I have been day dreaming lately about our dreams as a nation. We just celebrated 58 years since we became a republic. Being a republic is probably more meaningful than being independent.
In other words, being a republic is a completion of the independence process. By being independent, we took our destinies into our hands. We asserted the opportunity to chart our own path.
The pictures of those periods bear testimony. Ghana was bursting with energy. We started on the right footing. There was a lot of good will – at least internally.
The collective energy of Ghanaians was enough to power the turbines of the Akosombo dam. One could tell that we were willing to go the full haul to turn this nation into paradise.
We are the rising star of Africa. Our geographical size didn’t matter. Our big heart was all that mattered.
The songs of independence which we sang permeated and seeped through the colonial boundaries into prisons and labour camps all over the continent.
People from all over the world came here to be served in bowls of independence. In so doing, they desired same for themselves. That was Ghana. That was Kwame Nkrumah’s Ghana.
That was the Ghana the colonial and imperial institutions did not want to see alive. That was the Ghana that nearly united the continent under one leadership.
Ghana was supposed to revive the ancient Ghana known for its wealth and leadership during the ancient times.
But we had our own demons. With our rise as a nation came challenges. And for decades, we were wallowing under the weight of military dictatorship and authoritarianism.
The national good and interest was abandoned. Everyone was looking out for his narrow interest. It then became wise to be parochial. Being selfless was foolishness.
Leaders began to amass wealth for themselves. Private individuals were also amassing wealth for themselves at the expense of the state.
In the minds of many, it was time to rip off the state that had for long rip them of their resources.
We did not appreciate that the context was different. In sum, we lost our way. We lost focus. Or more aptly, our focus was stolen. And ever since we have struggled to find our feet.
Things never get better in this country. Someone told me. Our path is always towards the past. We sincerely wish we could find our way back to the past. The good old days we say.
The time when workers were well remunerated. The time when students at the various universities in the country were well fed at the expense of the state. The times when all you needed was a degree to secure a good job.
You can fill in the space with your nostalgic memories of the past.
But we must move on. We must move on to the point where we envision a better and beautiful life for ourselves. Let’s face it. There is nothing in the past for us but for the lessons of our forebears. That is the only thing we must yearn for today.
We must strive to create a sensible country for ourselves. And it all starts by perfecting the small things.
We must take care of the drainages that overflow predictably every rainy season. We must take care of the gutters that breed mosquitoes and attack the root causes of malaria.
Potable water must be accessible to all. There is no pride in seeing your fellow citizen sharing the same water source with cows or sheep.
We must build and equip our health facilities to the point where they become top notch. We must aim to make health and education accessible to all. We must aim to level up all of the geographical discrepancies that pertains in our country.
We must take science and technology very seriously. Our delight should not be in building luxury cars and equipment simply to prove a point to someone.
We must adapt and deploy technology in a way that is relevant and useful to our circumstances. Individuals must be able to afford the outcomes of technological innovations. Innovations must be bought into locally before they become global. There is no way to skip this test.
We must be an ambitious nation. We must be audacious. We must be aggressive. We must be desirous of creating a better nation for ourselves.
We must be hungry to see change in our part of the world. That is the kind of country we must build for ourselves.
Until we make that resolution and follow it through, we will never get to where we desire to be.
Nations with less resources than us have made it. So what is our excuse? Absolutely nothing. We do not have any excuse to justify our current state.