It was only a matter of time before our self-alienated jet-hopping leaders came to the grim and sobering realization that they and their people could not live high on the niggardly generosity of their conquerors and wanton exploiters of yesteryear. It comes rather much too late in the game of visionary political leadership, but it, nevertheless, is far better late than never. These were the words and thoughts that flashed through my mind, when I read the news article titled “We Can’t Continue to Be Naked, Let’s Produce Our Own Covid-19 Vaccines – Akufo-Addo Urges ECOWAS Members” Modernghana.com 6/19/21), in which President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who also doubles as Chairman of the Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS), was reported to have told the 59th Ordinary Summit of West African leaders in Ghana’s capital city of Accra, the same country and city where, in 1958, the First Summit of the leadership of the seminal postcolonial African liberation fighters and the pioneering leaders of Independent Sovereign African States conferred to map out the trajectory for the total liberation of the putative Primeval Continent recently.
The Global Star of that Epochal Moment was, of course, none other than Ghana’s President Kwame Nkrumah. The catastrophic events that marked the rest of the era of the Nkrumah-led government of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) needs no retelling, trust me, Dear Reader. Still, what is crystal clear is that COVID-19 may be the clarion or wake up call that African leaders needed to remind themselves that they could not remain political teenagers and toddlers and the wasteful spenders of the wealth and destiny of Continental Africans in perpetuity. In his address to the attendees of the 59th ECOWAS Summit, Nana Akufo-Addo emphasized the imperative need for Africans and their leaders not to rely on the stingy or reluctant generosity of foreigners and foreign leaders but, instead, haunch down and go to work and make their hands dirty by producing their own COVID vaccines.
Nana Akufo-Addo also highlighted the fact that serious efforts were already being made by scientists in key West African countries like Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria to produce some variants and locally protective COVID-19 vaccines in commercial quantities, since the COVID vaccines which these West African leaders have been able to access through direct purchases and donations were woefully inadequate for the protection of the majority of vulnerable Africans who were in dire need of the same. Now, that is the sort of progressive and visionary leadership that Africans have been desperately craving for some six decades now. But, of course, it goes without saying that we have heard such pep talks and fiery speeches before. Now is the time for action. It is also time for Ghanaians to fully appreciate the sort of criminal de-industrialization that the faux-socialist leaders of the country’s main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) have put the rest of us through, in the unpardonably scandalous name of such bogus revolutionary principles as the Jerry John Rawlings-minted mantra of “Probity, Transparency, Accountability and Justice.”
Precisely how justified or justifiable the total and blanket liquidation of the Nkrumah-created Ghana Industrial Holdings Corporation (GIHOC), involving the establishment of some 107-plus factories and manufacturing plants, may need to be, once again, publicly and thoroughly explained to the Ghanaian people by those who claim to have materially and unprecedently advanced the socioeconomic, technological, cultural and industrial development of the first nation South-of-the-Sahara to reassert its sovereignty from European colonial imperialism. Of course, our problem and problems go far beyond the need to produce our own COVID-19 vaccines. We also need to be at the forefront of high-end or cutting-edge scientific research and the production of our own direly needed medications, from the simplest of malarial and common cold and first-aid medications to COVID and other forms of virus-fighting remedies.
As matters presently stand, Africans have become the most vulnerable among global humanity in the face of the COVID-19 Pandemic. We need to seismically change this perennial lag in the global game of survival, or we may soon find ourselves extinct as a species of humanity. Which is scandalously ironic, when one reckons the fact that what is currently designated as “American Civilization” and thus “Western Civilization” was, for the most part, actually built and created through the sweat and blood of African humanity. It is long past time for us to stop cleaning the homes and bathing, feeding and clothing the children of other people and start taking good care of ourselves. Already, Ghana’s President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has been showing the way on the industrial development front with his One-District, One-Factory massive job creation economic development agenda. Other African leaders and entrepreneurs and crackerjack scientists need to follow suit, pronto!
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
June 20, 2021
E-mail: [email protected]