"Let’s stop the Partisanship and use our Oil resources wisely, Otabil urges all Ghanaians...”
A non-denominational thanksgiving service was held yesterday, Sunday December 19th, at the Dome of the Accra International Conference Center to round of activities for Ghana's Jubilee First Oil Celebration. The event which was attended by several leading politicians, members of the clergy, senior business executives, the Jubilee partners and several Ghanaians, was organized to thank God for Ghana's oil find. Highly esteemed religious leader, Pastor Mensa Otabil who delivered the sermon 'Through Wisdom a house is built' urged all Ghanaians to stop the partisanship and use its oil resources wisely.
Citing the recent debate on the Petroleum Revenue Management Bill, Pastor Otabil lamented 'the partisan noise but little clarity of facts.' According to him, in Ghana neither the political majority nor the minority credits the other with anything. Politicians behave as if the most important considerations in life are whether the NDC or the NPP wins a debate. It was 'awful listening to the entrenched but digressive opinions from political leaders with most MPs lacking clarity on the key issues at stake.' He also described the Media as 'shallow in its analyses,' stressing the importance of national conversation that is open to the possibility of expanding the options and alternatives available to Ghanaians.
According to him this process demands openness, sincerity and respect for differing views with Ghanaians demanding for and holding accountable, a new leadership of conscience and vision to represent the interest of Ghanaians in transactions with its trade and economic partners.
He expressed the belief that political and religious leaders are uniquely positioned to directly confront Ghana's state of underdevelopment. These two groups have the responsibility of challenging the nation to live up to its potential instead of its lowest common denominator, he claimed. The absence of innovative thought and national debates have become uninspiring, he further lamented. In his opinion, they entrench the old assumptions that African's do not have the capacity to wrestle with the weightier matters of nationhood and development.
In his view, although there is reason to celebrate Ghana's oil find, 'the reality is that Ghana's oil find is currently quite small. 'The projected yield of what we've found so far is not sufficient by itself to create any dramatic change in our national economy. It is very obvious that the economic transformation we seek for will not come from oil. Oil is good but it is not the final answer to our challenges. The future of Ghana will not be determined by our oil find. The future of Ghana will be determined by our foresight, wisdom and planning.'
He therefore urged Ghanaians to think about the new responsibility they have been entrusted with and advised against 'ingesting' oil resources, championing that we rather invest our resources for profit.
He cautioned that 'We must carefully weigh the return on investments on every venture we commit any of our natural resources to.'
In his view, education must be seen as the crucial sector that propels the engine of growth for an improved Ghana. If Ghana continues to provide mediocre education, it will continue to have mediocre citizens who are incapable of delivering the human resource capacity for real social change, he suggested. In his opinion, to build a modern industrial society, Ghana must emphasize on appropriate subjects and courses such as Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics which in his view are the subjects needed for manufacturing and industrialization. He believes that for Ghana to be innovative it must shift its focus.
It must do things differently and move away from its model of hasty, unplanted and untested development that in his opinion has retarded its progress for too long.
The thanksgiving service was well attended by several groups including The Christian Council of Ghana, The Ghana Pentecostal Council, National Association of Charismatic Churches and The Women's AGLOW Ministry. Apostle. Emmanuel Donkor of the Christ Apostolic Church, Mrs. Margaret Antwi of the Ghana Pentecostal Council, Rev. Peter Sefogah of the Christian Council, Rev. John Koomson of the National Association of Charismatic Churches and Mrs. Whyte of the AGLOW Women's Ministry all featured in the event.