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Opinions of Sunday, 10 May 2015

Columnist: Ghana Politico

Nigeria has been experiencing 'dumsor' for over forty years yet ...

... it has smart business tycoons and artistes

Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy with the largest population in Africa, and Africa’s largest oil producing country has been plagued with energy and power problems for over forty (40) years, yet that country has the smartest business tycoons and artistes in the movie and arts industry in Africa.
Ghana, the first sub-Sahara African country to gain independence, and so called gateway to Africa has been experiencing energy and power crisis not as serious as what Nigeria has gone through yet Ghana has got just a handful of business tycoons and less impressive artistes.
Look at how Nigerian businesses are flourishing both in and outside Nigeria. Nigerian banks and businesses are all over Ghana. How many Ghanaian banks and businesses are in Nigeria?
When Nigeria discovered oil and their economy was booming, many Ghanaians moved to that country and most of them did menial and odd jobs. Now Ghana has just discovered oil and our economy is not booming but the Nigerians are here in their numbers, not doing menial and odd jobs. Why because they are smarter than us. They are into big businesses.
When it comes to Nigerian movies, Ghanaian movies are nowhere near their standard. Ghanaian artistes have to collaborate with their Nigerian counterparts before they could be recognized as celebrities. Why, because solely Ghanaian produced movies are boring and below standard. You can watch a Nigerian movie and you wish it would never end, but when try to watch any Ghanaian movie, especially those ones in English, you will end up sleeping in your couch only to wake up and realize that your TV monitor is rather watching you. Nigerian actors and actresses act naturally and you really appreciate the way they portray their tradition and culture, but if you watch Ghana movie, it is full of artificial acting.
In the midst of serious energy and power challenges in Nigeria for a long time, Nigerian actors and actresses are making it big and are financially better than our actors and actresses.
As for Ghanaian comedians who perform in the English language, the least we talked about them the better. They can only perform in Accra, not even in Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi, Tamale, and any other city in Ghana let alone go beyond the shores of Ghana. Nigerian comedians come to Ghana to perform excellently and take our money away while some of our comedians act like class one pupils learning how to tell jokes. They are not funny. So people do not patronize their performances. Ghanaian comedians are boring. Why wouldn’t Nigerian comedians come to Ghana and take the big money away?
Even in the midst of gargantuan ‘dumsor’ in Nigeria, they are not complaining that the situation has led to the dwindling of their business.
Look at how contemporary Nigerian musicians are making it big as compared to our less fancied contemporary Ghanaian musicians, yet Nigerian musicians are experiencing worst electricity problem in their country than what we are experiencing here in Ghana.
The authority in charge of distributing power to Nigeria is called Nigeria Energy and Power Authority (NEPA) but Nigerians have unofficially renamed it Never Expect Power Always (NEPA). Yes, Nigerians do not expect power always and in spite of that country’s huge deposit of oil, they still queue for petroleum products.
In the midst of serious erratic power in Nigeria, the richest and well-to-do Africans are from Nigeria.
Go to Lagos and any major town in Nigeria, the sound of electric generators can be heard everywhere. Restaurants, drinking bars, retail shops, small scale industries and big businesses depend mostly on electric generators to run their businesses. Yet their businesses are flourishing.
Smart Nigerian pastors are making big business in the vineyard of the Lord in their country, in the midst of poor electricity generation in Nigeria. They are not complaining that Never Expect Power Always (NEPA) has led to the dwindling of church offerings, and tithes in Nigeria. Nigerian churches are flourishing in Ghana and their pastors are capitalizing on the stupidity of some Ghanaians who are foolishly doling their money to these Nigerian pastors, while Ghanaian pastors sheepishly complain that church offerings and tithes are dwindling because of ‘dumsor’.
Whether we like it or not, ‘dumsor’ is going to be with us for a long time. ‘Dumsor’ was with Ghana when President John Mahama was a school boy, but not at the level we are experiencing now. ‘Dumsor’ was with Ghana when the National Liberation Council was in power, but not at the level we are experiencing now. ‘Dumsor’ was with Ghana, when ex-President John Kufour was the Deputy Minister in Dr. Busia’s government, but not at the level we are experiencing now. ‘Dumsor’ was with Ghana when the National Redemption Council (NRC), Supreme Military Council (SMC), and Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) governments were in power, but not at the level we are experiencing now. ‘Dumsor’ was with Ghana when Dr. Liman’s was at the helm of affairs in this country, but not at level we are experiencing now. ‘Dumsor’ was with Ghana when the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) government was in power, but not at the level we are experiencing now. ‘Dumsor was with Ghana and started getting bad when National Democratic Congress (NDC) government under ex-President Efo Kojovi Rawlings was in power. ‘Dumsor’ started getting worse when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) was governing this country and started getting worst under the second NDC government led by late President Mills and even precarious under President John Mahama.
So under all these conditions that Ghana has been experiencing ‘dusmor’ what did those past governments do to solve the problem over all these years? Apart from ex-President Efo Kojovi Rawlings who added the Aboadze Thermal plant to the Akosombo Dam that Dr. Kwame Nkrumah constructed, what did the others do? NPP under ex-President Kufour attempted to revive Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s dream Bui Dam project but NPP lost the 2008 elections and the current government is continuing with the project.
Ghana’s power problem can be likened to a person who a small sore on any part of his or her body. If that person does not doing anything to treat the sore, it eventually becomes an untreatable sore. This is the kind of problem Ghana is facing now. Our past governments did virtually nothing to solve the electricity problem when it started at the initial stage, and now poor Mahama who was a school boy when the problem started is now carrying the big load to the extent that people who under normal circumstances could not even look at him straight in the eyes and say, “Good morning, Mr. Mahama”, are now saying bad things against him. People whose governments could not even add a single megawatt to power generation in Ghana have now found a big hammer to nail President Mahama in the coffin. Oh, Mahama, you have suffered, and you are still suffering, but you too stop giving promises and timelines. The problem is bigger than you. Just keep quiet and concentrate on finding ways of partially solving the problem, because you can never totally solve the ‘dumsor’ problem. Don’t give room for people who do not deserve to even polish your shoes to be using your face as a doormat. It is as if the whole problem started during President Mahama’s presidency. Nobody is happy at the situation Ghana finds herself now in respect of the low generation of power, because it is making life unbearable to the population, but to describe the president as “last bowee” school kid, visionless, uncaring, etc is not acceptable. It is as if the President is folding his arms in a lazy chair after enjoying his favourite tuo zaafi with tunkusa soup and a calabash full of pito and does not care about the problem we are facing.
Why is that Ghana’s neighbours who have been depending on Ghana for the supply of electricity for a long time still continue to depend on us for power, even in the midst of ‘dumsor’? Are their past and current leaders not smart enough to work hard to get their own source of power generation? This means the problem is a sub-regional one.
Everybody in Ghana knows that the ‘dumsor’ is hampering development in the country. We all know that the government is doing everything possible to solve the situation. Do we need countless and unnecessary demonstrations and ‘dumsor’ vigil nights to solve the problem. No amount of demonstrations and vigil nights will bring to Ghana the needed solution to this problem. As long as the government is doing anything possible within its limited power to find a solution, no whining can work any magic to solve the problem.
Ghana Politico would like to use this opportunity to ask Ghanaians some questions.
Can ex-President Rawlings tell Ghanaians how his wife Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings got money to buy lion shares in Ghana Rubber Estates (GREL), the defunct Nsawam Cannery and other big businesses in Ghana? Did her late father, Mr. J.O.T. Agyemang, leave her such gargantuan money for her to be so rich to purchase such businesses? Until Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings tells Ghanaians how she came by the money, she should please shut up and stop talking about corruption in Ghana. During her iron lady days as the dictatorship first lady, people were tortured, shot and killed for having just 50 Cedis in their bank accounts, and successful business persons’ businesses were confiscated by her husband’s junta government. Look at how that woman is now swimming in dough. Her children and children’s children as well as her descendants will never see poverty in their lifetime. Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings must be very careful because one day, one day, monkey will go to town and will never return. Listen to who is talking about corruption in Ghana, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings. Ah! Tweaaa!
Did ex-President Kufour say that Ghana’s Electoral Commission must learn from the Nigerian Independent Electoral Commission? Oh, President Kufour when the Electoral Commission of Ghana declared you the winner in December 2000 and December 2004, you did not call the EC to learn from its counterpart in Nigeria. Can you tell the whole world how many electoral reforms did your NPP government undertake during your eight years in power? Hypocrisy will kill us in Ghana.
Did ex-President Rawlings say he did not campaign for President Mahama, and also he did not vote for him in 2012? Ah! Efo Kojovi Rawlings, President Mahama won the 2012 election convincingly at the polling stations and even at the Supreme Court. He did not need your campaign and your vote. Just help your wife, Nana Konadu, the money-swine woman to resuscitate her dead National Democratic Party (NDP) to contest the 2016 elections so that Ghanaians will see her smoothness level. By the way, the 2016 general elections are fast approaching. Will Nana Akuffo Addo pay a royal visit to Ex-President Efo Kojovi Rawlings just like he did in 2012?
Can Occupy Ghana ask leaders of Franklin Cudjoe’s IMANI Ghana how they disbursed all the monies the begged from financial institutions and other organizations for the celebration of their tenth anniversary? According to Franklin Cudjoe when IMANI went about begging for money for the Policy Think Tank’s ten years anniversary, the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) alone gave them 20,000 Ghana New Cedis (200 million Ghana Old Cedis) with other institutions donating more money. Eh, Ghana, we are not serious as a country. We allow these sycophants who call themselves Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to be disturbing our ears about corruption in Ghana while they are the worst culprits. Franklin Cudjoe who also a member of Occupy Ghana must tell Ghanaians how he and his cohorts used all the monies they collected from ADB and other institutions for their ten years anniversary. Can he tell us how he gets money to run IMANI Ghana? Can he tell us how much he puts into his personal financial accounts in Ghana and abroad? Professor Kwesi Yankah, did you hear that? ADB alone gave IMANI Ghana 20,000 Ghana ‘baladwoa’. By the way, Professor Kwesi Yankah, be honest with yourself and God, did you receive any ‘fat envelope’ when you were at the University of Ghana from anyone to facilitate his or admission? Please, this is just a question ooooo.
A Deputy General Secretary of the opposition NPP has dismissed suggestions that the party is confused, divided and just not ready to govern given the internal wranglings. Nana Obiri-Yeboah told Joy News “we are more united than Manchester United”, promising that a return to power in 2016 is inevitable. Hmm, there is an adage that says, “If your child is dead and you claim he is asleep, who will cry?” Another one says, “If your mother has not returned from the farm and you say she has returned and that she is in the kitchen cooking, who is going to be hungry?”
Lastly, is the government contemplating to make students in state tertiary institutions pay for utility services? Ghana Politico thinks this is in the right direction, however, can the government also request that officers of the security services and government employees who have been enjoying utility services in the barracks and government bungalows free of charge for a long time to also pay utility bills? A visit to the military, police and other security services barracks would shock a first time visitor to see the kind of electrical gadgets these officers and their families are using, as well as the amount of water they use. Most of them are running big businesses in the barracks using free electricity and water. The problems facing Ghana can be solved if we all contribute our quota. Ghana Politico would like to suggest that all military, police and other security services personnel as well as government employees who do not pay utility bills must be made to pay just 0.5 percent of the salary every month to defray the huge cost of electricity and water they use at their various barracks and bungalows. They are part of the problem to the financial woes of utility providing companies in the country. So they must also be part of the solution.
By the way, do Ghanaian lawyers in private practice pay taxes to the government? Please, Ghana Revenue Authority, investigate this matter.
Ghana Politico wishes to express its condolences to the staff and management of Peace FM as well as the family of the late Kwasi Brenya for such a big loss. May the Good Lord grant him a place in His abode.