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Opinions of Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Columnist: Aka-eri, Francis Aka-ebila

Who To Blame When Things Go Wrong In Ghana

Blame is not just part of our daily vocabulary; it is also a daily norm we usually apportion when it happens. In Ghana, however sometimes the finger pointing goes around so long that our media spends precious time and resources digging out dirt – instead of resorting to something more positive and worthwhile.

In the real world, real progress favours those who accept responsibility and quickly learn from their mistakes. But if no one is humble enough to readily accept blame and take responsibility for what went wrong, then the issue of blame becomes a time consuming vicious cycle, which goes around until everyone including the spectator becomes part and parcel of the problem.

In fact, when things go wrong and tempers rage, sometimes the root cause does not seem to lie within the bracket of an individual omission or commission, but as a result of a multitude of interlinked issues emanating from sheer human error. And if indeed, two wrongs would not make a right, why then do we reverently live out such an unrewarding ritual of passing on blame to the next person? Frankly, it is like beating a dead horse that takes us nowhere.

For instance, when electricity goes out in our neighbourhood for the first time – we give our government the benefit of the doubt. When it happens the second time - we quickly take a swipe at them. When it happens again, then all hell breaks loose and we shower them with even more insults, but never try to find our own innovative way to solve the problem and free ourselves from such an inconvenient situation. In fact, even as individuals, we miserably fail to conserve energy. Yet, when confronted with power failure, we blame the government for it.

In our car parks and many public places, we litter everywhere, all the time. In our homes and work places, we even damp sewage and refuse into our drainage systems – polluting our environment and water systems. And when it torrentially rains, these choked drains bust and over flow their banks - only to flood our homes and businesses, simply because we behaved irresponsibly. What is worse, to bring flood victims some relief and put them back on their feet, our government spends its meager earnings on recovery – instead of fixing our broken infrastructure and creating jobs.

Under the scourging heat and glare of the African sun, our hardworking young men are profusely sweating by pushing heavy loaded hand trucks, which could have easily been equipped with solar powered engines to make their work much easier and faster. Mothers still carry their babies on their backs and farmers turn over their lands by way of manual hoes and cutlasses. Yet, our engineers colourfully graduate each year - without jobs in Ghana.

In fact, a few years ago I tried searching for my former school on the web. Upon typing in Damongo Secondary School, what came up was not pleasant. It was not because my school had no website, but rather that the school's toilet facility had broken down and turned the vicinity into a stench bomb. What is worse, this school's authorities with all their smartness - were waiting on end for the Ghana Education Service to fund the project.

Frankly, I felt like reaping my chest apart, because I know that there are countless students and individuals within West Gonja District - who received brick and mortar laying education from our technical schools to work on such projects – where were they? Instead, this school's officials were waiting on end for funds, while students were paying a risky price - trying to cope in such a hellish suffocating environment. Earnestly, ever since I read this story, my trust in our educators began to diminish, even as my former school now appears much of a den of stupidity, than the true center of academic excellence it was built to be.

The greatness of every nation depends on its people of which China is a clear example for Ghana. If Ghana must grow, then Ghanaians must act innovatively. For instance, in this global village one does not need to know everything about how to make a car in order to make one. What you need is a simple understanding of how to pawns on a glowing opportunity and merging your resources and talents together to achieve your intended goal.

To this end, our financial institutions, angel investors, friends and families, aught to also learn how to seek and sponsor innovative Ghanaian minds for the greater good. For this is the only fast lane to create wealth for our beloved country and ourselves. Then as we steadfastly commercialize our innovations across the continent of Africa, we would begin to see how easy it is to create wealth, while making Ghana a leading global player.

So the next time you see a problem in Ghana; do not blame the government, rather blame yourself and claim responsibility as a citizen for not doing enough to help your country. In addition, as you search for innovative solutions to our problems of everyday living, remember to ask questions and gather as much vital data as possible to help you succeed. For the greatness of Mother Ghana, depends on you.

Written by: Francis Aka-ebila Aka-eri