Ghana, this month, marked her 48th anniversary of independence. Forty-eight years of nationhood when juxtaposed against other countries like the United States, Canada, France and China is nothing to write home about. However, vis-à-vis other countries, especially in Africa, Ghanaians have a whole lot to cheer about. There are a lot of countries in Africa and elsewhere around the world that disintegrated into chaos and wars shortly after independence. A glance around the West Africa sub-region shows horrible scars of wars, with some countries partitioned among warring factions. Others have terrible scars and wounds that may take whole generations to heal Ghana, luckily has been spared that ordeal. And Ghana now is a haven for some of the people displaced by wars in their countries.
That is not to say Ghana has not tasted some of these bloody clashes along these 48 years. Inter-tribal conflicts have blown unto the surface a number of times among some ethnic groups at one time or another. These clashes through destructive and retrogressive did not succeed in bringing the whole country to a halt or extinction. There is no breakaway region or district. The surface area of Ghana is still what it was on March 6, 1957.
Perhaps, we can say only the sea at Keta and other coastal areas has encroached and taken some of the land. Many non-Ghanaian Africans have praised the successes Ghana has chalked, politically and would be proud if their countries followed Ghana's example.
A Nigerian journalist who was an observer at the last Presidential and Parliamentary elections lauded the political maturity and peaceful manner of the elections and proclaimed that Nigerians have a lot to learn, politically, from Ghana.
There is no doubt in the mind of any Ghanaian that Ghana has relative peace and political stability as compared to other countries on the continent, and even the world at large.
The notion that the only way to change a government in power is through the barrel of gun is now archaic. Ghana has moved from military incursions to political party democracy.
Ghanaians have been able to unseat a government through the ballot box rather than the usual practice of a few disgruntled soldiers seizing the national radio station with force of arms, promising hell fire to anybody who stood in their way, and announcing themselves into political office. These are laudable achievements, and even some of the older democracies did not come this far that quickly.
However, these achievements don't mean we should be complacent and start relapsing. We still have some distance to go to the end of the tunnel. Economically, things do not look that impressive, the National currency, the Cedi, is still wobbling on the international market. There is a large reserve of jobless youth on our corridors. We don't need to hammer in the inflation rate here. It is no secret. The unemployment rate goes up at the end of every school year as we turn out new graduates. Schools and Colleges are poorly equipped. The Universities are crowded, research institutions lack funds to work, many libraries are without books and hospitals still lack medicine, qualified staff and equipment. But the problems are not insurmountable. Just as we have worked hand-in hand politically to come this far, we can, in the same spirit do so economically.
First we must eschew corruption and pervasive nepotism. The “whom-you-know” syndrome of transacting business must give way to “who- knows -how- to-do-it” mentality. The tendency of awarding contracts and giving appointments to relatives, friends, classmates, schoolmates, or members of certain political persuasion must be stopped. We must not be only seen to be doing what is right but more importantly doing what is right - whether someone is looking on or not.
Once again we salute Ghanaians both at home and all over the world, a Happy 48th birthday and hope that succeeding anniversaries will bring more stability and good news to cheer up.