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Opinions of Thursday, 26 January 2017

Columnist: Abraham Gyekye

The Trump era and the Ghanaian dream

President Akufo-Addo and President Trump President Akufo-Addo and President Trump

After over seven decades of American hegemony which begun from the aftermath of World War II, the pendulum of world leadership seem to be swinging, and a new world order appears to be in the making. A wind of change is blowing around Europe and America, with evidences from Brexit and actions of the newly inaugurated President of United States.

There is a huge clamour for protectionism and abandonment of globalization. The powerful countries upon whom the least countries depended over the years seem to have lost the battle of globalization to a certain ‘Asian Power’, hence a call for retreat and surrender. There are calls for countries to reduce the intake of immigrants in order to focus on their own citizens, in addition to the reduction in aids and grants given to poor countries.

In the midst of this uncertainty surrounding the future of our world, the question many people are asking is “where lies the fate of Africa?” Well, the answer to this puzzle is simple, the fate of Africa lies in the hands of Africans.

After years of the fight for freedom from slavery and subsequent liberation from colonisation, Africans have not done enough to match the words of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah “the black man is capable of managing his own affairs”.

Most Africans appear to still embrace the order that existed during those dark days, owing to lack of self-belief and poor leadership. We seem to have come to some bizarre consensus not to allow the White Man to buy us into slavery anymore but rather, we offer ourselves free of charge into the slavery. What is even heartbreaking is the dollars we pay annually to their embassies in order to offer ourselves into this slavery again, and the number of people who die in the Mediterranean Sea and on the Sahara desert on the same mission.

Unfortunately, the White Man now says he doesn’t need us anymore, they want to concentrate on their own. It gives indications of difficult days ahead of us, due to the threat of deportation of illegal immigrants by the current US administration and other European countries. However, I believe this is not a time of sorrow and sobbing, but an opportune time to be the people God intended us to be. In this piece, I will focus on my country, Ghana and not Africa as a whole, and talk about how we can face this wind that is blowing towards us.

To my fellow Ghanaians, my humble plea is that it is time to learn how to love our country and not how to leave our country, for every country develops with its own dedicated and patriotic citizens. Our old thinking that the only way one can make a fortune is to travel abroad must be revised. This notion has cost our dear country most of her geniuses. The number of brilliant young Ghanaians who leave the country in the name of going to study abroad but do not return is countless, not to mention the incalculable numbers who leave to seek greener pastures. We say America is a land of opportunities, yes it is true, but those opportunities did not descend from heaven but were created by the people themselves.

The sad thing is that some shallow-minded ‘men of God’ have capitalised on the mindset of our people and are using it to extort money from them in the name of praying for them to get Visas. ‘Wo be ko abrokyire’ (you will travel abroad) has become a common prophecy than 'you will go to Heaven'. Some have even made the acquisition of visas their calling -- God has called them to give visas to people. The irony of the matter is that the Bible which these people hold in their hands tells us that, God created us in his own image.

Therefore, God being the Creator, we (products of His image) also have the potential to be creators of even greater things no matter where we find ourselves; if only we believe in ourselves. As the Lord Jesus said in Mark 9:23 “everything is possible for those who believe”.

So now that populist ideologies are rising around the world, with the advanced countries retreating to look within to solve their own problems, it is time for the Ghanaian to wake up from his/her old dream. The ‘dream of manna falling from Heaven’, and begin to look for their thinking cups. Our fate is in our own hands not in the hands of any other country.

President Akufo-Addo in his inaugural address said: “it is time to dream again”. Yes, he is right, but not the old dream. It is time to have a new dream, ‘the Ghanaian dream’. A dream in which every Ghanaian will feel proud to stay home and contribute their quota towards building our country.

A dream in which we will no longer be consumers of everything but producers of nothing. A dream in which every Ghanaian will consider Made-in-Ghana product as the first option, and help create employment for ourselves rather than promote products from other countries and make them rich at the expense of our own people.

A dream in which we will appreciate every good thing done by a fellow Ghanaian and not be saboteurs. A dream in which the Ghanaian child will be taught how to think deep and critically to promote innovation. It is time to believe in ourselves. It is time to nurture talents. It is time to make God proud, that we have begun to appreciate the great gifts he gave us and that we do not necessarily have to become slaves to other countries before we can be who He wants us to be.

When we are able to do this, a threat of dealing harshly with immigrants by some countries will not be our headache anymore.