19.12.2016 Feature Article

Who Can Fix The Tyre?

Who Can Fix The Tyre?
19.12.2016 LISTEN

In the Free World everything is fixed or fixable. We fix relationships, we fix marriages, we fix automobiles, we fix meals (breakfast, lunch and supper) and even corruption is fixable. But when things get tough and rough or go haywire you rarely get Mr. Fixer to fix the problem says Gordon Offin-Amaniampong.

The situation becomes more problematic in developing countries because the requisite tools, the manpower and institutions to help fix the problem might just not be available.

If you’d ever had a flat tyre (tire) on a highway or in the midst of a bad weather you’d understand this better. On Wednesday 30 November this year, I experienced that situation. It was cold and breezy accompanied by slight showers. I tried a couple of times to get it fixed after some people I’d called upon failed to show up or ignored me.

But I continued to ask for help. I never stopped until I found someone.

Mr. Brian Moore a fuel tanker driver came to my rescue. Brian jumped out from his double truck and helped me put my car back on the road.

The following day on Thursday December 1, I received this terse message: “Hope you were able to get your tire fixed. And I’m glad I could help you.” That was Brian my new friend.

Yes, Brian checked on me the next day. And yes I’d got it fixed.

What an awesome person-- an angel without wings. See, we all need help sometimes. There are times we cry for help and it seems that life line isn’t available or might never come. There are some battles we cannot fight and win on our own-- we would need backup troop or external force to help get it done. Nonetheless, there are some people who have refused to admit they’re sick or have a problem. They simply decline to access support because they carry egos.

A professor once asked his students if they could get their tyre fixed whiles they were on a safari.

“Who can change the tyre on the vehicle?” the professor asked.

Trapped in sludge with a deflated tyre the group had an awful experience during their first ever expedition to Kenya in East Africa. Their vehicle wasn’t just trapped in that quagmire but they’d found themselves in a serious trouble.

Apparently the group’s vehicle had run into a ditch midway causing the tyre to deflate. And within minutes they’d some strange visitors from a village nearby the excursion place surrounded their vehicle.

The macho-looking guys had yellow-gold coats on. They looked strong with compact bodies and powerful forelegs, sharp teeth and wild jaws. The visitors stood guard by the disabled vehicle snuffling and pawing the vehicle’s windows. Their impressive manes signified their masculinity and reflected their health.

They’d resolved to keep guard from dawn to dusk until the occupants in the vehicle stepped out. And it appeared all the excitement the group had carried in their pockets and backpacks was fading so fast.

The guys had come to give the travelers a welcome party but none of them was ready to attend. The professor who asked the question had closed his eyes in a way to tame his blood pressure levels. Meanwhile, the guys stood still making sure not a single soul escaped from the trapped vehicle.

“Is there no one amongst you who can fix this problem?” the professor wondered.

Silent had consumed noisiness and even the dare-devils among the group wouldn’t dare to utter a word. Everything was done in motion, eyes amazed at what they saw as everyone remained tight-lipped. A few minutes later the professor repeated the question but this time no one would even look him in the eyes let alone make a sound. Nobody appeared ready to do what might be seen as the unthinkable.

It’s obvious no one would dare come out to fix or change a flat tyre when you’ve six hungry lions on guard. Probably there were a handful of them or more who could fix the problem but fear had also joined them. Or was it apathy? I day say it wasn’t apathy. I’m told amongst them were, mechanics and automobile engineers.

The question is what do you do when you’re faced with such a dire situation?

That’s how a country looks like when it’s drowned in corruption. Nobody has what it takes to fight it. Nobody seems to know how to get out from the danger zone. Why would the professor (in this case the leader of the group) ask his students if they could fix the problem?

What was he doing himself?
And why was he chosen to lead?
They say to lead is to bleed and uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. Many leaders particularly in our part of the world have failed the peoples because of corruption. It’s a disease which is difficult to fight because even the one fighting it is himself corrupt. I mentioned it in one of my write-ups somewhere. Nonetheless, I will go ahead and raise the issue once again here.

A man told his two sons who were leaving their village to the big city: When you hear people say there’s corruption here and corruption there: Ask them are you corrupt?

Obviously the response you’ll get is no.
So who are those engaged in corruption? Do we know them or do we know ourselves?

Is it too hard to find them and too tough to bring them to face justice?

Or we are acting like the proverbial ostrich?
Corruption resides everywhere in our social milieu and it would be extremely difficult to fight it if in the first place we don’t admit we’ve all been corrupted and are corrupt. It doesn’t matter who and where it occurs---- it’s either you in person or the office you occupy .You’re corrupt, it doesn’t matter where you take the bribe or receive it. Be it on the streets, in the classrooms, at the offices, at the border posts or at the airports, on the high seas or underground the value is the same. It is still corruption.

Ironically, everyone pretends to be sacrosanct when it comes to dealing with this social canker.

How can we deal with the problem if we’ve no knowledge of its source or cause?

Or is it because all of us have been corrupted?
Without a doubt we can slaughter corruption if we begin to point the accusing fingers to ourselves rather than someone else.

The students (call them managers) in the trapped vehicle appeared to have no idea, no clue and no clout to find solutions. The CEO or the leader of the group in this the case the professor also seemed to have lost touch with reality. Instead of taking the initiative he was asking his students if there weren’t anybody amongst to fix the problem.

Who can come out to face a hungry lion? Or how can Satan fight against Satan?

It wouldn’t work. And it hasn’t worked since we ushered into the Fourth Republic. Perhaps they all had egos which made it difficult for them to reach out for help. But this is one way to fight it. Appoint an anti-corruption Czar with an office that can go after the government and anybody deemed to be corruptible.

In neighbouring Nigeria one man was tasked to purge the system when it descended into the corruption quagmire. Renowned anti-corruption chief Mallam Ribadu became the country’s first executive chairman to fight corruption.

“With no money and no office, in four years I built that institution into one of the most successful and formidable anti-corruption agency not just in Africa but the world”, said Ribadu.

Indeed it takes a courageous leader to step up like biblical David against the Philistine giant Goliath.

And we can even make it work better if we adhere to this simple phrase ‘Change begins with attitude’ echoed by Reverend John Tello Nelson. The Co-coordinating Minister of the Accra Ridge Church who officiated the New Patriotic Party (NPP’s) Victory Thanksgiving Service on Sunday stated:

“Beloved in the Lord the election on December 7, 2016, showed that many voted for change. But the honest truth is that the change can only happen by all of us having changed our attitudes—the corruption, greed, the lazy attitude to work, the I-don’t-care attitude, the pilfering in our offices, the lack of maintenance of government property, the nepotism, our tribalistic attitudes and the ‘The Ghana Time’ mentality.”

These are attitudes that we have to change, because if we have called for a change and we don’t eschew all these negative attitudes in our lives, the change can never happen.”