Friday October 14, 2011 saw yet another set of national honours bestowed on supposedly distinguished Ghanaians for doing various things that we all ought to be happy for and all. I am not sure if this is Mills’ first state awards. I googled a few times and it seems to be the first since the hilarious set of honors Kufuor doled out in July 2008.
I am not privy to the selection processes for awards (though I feel we all should know). It seems what we hear is that nominees have “made extra-ordinary contribution to the national development effort” or that “deserving citizens” were awarded or things like that. We cannot deny that some of the nominations for such awards have always been tied to politics. Like many things in Ghana these days, it is not a matter of truly deserving, but which part of the political stand you stand whiles the awards are being doled out. Mills know this. That is why he had to stress that “a lot of objectivity and transparency” went into the selection. We were all in this country when Kufuor awarded Cindy Thompson for writing a song which will end up being the NPP’s campaign song ahead of Election 2000. We were also told that the President’s driver was awarded. Agya Koo too got an award. Yes he is a funny man and brings laughter to those who find him funny, but for National Honours, I did not expect folks like him to be up there. I glanced through the list of 241 who were awarded in July 2008 and it was very obvious they were largely persons who bore some relationship with the NPP. Of course some known NDC folks including Mills were thrown in the mix to attempt balancing the outlook a bit.
There wasn’t much difference with Mills’ list. It is very possible that all the awardees were deserving and made extra-ordinary contributions to the national developmental effort. But I think it will be more matured if we did such selection without looking at the political coloration of the nominees. We may be a long way off from learning that patriotism goes beyond what one does as a result of being in party A or B, but we don’t seem to be doing enough to grow up. I found it queer that the President will call on young people to sacrifice for their nations when we reward only those we feel are in our party. The thing is I expect us to be learning as we move on. The NPP awarded ‘themselves’ because the NDC under Rawlings awarded NDC folks. I was hoping the NPP will be smarter and then make the awards more national in character. But no, they did not learn. And then Mills’ NDC has also not learned still. I did say recently that there are a lot of Ghanaians who may not necessarily be active politically but nonetheless love this nation to bits and will sacrifice for her if our leaders made it seem worthwhile. Ghana should be at the core of the things we do.
National honours should be truly deserving. Yes, if someone does something truly patriotic we should award that person; if someone has served this nation selflessly that person should be awarded. Selflessly! No need awarding the dude who came to successfully steal from the nation and gave nothing back in return. The Black Stars and Black Satellites did us proud. In fact, they did Africa proud so they award is in order. The ‘work in progress’ citizens whose activities are more geared towards personal glory and not national development and enhancement ought not to be even thought of for awards.
To the truly ‘deserving award winners’, I thank you for your services to Ghana. We are happy you are Ghanaian.

PO: October 19, 2011

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