A Professor of Political Science at the University of Ghana, Professor Kwame Ninson, has proposed a stronger state that will distribute national resources equitably to achieve economic development.
Speaking at the first in a series of lectures dubbed, “[email protected]: Tribe or Nation,” Prof. Ninson said tribal politics threaten the state and has made it impossible for political leaders to provide the required political and economic leadership to achieve development.
The lecture designed to critically examine issues that are pertinent to the country's development was organised by the Institute for Democratic Governance and your award winning station, Joy 99.7 fm.
Prof. Ninson traced the emergence of Ghana as a nation around 1900 which introduced a sense of nationalism among Ghanaians. He said the military coup in 1966 that overthrew Nkrumah's government ushered in policies that reduced the power, capacity and size of the state and its involvement in the economy and society.
According to Prof. Ninson, as the crises of the state and economy deepened the ruling class or the elite tribalized the state to serve their private ends.
Competition for political power was increasingly dictated by material gains for individual politicians and their tribal associates, which adversely affected ordinary citizens, he said.
Prof. Ninson said this led to unemployment and poverty, which worsened in the 90's forcing the state to become more divisive and politicized on tribal lines.
He said if the trend is not reversed it will lead the country to a political strive. He noted that it is only through vigorous development by the leadership of a strong state that citizens can shift allegiance from their tribes to the nation.
During the open floor session, a former diplomat K.B. Asante, debunked assertions that played down the existence of tribalism in Ghana.
The head of governance at the Institute of Economic Affairs, Kwesi Jonah, critiqued Professor Ninson's submissions to give more power to the state.
He said African states in the past have centralized decision-making to the exclusion of ethnic groups and districts. He proposed a balance of power between the private sector and state for economic development.
Former Minister in the NDC administration, Dr. Tony Aidoo, argued that both the nation and the tribe can co-exist to attain economic development.
In attendance were former Speaker of Parliament, Mr Peter Ala Adjetey and Dr. Jibrin Ibrahim-Executive Director of CDD Nigeria.