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Opinions of Friday, 16 October 2015

Columnist: Samuel Alesu-Dordzi

Politics of inspiration needed

We find ourselves in an epoch where incredulity and cynicism seem to be a more viable option than belief.

Times have changed and the cynics have won the day. The uncovering of the improper conduct of judges by Anas Aremeyaw Anas has brought into sharp focus the issue of whether or not there are any role models that the young can look up to in all that they do.

Lawyers, judges and judicial officers have always been held in high esteem. I had a friend back in senior high school who once told me that he was named after a judge - Justice Archer.

He always reiterated the fact that his father’s hope was that one day he would become a justice of the standing of Justice Archer and make a difference, if not in the whole of society, at least in his own circles. And my friend is not the exception.

There are so many people who are named after great men and women, political leaders and statesmen and individuals who have made their mark in business, industry, the military, space exploration and so on.

There are individuals called Obama, Reagan, Jerry John [supposedly after Jerry John Rawlings], and Kwame Nkrumah and so on.

The thrusting of a name on a child means more than a way of identifying the child. It is Representative of the sense of confidence that those who choose the names have or had in the original bearer of the name. It means, “We believe that you have lived a worthy life and we would like to extend your influence and good works through a newborn.”

It is both a question of inspiration and aspiration. It is a matter of inspiration because of the positive energy and imageries associated with a particular name. It is a matter of aspiration as most children are urged to become greater or better than the original bearer of the names.

Make no mistake. There are and will also be men and women of integrity; men and women who strive to make a difference and pursue excellence in a variety of ways. There will be those who would never bend the rules for quick gains or any form of self-enrichment; men and women who the love of money cannot buy.

But it seems as though these category of persons are rarely found in the public space to be precise in active, partisan, Frontline politics. They are usually found in the background and they are the ones that are invited to speak on radio and television after great havoc has been caused to the nation.

Or probably, whatever integrity they have garnered over the years is simply due to their obscurity in the public space - it is hard to tell.
The front liners who for all intents and purposes may be considered as hardworking, decent and intelligent have done little to inspire confidence in the next generation.

It is a tragedy that all these years after the death of Nkrumah; we speak and consider him in romantic terms; so much so that the usual line of comment is to the effect that “Ghana has had no great leader other than Nkrumah.” This is in itself is very debatable but it reveals the level of depravity that characterises our politics.

We spend so much time holding government accountable for the deliverables - which are in the nature of roads, transportation, agricultural implements, School buildings, bridges and so. We believe that governance is about the mere distribution of resources. There are some who say that all a leader has to do is to deliver economic prosperity and we would all be content.

But these same people would not think highly of parents who are successful only at splashing money on their children but are never available for them when it matters the most.

We must never lose sight of the fact that governance is about leadership and leadership entails the channelling of the collective spirit of the citizenry towards the attainment of set goals. It is that single factor that makes it possible for nations to be galvanised in time of extreme need and want.

If people were randomly asked who their role models were, it would not be surprising to discover that there would be very few Ghanaians making the list- with the majority being foreigners.

And it is exactly because what they see at home is not attractive and thus the reason to look outside for inspiration and direction.

No matter how low we have sunk in our quest to be a prosperous nation, it is still possible to turn a curve and put in the much-needed effort to turn the fortunes of the nation around. And I am glad to say that you have a role to play in this!