March 6, 2007 would mark 50 years of the birth of Ghana, a by-product of British Colonialism. Ghana is an amalgam of the Crown Colony; Ashanti Protectorate; Northern Territories and Trans-Volta-Togoland crafted to suit the purposes and convenience of the British.
It is germane to point out this fact because it is said if one did not know where one was coming from it would be unlikely that the one would know where one was going.
This characteristic is common to many independent African countries, such as Democratic Republic of Congo or Nigeria. This contrivance called Ghana was bequeathed to Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the First President, to manage. In spite of the turmoil, tribulations and bitter experiences, Ghana still continues to prod on as one bundle after 50 years of travelling.
It calls for a sober reflection on the gains and burdens of a nation at 50. This is the time to take stock of this long and arduous journey, in order to appreciate where the journey takes the nation in the future.
The big question analysts would like to ask is: Is the dream of Osagyefo Dr Nkrumah today unfolded? Does it express the just hopes of its people? Is it a good chariot for the journey? These and many more questions should be raised even if answers could not be found for all of them.
Every citizen of this country has reason to be thankful to the Almighty God for the ability of this fragile and artificially crafted nation to endure. While other nations like Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia have succumbed to the artificiality of their creation and torn apart along their seams due to pressures exerted by creed, ethnicity, inefficient administration and narrow mindedness, Ghana has held together and has endured to the threshold of 50 years of nationhood.
So in spite of the occasional interruptions, anxiety and threats this nation Ghana has managed to march on peacefully. The value of this in itself must be appreciated. Therefore, citizens can proudly say; "I come from Ghana, I am a Ghanaian" to the admiration of other nationals.
We've stayed long enough to be seen at the World Cup in one piece. However, this nation from the perspective of the analysts could have done better. It could have broken away from the trauma of poverty that burdens many countries of Africa.
It could have lived the Nkrumah's dream much more realistically. It could have taken another direction of development or better still a multi dimensional direction to development. It is still held hostage by poverty, by hunger and disease.
It is still grappling with insufficiency of ordinary drinking water. It has occasional eruption of chieftaincy disputes. It is wobbling on its legs. It is in urgent need of an elixir that can let the nation stand firm to mount the chariot in its determined journey to develop.
The nation still finds it difficult to abandon the status quo. While other nations are identifying new challenges and adopting fresh mechanisms of doing things, Ghana still persist with increasing tenacity to what was bequeathed by the British to its colonial subjects but abandoned by the master himself.
A clear demonstration of this is the country's Civil Service structure, many of the laws, the salary structure and more dangerously the educational system. There is the need to redefine the challenges, ambitions, objectives and methods. The solution lies in the hands of the citizenry.
The greater challenge to this relatively young nation can be found in the political realm. Therein lies the leadership function; the social organisation and therefore its destiny. The greatest challenge of the nation, therefore, is its political organisation and the type of leadership provided from time to time. Leadership must imbibe determination, conscious selflessness, the will to sacrifice and the love for the people.
To fulfil Osagyefo Dr Nkrumah's dream, the nation has to strengthen its leadership; galvanize its people; call for sacrifice at all levels of society and above all have genuine interest in the welfare of one another.
The present situation, where those at the helm of affairs appear to be more interested in what they could siphon from the State for the benefit of their families and cronies, should be replaced with altruism.
All Ghanaians must learn to see beyond their differences in order to shape the destiny of this country. A vision founded on larger purposes; greater aspiration and ambitious but realizable objectives.
Only in this way could Ghana's 50th Anniversary celebration be worthy of it. Only also can the nation truly have celebrated an anniversary founded on 50 years experience.
The year 2007 should therefore mark a beginning and a milestone for the people of this country to rise up to the occasion and make poverty, hunger, disease, ignorance and misery things of the past.
This way the nation would begin its triumphant march for progress. Ghana must succeed. It cannot be left behind. The future of Ghana is bright, hopeful and the celebration of the 50 years as a nation is justified.
Long live Ghana; long live Ghanaians for better aspirations for development.
Source: A GNA feature by Caesar Abagali