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09.07.2009 Feature Article

GHANA'S FUTURE WITH TODAYS YOUTH IN THE HELM: HOW WILL IT LOOK LIKE

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On behalf of all Ghanaians I say thank you to the Almighty, the beneficent, the merciful for taking us through all those difficulties and challenges during the 52 and 49 years of our independence and republic respectively. It was not all smooth sailing just as it wasn't all difficulties. We say thanks also to all those (both living and dead) who in one way or the other genuinely put their lives on the line for the nation to get to where we are today. We may not have achieved all what our forefathers envisioned for us in terms of the stage of development, but we still have to be thankful, in the midst of all those failures, because we are a nation and can still fight on for the achievement of our goals.

Life, we are told is not static but in motion and so man must move along with it. For the life of a nation to be in motion, it will require the efforts of the people who pride themselves as its citizens to move it. In the same way, for the nation to move forward positively will require the positive attitudes exhibited by the inhabitants of that nation; Positive attitude in all aspects of national life and also in positions of trust. The conclusion therefore becomes that Ghana is where it is today because of the attitudes, actions and inactions of people who the mantle of governance had been entrusted and all Ghanaians in general. So then we can rightly say that, over 50 years down the line, Ghana as a nation have not achieved much, especially when we tend to make comparisons with other nations we started life with. The immediate one that has become a development mantra anytime the issue of Ghana's development is being discussed is Malaysia.

HISTORY
Life immediately after independence was one of sacrificing, hard work and dedication to duty. This was to give concrete meaning to the statement that 'the black man was capable of managing his/her own affairs'. All who mattered were drafted into the government to ensure the realisation of the vision of the first political leader of this nation. Majority of Ghanaians rallied behind the president and so the early part of independence provided a much comfortable life for the over 5 million Ghanaians then.

During those somewhat comfortable immediately-after-independent years, there wasn't much to talk about in terms of armed robbery, drug trafficking, corruption in the area of public finance, corruption in the area of attitude to work, corruption in the our cultural lives among other corrupt ways. In those days, respect and discipline was held in high esteem and everybody was everybody's keeper.

However, the later part of Dr. Nkrumah's rule saw the beginning of the worse for the country. It was during this time that stories about ministers in Nkrumah's government who were living corrupt lives started pouring in. We have heard of Krobo Edusei and the golden bed issue among other acts of ministers which led Nkrumah to relieve most of them of their post and assuming those positions himself. There are also those who questioned and still questions Nkrumah's character and the way he governed the nation and tagged it corruption.

The coup of 24th February 1966 said it all. Reasons given for the not-necessary coup included among other things the mass corruption that was prevalent in the CPP government of Dr. Nkrumah just as is present in all other coups that the nation has experienced since independence.

The later stages of the Osagyefo's rule and the happenings of the oppositions of that time opened the eyes of the nationals to the use of power and its sweetness. The ramification of the show of power was the floodgate opener to the mass vices that we find ourselves grappling with in today's Ghana. Decadence of morals started becoming alarming and corruption, disrespect for our own cultural values, and the Ghanaian's alarming penchant for riches, not minding how it comes, started becoming an issue.

TODAY
It is said that the actions of an individual or a group today, to a large extent give an idea of what the future will be like. For instance the actions and inactions of our elders and leaders, after independence to date, is what is carved the Ghana we have today-a Ghana that is far behind in development.

The belief is that, in some few years to come, the oldies who are in leadership positions will inevitably hand over the reigns of government to those considered now as the youth-known to be the future leaders of our country, of which I am one. Questions that arise however are 'Will the youth be better leaders considering their actions in today's Ghana? Are the youth capable of leading Ghana to the promise land in the future when they are handed the reigns of government? Will the youth be fully prepared to government when the time comes? And has the elderly in the helm of affairs prepared the grounds well for their (youth) smooth operation in future?

To answer the last question, I think the answer is a big NO. The leaders of today are a bad example to the youth who unfortunately and see them (elderly) as their role models. The Ghanaian politician today has no conscience and values self-interest over national interest. They spend hours of their time convincing the electorate to vote for them by making wild promises, only to forget that they exist when they get what they want-power. Examples abound in this country and one of them is the issue of car loans for Members of the Ghanaian Parliament (MPs). They all, unison, voted for the loan just because it concerned them; something that does not happen in our parliament. That is self-conceitedness, selfishness and greed at its best exhibited by the people who are supposed to consider the welfare of the masses first before theirs.

Unfortunately, my observation of the political life of leaders in leadership positions does not give a positive conclusion. It shows that the attitudes of leaders is negatively shaping that of the youth who are in politics today and who are supposed to be apprentices, learning to take up the rule in future. There is no single politician who can be conveniently placed in the youthful bracket whose behaviour tells a story of positive things for the future. They have all assumed the trait of Lie telling, selfishness, greed, self-conceitedness, mudslinging, name calling among other negatives that most of the older generation politicians are known of.

Governments, past and present have not been able to share the national cake equitably. Rather, they have amassed the wealth of the nation for their immediate families and friends and the masses are left but to accept poverty as a way of life. The resultant situation is that a large percentage of the youth are left to eke a living in anyway they want, thus the increasing armed robbery, Sakawa, corruption, ritual murders in the country.

Youth in politics aside, generally the youth are not doing things that give the picture and impression that the future will be promising as far as the forward movement of our nation is concerned. The youth have assumed for themselves the titles of masters and orchestrators of all negative and immoral behaviours and what makes it too bad is the fact that they exhibit these negatives with all the impunity that it carries. Those with positive character are seen as primitive and out of date.

Just mention the negatives and the youth are in the frontline as the people involved. The Sakawa issue that has engulfed the state and fast becoming a national disaster is done by the youth, sometimes, with the help of the elderly either consciously or unconsciously. Sakawa is now everywhere and comes in different faces-ritual murder, falsification of figures by office holders, internet fraud among others. What makes the issue serious is that, the youth in the second cycle schools and tertiary are also engulfed in this. Students who don't join cults, fornicate, smoke, drink are seen by their colleagues as not civilised and not abreast with the new ways of doing things.

WAY FORWARD
The Ghanaian Times editorial of Thursday July 2, 2009 paraphrased a statement by a minister of the gospel on the topic under discussion. The paper wrote “...Ghana's conscience is in the grips of what he termed 'intellectual rogues'. These rogues, he submitted, are the educated men and women who indulge in all forms of malpractices including falsification of accounts, inflation of contract sums and prices of purchased items...it is this roguery in high and hollow places which has trickled down to our children in basic and second cycle schools, giving birth to Sakawa”. The minister of the gospel could not have said it any better. The nail was hit right in the head. The question then is what are others doing about the issue?

Maturity as far as I know has got less to do with age. A matured person is not someone who is aged, but someone who is able to secern between good and bad and always striving to do the right thing at all times. What it means then is that if a 15 year old, in grave need of money to do something refuses to do Sakawa for the money and prefers to sell dog chains on the street to raise that money, is a more matured person than the 45 year old, in same situation, who is involve in Sakawa as the way to get the money. This is what the youth needs to imbibe and live with. Sometimes it requires the help of parents, teachers and religious leaders to do the inculcation, but now that most of these people themselves have questionable behaviours, the youth will have to make use of the divine (intellect) and religious (Holy Qur'an, Holy Bible and teachings of the Holy prophets) guidance, that the Almighty has blessed all of us with to know the right and honourable things to do as they go about life.

The media, we are told is supposed to educate, inform and entertain. Unfortunately however, the electronic media and some print media have rather focused their attention on the entertainment aspect of their roles and thus doing a lot of harm to the youth rather than good. The harm is as a result of the kind of 'unGhanaian' entertainment programmes that they broadcast to viewers and listeners alike. These programmes are what is shaping the character of the youth today and that why we have ear-ring wearing male youths, mini shirt and half naked dressed young ladies all over town who see fornication and indiscriminate sex as the civilised way of life, and so see a virgin as a 'Colo' and anachronistic. It is about time the media re-examined the kind of programmes they put out to the public if they want to be considered partners in the fight against the negative behaviours of the youth. This goes to all media houses, especially the electronic media, in Ghana because about 90 percent of their programmes are 'useless' and unGhanaian.

The politician, from where he or she is looking, says the future is bright for the nation. I beg to differ. I don't see any brightness in the future of the country if our youth are going into the future with the kind of behaviour they are exhibiting today. In fact, it will be a future that no human race will wish for itself-a chaotic, demonic, sinful and violent future. i am sorry to be saying this but it must be said.

Fortunately for us, all is not lost because not all are into the negative behaviours. The few can continue with the fight to change the ways of those who have gone astray. Allah give us strength to do this and may he (Allah) touch the hearts of those in these negatives to repent their ways for the betterment of our beloved nation. Amen.

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Sagito Musah Issakah
Sagito Musah Issakah, © 2009

The author has 21 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: SagitoMusahIssakah

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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