road.

Last year, I travelled to Wa only to find to my admiration a first-class road from Tamale to Wa. At long last the dream I had years ago had become a reality – the roads were done, but the skyscrapers were not there. Perhaps one day we will find some in the region.

So the question is, if I were to dream about Ghana’s future, what kind of dream will it be? Will it be a positive dream or negative one? Will it be a great or small and will it be progressive or revolutionary?

Dreams, according to Wikipedia, are a successions of images, ideas, emotions and sensations that occur usually involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. Throughout recorded history, the content and purpose of dreams are not definitively understood, though they have been a topic for scientific speculation, as well as a subject of philosophical and religious interest.

It will be interesting to do a scientific study of the dreams people have especially across continents, countries and groups. A comparative study of these dreams will be very instructive in knowing what occupies the minds of people from different countries and how many of them also drive the activities of the nation.

Research shows that events in dreams are generally outside the control of the dreamer. We cannot dismiss dreams. Dreams can at times make a creative thought occur to the person or give a sense of inspiration.

Running alongside what I call the “sleeping dream” is my interest in what I call the “aspirational dreams” or vision for Ghana. Here I refer to the dream in the sense of having a clearly defined vision and goal.

Do we all know what the vision of this country is and how each of us is expected to contribute towards the achievement of that goal? I am talking about an idealist dream that occupies the minds and souls of Ghanaians day and night. That dream that keeps people going and that drives them into action. This dream I talk about is what should give us sleepless night for which people will sit and toil and fight to achieve through legitimate means.

How much of what we do in this country is driven by the dream we have of how we want this nation to be.

These dreams in my view are the combinations or accumulation of the individual and collective dreams of the citizens of the country and what they aspire to be.

Having being born and bred in Ghana, it is becoming increasingly difficult for me to identify the dream of this nation and where we want to be in the next decade or two or the next 50 years. I am sure we all heard about the Vision 2020 vision, which was launched several years ago? How far have we come with it and how much is left of it. What is in for every Ghanaian and more importantly, are we still pursuing that vision.

As I sat by my television watching the President’s recent media interaction, I anxiously sat and waited for a question that was related to my area of work and one that interests me. The subject of telecommunications, technology and the digital revolution. I also wanted to hear a question on our plan for the improvement of Science and Math education in Ghana.

It is very easy for people to focus on the things that they find obvious and exciting and sensational perhaps. It is also very easy for people to miss the things that are driving countries into economic freedom because they do not see how this truly affects their lives.

So how should the vision or aspiration dream of this country be written and communicated for people to begin to live it. I am aware that the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) is preparing to develop a 40-year plan for the country. Does this constitute the vision of Ghana and can this plan, if developed constitute the Ghanaian dream?

On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” Speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

In this historic speech, King said he had a dream that white and black children would one day walk hand in hand and that one day sons of former slaves and sons of former slave-owners would be able to agree to live together.

I believe that at the time the speech was delivered many people did not see how realistic that was and how this was going to be achieved.

But it did happen not too long after the speech was delivered that his dream was realized. Following that he was presented with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

Martin Luther King was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement in America, and he had a drive to get more equal treatment for all Americans, not just white Americans.

This speech, delivered by Martin Luther King Jnr, did achieve a lot of outstanding successes. It brought greater attention to the Civil Rights Movement and also brought King’s message of non-violence to a nationwide and worldwide audience. It made the US Congress move faster in passing the Civil Rights Act. This set of laws was finally passed the next year in 1964.

If a single speech of “Having a dream about a free America” can cause drastic changes, can you imagine how the collective dream of a nation can drive change?

I am sure many Ghanaians have heard about the American dream and even without setting foot in the US many people can state it with confidence.

So my question again is what is the Ghanaian dream? If there is do you know it and are you living that dream?

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