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14.12.2002 Feature Article

Why I am mad and full of hyperboles

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‘There is pleasure sure in being made, which none but mad men know’, Dryden. ‘To better understand a thing’s significance it is better to consider its exaggerations and perversions, its equivalents and substitutes and nearest relatives elsewhere’, William James. Ghana has an ideal size and shape. It is not too big to become unwielding. Its very shape is pleasant to the eye. It looks like a cat resting on its hind legs Ghana has adequate natural drainage system. She has among others the Volta, Ankobrah and Pra Rivers. Blessed even with Lake Bosomtwi, a rare geographical feature in West Africa Though she has typical Western African vegetation, she escapes the brutal Sahara desert It is naturally endowed with mineral resources; gold, diamond, bauxite, limestone and iron ores are part of the list. One political leader said Ghana is geological miracle. Even there is some oil and natural gas. Her shores are endowed with many goodies like tuna and tasteful shrimps. Salt occur naturally. My people of La used salt not only as commercial item but also as sinews of war. In 1957, Ghana had one of the best education systems in the tropical world. Ghana had excellent secondary schools University of Ghana being older than Ghana Ghana had well developed infrastructure by the standard of the day. We had railway system We had artificial harbor constructed We had regular and punctual public transport system Much-maligned imperialist bequeathed to our Founding Fathers, a substantial cash reserve. Ghana had one of the best civil services in the tropical world The edifice housing General Post Office in Accra was reported to be the biggest building in the tropical world. The basis for health care was in existence. Sanitary inspectors regularly issued summons for infractions of the rules. Houses were fumigated as circumstances required The tastes of Ghana’s cocoa, pineapple and tilapia are unique and world acclaimed The Ghanaian was and is not lazy. By 18th Century slaves from the Gold Coast or the Mina or Cromatin commanded premium the slave markets in the New World. Europeans fought each other to have a foothold on our shores. Pockets of Ghanaians were in the Congo, Nigeria and Liberia earning living. In 1947 ten years before she gained independence and 100 years after Liberia’s independence, a detachment of Gold Coast Police provided music for Liberia’s Centennial Celebration. Some Ghanaians went to Malaysia to introduce palm nut culture Some saw action in the Abyssinia War. The Ghanaian showed his mettle in the Second World War in Burma. As a group, Ghanaians are successfully tolerant. Eastern Region of Ghana may be the polyglot region in the whole of Africa, yea in the whole world. With the GaDangmes, the Kwawus, the Krobos, the Shais, the Akyems, the Akwapims, the Akwamus, the Lartehs, the Guans living in this region. Occasionally these nation states fought against each other just as the teeth occasionally bite the tongue. By all standards, Ghana was ahead of Malaysia in 1957. Was it not natural for Ghana therefore, to be granted independence before Malaysia by the same colonial master? In terms of per capita, Ghana was at par with Korea. Now the difference between Ghana and South Korea is like day and night. Ghana’s economy was bigger than that of Ivory Coast in 1957. Now the Ivory Coast economy is twice that of Ghana. What are the reasons for this arrested development? Should we blame it on our size, no sir? Examine the size of Mauritius, Singapore and Hong Kong Was it because of colonialism? Definitely not. Even Vietnam is making more progress than Ghana now. It is the quality of political leadership and our culture. In vernacular, it is what our leaders and we value and hold dear. It is our character. Our leaders consider the country as their fiefdom The minister considers his ministry as his village The principal secretary considers his department as his empire The managing director considers his corporation as his farm We all consider the government as a distant entity that should shamelessly be exploited.
The existence of our nation should not be a series of zigzags; One tendency today, another gaining the upper hand tomorrow. I am mad, what about you sir? Failure is not allotted to us. We will be what will to be.


Nikoi Kotey
Nikoi Kotey, © 2002

The author has 23 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: NikoiKotey

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