Need for a campaign, and a role for the NCCE

BY: Ajoa Yeboah Afari
Chairman of the NCCE, Ms Josephine Nkrumah
Chairman of the NCCE, Ms Josephine Nkrumah

Doubtless many people are still in shock over the ferocious attack last month of the Asiakwa teacher, George Somuah Bosompem, allegedly by a group of youths, which led to his death.

And recently, a series of reports by Citi TV’s CitiNewsroom, on the condition of some of the offices of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) clearly amounted to a serious indictment of successive governments about how the Commission has been neglected.

One may ask, is there a link between the two happenings cited above?

I think so. My view is that the first illustrates antisocial attitudes and impunity in the country, which call for urgent resolution; and the second serves as a reminder that the NCCE could provide that intervention.  

Think about fellow Ghanaians, including chiefs and opinion leaders, allegedly assisting foreigners, notably the Chinese, to illegally mine our gold and poisoning the only source of drinking water of communities.

There is total disregard for the potable water needs of the inhabitants, their welfare, now and in the future.

Think about fellow Ghanaians turning a blind eye to, or helping foreigners to brazenly engage in the illegal harvesting and export of rosewood.

Think about fellow Ghanaians employed by the National Identification Authority to register nationals for the Ghana Card, reportedly accepting ‘something’ and attempting to register foreigners as Ghanaians.   

These are only a few examples.

Why does it seem that our sense of nationalism and propriety is fast evaporating?

Also, add to these the growing loss of respect for elders and of civility; the indiscipline.

Isn’t it time to begin a national campaign to restore what is being lost?

And which organisation is better suited for this critical task than the NCCE? After all, it is the body established by the national Constitution to, among other things, “inculcate in the Ghanaian citizenry, their rights and obligations through civic education”?   

As a people we even appear to be losing our cultural underpinnings. As indicated above, the Ghanaian traditional civility is fast vanishing.

‘Please’, ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘thank you’ are now missing from the vocabulary of many people, including service providers.

Furthermore, concerning the disregard for ‘thank you’, it appears the worst offenders are the highly educated and the highly-placed.  

The questions many are asking are: ‘What is happening to our society?’ and ‘How did we get to this point?’

What has happened to parenting that these days the common complaints are “these days there is too much indiscipline” and, “children of today have no respect for elders or for authority”?

I think that these are questions that parents and families bringing up children in this internet and smart phones age, when youngsters eat and sleep with their WhatsApp applications, should be seeking answers to.
Maybe inadequate home training is at the root of the indiscipline.
We needed a wake-up call and the tragic case of Mr Bosompem, hopefully, should serve that purpose.
Not only do we seem to be losing our moral compass, knowing right from wrong, at present a sense of entitlement seems to dictate behaviour everywhere.

One can hardly turn on one’s radio or TV without hearing the myriad expectations of what the Government must do; ultimatums to the long-suffering Government, “or we won’t vote in the next elections”!  
What is the way out of this situation? Who or what state agency should lead the nation in the needed offensive against the indiscipline, disrespect and vanishing good customs and civility?

As indicated above, I see a lead role for the National Commission for Civic Education.

Yet, despite its assigned responsibility and the high expectations of the NCCE, the indications are that it is not being adequately supported to do its work effectively.

The NCCE has never made it a secret that they need funding and support.

 Chairperson Ms Josephine Nkrumah has spoken about their problems often enough.

However, what the Citi TV reports showed was far worse than what some of us had imagined.

Viewers saw, among other shocking revelations, NCCE offices in ramshackle buildings, obviously ill-equipped for its assignment.

For example, the NCCE Asutifi North District Office, at Kenyasi, has no electricity because the structure is too dilapidated to be supplied power, meaning that it can’t use computers.

 Which modern office can work effectively without electricity? It also has to contend with a leaking roof.
Neither does it have a vehicle. “Not even a bicycle,” District Director Robert Collins Annan, told Citi TV.

 Moreover, the staff consists of three people, one of whom is due to go on retirement soon.   
It seems to me that there is a compelling need for the NCCE to be resourced to do what the Constitution established it to do.

 It has a crucial role in helping to redirect  society onto the right path, what is expected of a Ghanaian.    
What is it that makes one Ghanaian?

In my view a lot has to do with our culture and traditions, rooted in respect for elders and observance of civilities.

If we look on as our youth grow up wayward, as we lose our culture, then what is our future?

If we lose our traditions, the practices which identify us as Ghanaians, what happens to the nation?

By all the indicators, Ghana is on course to great prosperity, but how will that bright future benefit us if along the route we lose our soul as a nation?

 Care for one another, respect for seniors and authority, observance of culture and the civilities, surely represent an essential part of the soul of the nation.

 And, of course, compassion is essential.

The Citi TV reports were a real eye-opener and I sincerely hope that President Nana Akufo-Addo himself saw at least one of them.   

As they demonstrated vividly, the NCCE has been undervalued for far too long and amends must be made – and soon!   

Evidently it was for good reason that the framers of the national Constitution saw the need for such a Commission so it must be enabled to do its work.

It may not have a magic wand, but a fully resourced NCCE could complement appreciably the training given by parents and teachers.

It could help steer the society in the right direction, even to avoid traumatic, regrettable occurrences such as the Asiakwa incident. Never again.   

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