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Opinions of Thursday, 28 June 2012

Columnist: Abilba, Frieda

What Does It Take To Be A Patriotic Ghanaian?

By Frieda Abilba, Tamale

A man's country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers, and woods, but it is a principle; and patriotism is loyalty to that principle. ~George William Curtis
I am a pharmacist by profession and work in Tamale in the Northern Regional capital of Ghana. Earlier this month, I was in a pharmaceutical shop and a Chinese walked in and asked to buy anti-malarial drugs. I quickly went and brought him an innovator brand and to my utter dismay, he asked for anti-malaria made in China. Few weeks later an Indian came to the facility and asked for an analgesic. He demanded for one made in India. A fellow countryman (Ghanaian) came few hours later and asked for anti-malarial drugs and I dispensed an innovator brand rather than one made in Ghana. He did not say anything. I saw nothing wrong with what I did until on my way home when I was asked by a junior high school student that, “what does it take to be patriotic?”
The question struck me and left me thinking. I told her, “to be patriotic means to love one’s nation and be ready to die for it.”
I added that, the Webster’s new world dictionary for young readers’ defined patriotism as showing “great love for one’s country and loyalty to it”.
Pondering on the meaning of the word “patriotic” left me with questions like; am I a patriotic Ghanaian and do my actions show patriotism to the manufacturing industries in Ghana? In what ways have we contributed to the growing manufacturing companies in the country? What in the curriculum of our educational structure teaches us as citizens of this nation to place Ghanaian made products first before any other country’s brand? Your guess is as good as mine.
Most of the Ghanaian population insist on using brands other than made in Ghana brands with the excuse that, made in Ghana brands are expensive. That may be true but does cost come first before loyalty? Certainly not! I think it is so because, we are not taught as a nation to be patriotic. I think all is not yet lost and that it’s about time we empowered the made in Ghana manufacturing industries, be it pharmaceutical related or not, to produce for consumption of the nation.
It can start from instilling patriotic habits and behaviour in the average Ghanaian. Also the national Friday wear concept could be revised to weekday wear.
Thumps up to the manufacturing industries in the country for the efforts they are putting up to help move Ghana forward. I believe some day to come Ghanaians will show their degree of patriotism by promoting made in Ghana goods, for if Ghanaians do not patronise made in Ghana goods who will?