I have lost count of the number of times the President spoke to Ghanaians since the deadly Coronavirus (Covid-19) raised its ugly head in Ghana. The truth is that I can't even remember the first message the President gave the nation. All what I remember is “Fellow Ghanaians”. But for the warnings and continuous message to the nation by the President on the pandemic, I can imagine the number of Ghanaians who would have lost their lives.
Apart from the late Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah who used to address the nation periodically on national issues, no Head of State of Ghana ever spoke to the people the way President Akufo-Addo has been doing since the outbreak of the pandemic. In the case of Dr. Nkrumah, he will wait and allow Ghanaians to speculate on issues before he came out to speak on the topic to set records straight. Ghanaians will wake up at dawn to listen to the President on Radio Ghana, the only radio station in the country then. As children, we used to hear “Countrymen”, followed by the powerful voice of President Nkrumah addressing the nation. “The Dawn Broadcast” as it used to be called became so popular that no single Ghanaian missed it. It helped to nip in the bud, speculations and hearsays ('They say, they say').
When President Akufo-Addo started his “Fellow Ghanaians” episode, it reminded me of the days of the Osagyefo. A deadly virus is on the prowl and devouring people across the world, with Ghana, a developing country at risk. Conspiracy theorists and naysayers competed among themselves to misinform the people on the high risk of the pandemic. So it became imperative for the President to come out and speak to the nation. If the President had kept quiet, his detractors would have gone to town to say the President is indifferent to the plight of the people. Here in God's own country, everything is politics and politics is everything. That is very unfortunate indeed.
The President has told us during one of his “Fellow Ghanaians” episode that, he was listening and following what scientists and people with technical knowhow tell him about the pandemic. The gentleman admonished us to follow certain protocols prescribed by scientists in order to avoid contracting the virus. He said protocols like hand washing with running water and soap, social distancing, and wearing of nose masks should be religiously adhered to. Because some people unfortunately succumbed to the pandemic, Ghanaians fearfully followed the protocol which helped to save lives. Few people complained when an order was given to churches, mosques, cinema theaters, weddings, beaches, funerals etc to limit the number of hours spent at such gatherings and also reduce the number of people who gather in such places. When people followed the order, things started to go well with us.
Because the President cannot be at all these places at the same time, Ghanaians became hardhearted and went overboard. We went back to the old way of doing things, damn the consequences. Enter the Delta Variant which is more contagious and dangerous than the other Covid-19 variants. Those who were misinforming the people that the pandemic is not real have now come back to their senses because when they watch world news on their television sets, they could hear and see people dying like flies. So now the swansong has changed. They are now appealing to the President to expedite action to bring in vaccines when they had early kicked against the vaccine and called on people not to take the jab when a few doses were brought in. Yaanom? Hmmm!
What Ghanaians should understand is that, countries which have developed these vaccines are jealously guarding them and reluctant to export them to third and poor world countries simply because many of their own citizens have not been vaccinated yet. That is the more reason why the President came to our homes again with his “Fellow Ghanaians” message of salvation. What is more serious about those who have made it their habit of disobeying the President's instruction is that, if they contract the virus, they will eventually spread it to innocent people who have chosen to obey the President. That is my problem. Other than that, who cares if you disobey the President at your own peril and die alone without spreading the virus?
When the Ghana Card was being introduced, some parliamentarians and Yaanom seriously campaigned for people not to participate in the exercise but when the project started rolling out, these were the same people who quickly obtained their cards. By now Ghanaians should realize that there is a certain political party in this country which doesn't mean well for its supporters not to talk of Ghanaians. Because of the way they kicked against the Ghana Card, we had people later queuing at registration centers and sleeping there, all in their efforts to get the card when it dawned on them that their leadership had taken theirs. They always deceive their followers all in the name of political expediency.
When the first batch of the Coronavirus vaccines arrived, these same nation wreckers went to town to warn people not to take the jab. They gave some alarming reasons why the vaccine should not be patronized. Sadly, when some of the parliamentarians contracted the virus, they queued at parliament house to take the jab, leaving their supporters to die in the cold. Sad! Listen to one guy who watched the President when he addressed the nation recently: 'Don't mind him. We will not follow any protocol'. No wonder the Akans say there is always a fool at the market place every day. (da biara kwasia ko dwa). This guy is one of the fools who went to the market place that day.
But should we fold our arms and allow a few bad nuts to put sand in our gari? The answer is No! So what should we do? The President should order the security agencies to be on the lookout for people who do not follow the protocols. Such persons should be arrested, paraded before TV cameras and punished severely to serve as deterrent to others. The last time when I saw pictures of some fine ladies and gentlemen made to sit down on the ground in public by the police for not wearing a nose mask, I decided to carry a spare nose mask in my pocket anytime I went out, in case I miss the one firmly fixed on my nose. I am not a fool!
A physician specialist once told me that a stick of cigar a day keeps the optician away because the smoke from cigar is curative to glaucoma. And you continue to advise me to stop smoking? No way, son of man. If you are a connoisseur of cigars, you will surely get one of your fellow connoisseurs who will happily give you a stick to try. A friend just gave me one of the five top premium cigars called La Aurora Preferido, produced in Nicaragua. You can just keep your distance and close your nostrils if you don't want to smell the sweet aroma of this brand.
By Eric Bawah