Ghana beyond words — The President’s Oxford speech

BY: Samuel Alesu-Dordzi
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

Let’s give it to the President. He made a lot of sense at the Oxford Africa Conference.

He discussed the challenges with Africa’s underdevelopment and also took the opportunity to elaborate on his “Ghana beyond Aid” agenda.

To be frank, I was won over. He was spot on. Africa has everything it needs. It has water resources. It has the human resources and a youthful one at that. It has the minerals and just about all the precious metals that one can think of.

He rightly underscored the reality that there is nothing to show for all the wealth and resources that we have been blessed with. He talked of the need for the continent to resurrect from its ashes and reassert itself on the global arena.

The bottom line is simple. If you are wealthy, you will be respected. If you are poor, your wisdom will be scorned. There is no complication to this.

But we have heard all these before. Fine speeches are good. It is very important to know that the President is thinking in the right direction. The applause and standing ovations that accompanied the President’s speech was nice. It was well deserved. But the most important question that we have to ask ourselves is – to what avail?

You see, we have had centuries of speeches. Fine speeches at that – speeches of the future and how things are supposed to be. Speeches spelling out the problems that we are confronted with. But there is one thing missing. Action.

Action. Action. Action. By action, I mean the strength and resolve to do the things that we said we will do. By action, I mean taking the bull by the horn, staring at our problems, no matter how ugly they may look in the face, and doing something about it. That is the missing link in our developmental equation.

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Possibly, there is something inherent in a democracy that weakens a leader’s resolve. I am just saying. May be, the constitutional structures that we operate has a way of putting a spanner in the works of the government.

Just may be, it is more difficult to drive change in a space where government officials go back to the ruled every four years for the renewal of their mandate.

May be, it is just the leaders we have had who are not determined enough to push through the changes we need.

But let’s face it. We are a limping nation. Always taking baby steps. No giant steps. After all these years of independence, we still grapple with some of the basic issues of life like what to eat and drink. Unfortunately, until we leap over this particular point, we cannot aspire to become the nation that we were meant to be.

Often, ministers who have been appointed to deal with the problems facing the nation can be seen and heard giving all the reasons why something is not working. It is great that they appreciate what the problems are.

Prior to elections, it is fine to have an understanding of the issues. But to be heard explaining what the problem is all the time without taking steps to resolve and deal with them is nauseating to say the least.

Ghana can’t wait. The generations yet unborn can’t wait. They cannot start out at the level at which we are starting. We must do something better for them. We may lay a better foundation for the future of this nation. It is possible to create a generation that does not know what polio or malaria or cholera is.

It is possible to create a nation where everyone has access to quality education – irrespective of the social, economic and political background of the person. It is highly possible to build a nation where industries are springing up on the daily basis and people are deploying their creative instincts to turn around the fortune of this nation.

That is not beyond us. We have seen enough of short-sighted politicians and politics. We have seen a lot of wicked and evil men and women fill up public office only to enrich themselves at the expense of the citizenry. We have seen so many instances where the people educated with government funds and scholarships have turned around only to steal from the nation. We have a very big problem.

It is hard to disagree with the President with all that he said. He was excellent in his understanding and appreciation of the matters that confronts us. But I urge on the president to include in his “Ghana Beyond Aid” agenda, “Ghana Beyond Words” as well.

The President means well. He deserves the respect and support of all Ghanaians. We need to turn the fortunes of this nation around. This is the only place we can call home. We need to create a nation where we can all share the benefits of the peace and prosperity that we enjoy.

To that extent, we must see more progressive steps in our steps towards the nation that we desire to be.

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