I was in a conversation with a Nigerian friend of mine the last time and he was kind enough to remind me of the many things that in his eyes were going on well in Ghana. Truthfully, I do believe in this country and I am sure we will soon get a lot of things right as compared to the current situation where we get most of it wrong.
Ola, my friend, had taken a trip to Tema and was appalled at the terrible state of a number of the roads in our industrial hub. He had driven by the harbor and had seen the many cargo ships waiting to berth. To him, an important city like Tema with its contribution to trade should have basic amenities in top shape. Why? I agree. It is particularly disheartening when you think for example of the several pot-holes that keep springing up and expanding on the Accra-Tema motorway despite the fact that hundreds, if not thousands, of vehicles of different types ply it to and fro, paying cash. What is all the money used for? I don’t know.
Our conversation moved to economic growth and Ola was adamant that our economy was growing, and very fast too! He gave an example of how young people change jobs for example adding that if it were not doing well, people would not have had that many options to be changing jobs (for better ones, of course). That may be a debatable issue but it does make sense ‘on the surface of the common sense sheet’. Yes, there are a lot of folks out there still searching for jobs and all but someone will tell you even the US has some unemployed people.
For a Nigerian, he was full of praise for us because he perceives Ghanaians as being disciplined and really, not corrupt. Well, you and I know that is not exactly true, but if you were Nigerian and have heard and read how millions of dollars are stashed in accounts in the Cayman Islands and Switzerland and in the backyard gardens of politicians in that country then you will appreciate my friend’s stance. Yes, down here our politicians are not angels. Some dip their hands into our money and use it at will. But the bright side is that we are better off and we can further reduce or prevent politicians from stealing from us and to develop our country for all of us.
My conversation with Ola made me realize the many things we take for granted as a people. For example communication from government has improved somewhat from the days when Mahama Ayariga made comments without prior checking to the days of regular press briefings. Of course we will occasionally have Mohammed Murtala talk as though he were still a NUGS aspirant. Again, if one were to think of the fact that we have a President whose authority is being challenged in court, I think that our country is not doing badly. Truth be told, if you were given a job to do and would have to contend with the sort of pressure and uncertainty that the hearing brings, then you will appreciate what situation government is in.
I am a hopeful Ghanaian. I see a half-filled glass, and I pray our politicians and leaders and those who matter do not give me a reason to see a half-empty glass.