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Opinions of Monday, 23 January 2012

Columnist: Kwarkye, Nana Abena Afriyie

Let there be light, and there was light

By Nana Abena Afriyie Kwarkye

In the beginning of creation, God commanded light to appear and rule over darkness.

Growing up in the city, there is one thing that always sent shivers down my spine; darkness. Whenever there was a blackout, I will always pray for the lights to come back quickly. This always got me thinking if I can ever live in the village where there is no electricity.

Later in life, I got over the phobia associated with darkness. I’m so sure that when darkness and light are placed on a table, most people will embrace light. Exactly the choice I will also make.

Those who use post paid electricity facility will bear me witness that there is a deduction allocated to street lights. I always ask myself, where are the street lights? Maybe that levy is to provide street lights. If I may ask, how many of you have street lights in your area? I’m yet to see street lights in my area though.

In the year 2009, the toll booth levy was increased drastically. A commercial vehicle now pays GH¢ 1.00 and a private vehicle pays 0.50GP. Indeed most people who travel the motor way complained about the drastic increase since there were no street lights on the motorway even to compensate for the increase. Passengers thought the new levy was going to be passed on to them. For weeks, this dominated our air waves, then the matter was laid to rest. Everybody then accepted the increase.

On 25th of October 2011, my article (The Beginning of a Slum) was published on Ghanaweb on a slum that was springing up along the motor way. I did mention the absence of street lights on the motor way and the robbery or crime that goes on on the motor way due to the absence of light.

Two months later, I have seen some changes and I must say that I’m impressed. Street lights are being erected along the motor way. Driving through the motorway now especially at night will be less dangerous and relaxing. Unlike before when travelling the motorway at night always saw my heart jumping out of my chest due to the darkness.

As at now the work is almost half complete. I guess other people who ply the same route on a daily basis just like I used to, will be delighted when the job is one hundred percent complete.

The issue of poor maintenance culture should be put on the table for discussion. We spend so much money on infrastructure such as drains, roads, street lights and the like. When it comes to maintaining these structures, it is nothing to write home about.

In conclusion my humble plea is that these street lights should be maintained so that it does not break down totally and become white elephants. The ordinary Ghanaian is taxed for its replacement when infact it could have been maintained.