Call it what you want. Some call it patriotism.
Some call it nationalism. Some call it civil mindedness.
Irrespective of the description one chooses to give it, love for one’s nation is an essential ingredient to its growth and development.
Nothing grows without love. Skills do not grow without love. Knowledge does not grow without love. And in the same vein, a nation cannot grow without love.
There are so many angles from which one may choose to diagnose the Ghanaian development conundrum.
One may choose to focus on the social, historical, legal and political angles to these issues.
But one may simply choose to narrow it down to one thing – the lack of love for the nation.
It is difficult to understand why many people will profess to love this nation and yet not be willing to lift a finger to make it better.
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If there is any form of love floating on the surface of this nation, it is self-love – nothing more and nothing less.
What would make people steal monies meant for communal projects and put them in their personal back accounts?
What would make one lead foreigners to pollute the rich water sources that we have for a few dollars?
What would make one lead and assist foreigners and outsiders to deprive the nation of its taxes, and general compliance with the law?
What would make a Ghanaian sleep on the job and watch the state lose so much in terms of revenue?
It ultimately comes down to selfishness and the absence of patriotism and love for the nation.
It is easy to forget.
But we did not get to this stage in our nationhood simply by standing by and watch things unfold.
It was a struggle. Lives were lost.
People forsook their liberties and economic wellbeing.
People gave all they possibly had just so we can have some sense of stability in this nation.
These things did not come overnight.
Our forebears and the men and women who fought for independence believed this nation was capable of becoming the best place in the world.
They gave it their all simply because they loved this country called Ghana so much.
But at some point, the love many had for this nation became adulterated.
Self-love was more preferable.
Whereas in the past, people will prefer to die for the state, now the state is rather dying daily, especially at the expense of people to whom the wellbeing of the state has been entrusted to.
We don’t try anymore. Or even if we try, we don’t try too hard. We are just satisfied at being mediocre.
We like to look back and take pride in the achievements of our past and yet we do not realise that we have an obligation to give the future generations something to look back at for inspiration and direction.
If we love this nation, like the way we ought to, the level of corruption in this country would have been curtailed.
If we love the nation like the way she deserves to, we would not see the level of neglect, theft, abuse and total waste of state resources.
For a variety of reasons, we have become so disconnected that we barely see the negative impact of our actions on the state.
In the case of our personal properties, we are happy to guard them at the pain of our lives.
In the case of state properties and issues involving the state, we simply shrug our shoulders and say to ourselves – never mind, this is state property.
There is no developed nation in which its citizens are nonchalant and act irresponsibly when it comes to the affairs of the state.
This is totally unheard.
The citizens of the rich and prosperous nations do not sit unconcerned.
A large part of them are engaged actively in the way the state is run.
They speak up, demonstrate and make sure the right things are done.
This is possible because they understand that loyalty to the state is a very important factor in their development as a nation.
Unfortunately, this point is lost on us.
Change must come. And it must come very quickly.
We must be alive to the fact that our ultimate loyalty goes to the state.
And it is okay to support politicians – but we must never do that at the expense of the well-being of the state.
We must never.
As I pointed out earlier, the key question for us is whether we are going to leave something that the next generation will look at and be proud and inspired by?
Or are we going to watch on while the resources and wealth of this nation is being pillaged?
That should be our concern.