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Opinions of Monday, 9 October 2017

Columnist: Richard Ahiagbah

Leadership in the face of the gas station explosion

The tragic explosion at the Atomic Junction gas station near Legon, killed according to reports, at least seven people and injured several others.

The resulting loss is undoubtedly national, but our heart goes out to the families who have had to deal directly with the pain of the explosion mainly because we know that such explosions are preventable.

As one who works in the oil and gas industry, and has experienced the prioritization of environmental health and safety, it is difficult to digest our passive outlook on the safety of Ghanaians.

There is more we can do to prevent these occurrences, starting with the strict enforcement of existing rules and regulations. Indeed, there are some intuitive steps we can take to protect lives and property, but what is missing is the will and leadership to do so.

I find our president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo’s posture in the wake of the explosion as the right stance needed to prevent or minimize the frequency of these incidents. In his words, the president notes, “it is time these incidents came to a stop in Ghana.”

That is exactly right. The president goes on to say, “we are going to have to come out with a clear policy on how to prevent such incidents.”

The president is right. For, the preventive costs, regulatory compliance burden and the convenience of cutting corners pale in comparison to the health and safety of Ghanaians.

Therefore, in the spirit of the Tibetan adage, and in the memory of the lives lost, let’s all support our president, to utilize this grave tragedy as a source of strength and motivation to invest in practical measures to prevent the reoccurrence of these tragic incidents in our country.