Two score, a decade and half ago, Dr Kwame Nkrumah declared our independence as a nation with a shared mission to achieve a vision yet to be fully unveiled gradually. That day of the declaration was a dream lived with opened eyes by those who fought for it and the rest who gave it the deserving celebratory honour. It was the sixth day of March in the year 1957.
Through my childhood days to this day of informed awareness, the day of declaration have been marked with marching ceremonies by schools, security services and public servants witnessed by political leaders and diplomatic corps. However, the relevance of our independence is slowly paling into insignificance. It has been reduced to a memorial ceremony instead of a moment of reflection and rethinking.
How independent are we to still accord this day its essence? We must rethink our understanding of an independence day as a nation, society, family, leaders and individual citizens of Ghana. Until that is done, we cannot come close to achieving the ultimate essence of the day of declaration. We must examine our minds and appreciate the reasons why we celebrate this august day.
As a nation, we have traded enough of our values and principles for present selfish gains and pride. Nothing holds us together strong enough anymore than the names we bear as citizens born within this geographical space called Ghana. We, most often, brandish our tribal differences to spite each other at the detriment of finding our national identity, which Dr Kwame Nkrumah declared and initiated. We don’t seem to have a clearly defined Ghanaian personality with uncompromising set of values, principles and honour worth transferring to the next generation.
We have locked ourselves within the enticing comforts of the present and neglect to pay the price for a better common future for our children’s children to emulate. Ghana is being spoon-fed on self-interested party manifestoes which serve the interests of the party in power. Everything progress and better-life are hijacked and shared by the party in government leaving the masses to nurse their poverty with fading optimisms. The poor are left with only two options: to die or remain slaves of poverty. The country is terminally subjected to these political experiments every four years.
How can we be endowed with so much natural resources and growing human resource base but still battle poverty like old warriors? From what we eat, breath in, walk on, drink, farm, fish, rear, mine to what we wear are in abundance yet we do not know how to live above poverty. This is the time we deliberate on what God has given us freely and how we can transform them to make our lives better and more comfortable. Unfortunately, we have become aid-junkies, government-in-government-out. We trade our resources for peanuts and forget about posterity.
As a society, we tend to care for all that are us and ours. We have become more individualistic and materialistic. Our communal social structure which provided that ecosystem of support to grow each individual member to build the whole society has crumbled. We have walled ourselves out of touch of what used to be social and common in our society. Nobody cares for another enough. Families raise their children, as best and independently as they can, but forget that their children will not marry themselves. A better future for their children should therefore be conditioned on ensuring a better one for the neighbour’s children too.
I am very sure that crime and vices will be well-managed to their harmless minimums if we revive and rekindle that spirit of communal interest and social interdependence. As the saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child”, we must enforce our independence by creating a society which caters for each member as life-support element of the whole. The rich should help the poor while the poor also serve the rich. Society must be a deliberate mix of varying social classes and characters which must revolve and evolve to create better living conditions and experiences.
Leadership has become a rare commodity we need to achieve a holistic development agenda which will be of immense benefit to all; not just a select few. The absence of leadership is obvious in the grave indiscipline, lawlessness and apathy in Ghana. We have over-managed our conditions because we under-led them. More money is spent correcting the consequences of our negligence, indiscipline and lawlessness every year instead of channelling that resource into building something beneficial.
Wrong leadership most often have very wrong following. It is picture perfect in our daily discourses and interactions. We have believed the myth of thinking only political heads are leaders. Very few people have to come to terms with the fact that we are to lead everywhere we are given the opportunity to serve. Sadly, most of us ride on the false belief of always blaming political leaders every time and forget to find our path to also lead. Individual leadership leads to group leadership. Until we can personally lead our lives and whatever has been assigned to us, we cannot effectively lead others. Many citizens have become unconcerned about whatever is happening. Leadership is accorded little or no faith at all because of repeated failed promises.
Nonetheless, we can change our motherland one patriotic act by a good citizen at a time. We must bring back the days of community and social engagement. We must esteem the interest of our country above our personal ones. We must not live for the comforts of the present and meet the future with gnashing of teeth. Our educational system must churn out better leaders than just best-grade graduates. We must arise and uphold the good name of Ghana.
It’s time to rethink our independence.