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Opinions of Thursday, 23 November 2017

Columnist: Eric Bawah

Reeling, ranting over budget of hope

Eric BawaEric Bawa

“Great minds have purposes, others have wishes” – Washington Irvine

The President and his Veep are workaholics and so are his ministers. If you like to work hard, you will attract people with the same ethic. You have to enjoy daily challenges.

People who work hard ask the following questions: How do we accomplish more? How do we get to where we want to go? It is a combination of vision, courage and above all, discipline to realize that the possibilities are always there. But if you are thinking too small, you might miss them.

That is why people must begin to think big. I have extreme confidence in the President and his team. Prescient is a word that defines vision, foresight, creative discernment, or perception. Our president is a visionary leader who will surely carry us to the Eldorado. Men are born to succeed, not to fail and the president knows that pretty well.

There are leaders like former president Mahama who spent all his time focusing on problems bedeviling the country instead of focusing on opportunities available. That was why he failed woefully.

You can’t prove your merit on quiet waters. You need to focus on your goals, not your problems. Yes, indeed, you don’t toss your problems and don’t dwell on them either

Even before Mr. Ken Ofori Attah went to parliament to read this year’s budget, the Minority in parliament called a press conference to tell Ghanaians that the nation will go HIPC and that if care is not taken, the 1983 famine that nearly brought the country on her knees will visit Ghana again.

How funny! Thirty four years ago when this calamity befell Ghana, the likes of Sunhyini, Okudjeto Ablakwa, Sam George and the other young MPs in the Minority were born too late to experience the gravity of the famine but there they were at the press conference, giggling as if they have seen the balls of their in-laws. Any Ghanaian who will wish the 1983 famine happens again in this country has madness in his or her stomach.

In 1983, this country was under a military regime because Flt. Lt. J.J Rawlings had launched a mutiny which overthrew the government of Dr. Hilla Limann who was in power for barely two years.

I do not want to recount what happened to the good people of this country because it will be like reminding an orphan who lost his parents through a ghastly road accident. The revolution was simply bloody. Heads did roll and blood flowed. But the long and short of it all was that two years into the regime of the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC), the weather in Ghana started changing.

Hot wind started blowing in Ghana and the earth went dry and patchy. The rains refused to come for more than two years and grasses went dry. Then bush fire set in, burning everything on its way. Cocoa farms and other food crops went up in flames and the country experienced acute food storages.

Sometimes people go to bed without food for some days and people began to grow lean. You could easily identify how lean the person has grown by the prominence of his or her collarbone.

We used to call that “Rawlings’ Chain”. Children became scavengers, scratching the refuse dumps for crunches to eat. At a point in time, Ghana had to appeal to the US for yellow corn.

The type of corn which was meant for the poultry in the US was brought in to be used for Ga kenkey. Because Ghanaians were not used to eating that type of corn, people had running stomachs and diarrhea. You woke up in the morning and the first thing you do is to look at the sky to check whether clouds are gathering for rains to come but heaven refused to open the sky for the rains to come.

Farmers refused to cultivate their lands because it was not worth it. After all, the rains will not come. What compounded the problem was that as we were struggling to uncoil ourselves from the grip of the famine, Nigeria deported thousands of Ghanaians back home.

Many children died through that unfortunate famine. And you sit in Accra wishing that such a famine will befall Ghana because you lost an election due to your own greed and thievery? That is total madness!

Recently the president launched the ‘One District One Warehouse’ at Ejura in the Ashanti Region and he has reasons to do so. If the Planting for Food and Jobs programme comes into reality as it should, excess grains would be stored for the rainy day.

In my holy district, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has received more than eight hundred thousand bags of fertilizers to be distributed to farmers. A bag of subsidized fertilizer costs fifty Ghana Cedis, half the price sold at the open market and even then the farmer is required to pay only two hundred and fifty Ghana Cedis and pay the rest after cultivating and selling his or her crop.

You people can sit in Accra and tickle yourselves, who cares about daydreamers? In one year’s time, food would be in abundance and those doomsday alarmists will see their smoothness level.

As for me, I am watching what the government is doing but I do not listen to what the jealous opposition witches and wizards are saying because I have known people who could be starring at an open door and not realizing it is opened, let alone its significance.

President Nana Akufo Addo knows the significance of an open door. You only follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there used to be walls. (Me and my poetic rhymes!).

What I am expecting the Minister in charge of fisheries to do is to travel down memory lane and see what happened in Ghana between 1973 and 1974. Immediately General Kutu Acheampong took over power in 1972, fisher folks along the coastal areas begun experiencing bumper harvest of fish, especially herrings. Between 1973 and 1974, our fisher folks could not contain the bumper harvest and so some of them had to sail back to sea to jettison their catch because we had no cold stores to keep the fishes.

Fishmongers became so tired of drying fish and decided to abandon fishes they bought at the beaches. In those days, we were not importing fish from abroad and yet we had enough fish for home consumption. If the minister puts things right and makes premix fuel available to the fishermen at highly subsidized prices and cheap outboard motors,

I have no doubt that what happened between 1973 to 1974 could be repeated. In fact, if the minister musters the courage and drives away these Korean and Chinese pair-trawlers from our territorial waters, we will no more import fish from Norway where some of the imported fishes were kept in cold store for more than ‘two decades’ before they were brought to Africa to sell.

If we set our priorities right, stop buying V8 luxurious cars and unnecessary foreign travels and decide to pump more money into the Ministry of Fisheries, things can be turned around.

We don’t have to listen to the NDC because since they lost the 2016 general election miserably, they have been acting like wounded lions. They bark, they yell, they shout and they kick like mad cows from Bole. Nearly one year after losing the election, they have not come into terms with reality. The reality is that Ghanaians rejected them because of the way they mismanaged the economy and brought hardship to the good people of this country.

They have deliberately decided not to see anything good about the Nana Addo-led administration. Happily Ghanaians who are in the majority can read between the lines. What the president and his team should do is to refuse to fight the current. They should rather let the current have their way with them.

The president should not question these losers because he has trained himself and prepared over the years for this moment and he should not allow himself to be distracted.

In the run-up to the 2016 general election, Nana Akufo Addo was insulted, ridiculed and taken to the cleaners by men and women of straw and yet he stayed cool as he went around campaigning. The President should remember that when you get to the top, another wave will pound you again and this is exactly what the desperate NDC losers are doing.

They are simply vexation to the spirit. Are you aware cigar makes old men stronger? Try one stick of Havana a day and see.