It was Benjamin Franklin who said that honesty is the best policy. But in Africa, for me, patriotism is the best policy.
The title of this article is inspired and associated with President Jimmy Carter's 1979 famous speech he delivered entitled "a crisis of confidence" when the USA economy took a serious nosedive due to several litanies of woes and problems that shook the American democratic, economic, and spiritual foundations.
Though my piece would not entirely hinge on the body of that speech by the USA President, it is to passionately appeal to President Akuffu Addo to swallow the humble pear and let Ghanaians appreciate the reality on the ground at this period of our economic tribulations, by engaging them like President Jimmy Carter engaged Americans in 1979 at Camp David to listen to the voices of America.
Because, according to Thomas Woodrow Wilson, the 28Th American President, "the ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people."
In that speech, President Jimmy Carter asked "Why have we not been able to get together as a nation to resolve our serious energy problem?" and explained that "it’s clear that the true problems of our nation are much deeper -- deeper than gasoline lines or energy shortages, deeper even than inflation or recession. And I realize more than ever that as President I need your help. So, I decided to reach out and to listen to the voices of America."
President Akufu Addo must understand that the nation's problem is "deeper -- deeper" than Vigilantism, Dumsor, Corruption, etc.
The problem of the country is not about "incompetence", it is the absence of patriotism in this country.
Of course, many missteps could have been taken by the previous government that landed them in the trouble of economic mismanagement, but they certainly had brains in their skulls.
Just like the general dissatisfaction of Ghanaians in the current government, which is not borne out of cognitive failure, but a symptom of a deeper malaise that has bedeviled Ghana.
In my silent mode of reflection, I have closely studied the trend of governance of our dear nation like a Holy Book, and it is not incompetence on the part of managers, it is lack of patriotism and the ongoing global economic "cold war", hegemony, and superiority, that is being played by the world's economic giants whose presence suppresses and won't allow a limited literate and developing country like Ghana to perform and shine economically.
The "touchline" economic analysis His Excellency Dr. Bawumia did while in opposition, I think, can be forgiven by Ghanaians.
It is not too late to confess and have the courage to retrace steps back in order to chart a better economic path.
I have a believe that if the current administration fails Ghanaians, we won't be doomed forever but it may take more than a century for Ghana to develop.
But it appears the government is shy to open up on their frustrations because of the awaiting accusatory finger of the main opposition.
However, it is obvious that we can't cure epilepsy with contraceptives.
With the hugely dependent on importation economy of the country, aside what I have mentioned above, no amount of economic competence can rescue us if we continue to abhor the attitude of "eat what you grow" and "patronize what you produce".
And it doesn't take rocket science to do that.
It only requires patriotic and charismatic leadership of any President that the citizens, and not party food soldiers, would listen to so as to retool their thinking from partisan mindset to patriotic mindset.
Mind you, you cannot give what you don't have. President Akufu Addo must himself be patriotic, detribalized, decolorized politically, just, and see all Ghanaians as equal before the constitution.
In that case, every attempt must be made to discourage "Akanization", "Dagbanization", and "New-Patriotic-Party-nization" of the country.
You can't manage a people majority of whom don't recognize your management.
If a greater section of the populace you are working for as a President don't and won't recognize you as their President, you are a nuisance and disservice to the nation.
Unfortunately, in our entire history as a country, there has never been a President of the country whom every Ghanaian sees as such.
Some section of the populace always refer to him as "your President".
Fellow Ghanaians, how are we going to grow and develop as a country if we continue to have Presidents of political parties and not of the country?
Mr. President, I think this is a moment of truth: it is your time and opportunity to shape our political consciousness by inculcating patriotism in us that you must epitomize yourself.
Then, you now let us know what our problem is, which is over reliance on other countries' manufactures and produce; the fact that majority don't pay tax to government; and our inability to embrace one another as Ghanaians.
Tell us to be patriotic enough to buy and eat the produce of our farmers. Tell us to resist any temptation to buy food from America, China, Taiwan etc.
Tell us to, out of love for our country, pay some annual tax of ¢20 or more or less for our homes we live in, the vehicles we drive, including motorcycles, to the country we love.
Ghanaians who can donate to help the course of the "Ghana Development Agenda" should come forth.
Mr. President, refurnish and refurbish our House of Parliament with locally manufactured furniture.
Cut down your salary and the salaries of your Vice, MPs, Ministers.
Increase the salaries of teachers, doctors, security agencies etc.
Let the people see you working for them and not your party members.
Avoid cronyism, nepotism, and crash the yoke of "familiocracy".
Your Excellency, to speak for all Ghanaians to listen to you you must punish crime regardless the ethnic, political, religious affiliations of culprits.
You don't need any legislation.
Stop covering up crimes and protecting criminals whose crimes, be they political or anarchical crimes, are in the full glare of everyone to see.
You are the Commander-in-chief of Ghana armed forces, not a Defender-in-chief of Delta or Invincible Forces.
Let Ghanaians see the change you preached goes beyond swearing in a different and a new personality into the Seat of Government.
You would have defined patriotism in practical terms beyond the eloquence and lip service to the amazement but admiration of Ghanaians.
The guinea fowl's chicks must not crawl if their mothers fly.
This would have reflected in citizens so quickly as a foundation of every successful leadership for you to continue.
The 'Four Modernisations’ Chinese development Agenda designed by Deng Xiaoping to improve and grow the fields of agriculture, industry, defense, science and technology, would not have been possible if some Chinese didn't recognize Deng Xiaoping as their leader.
Lee Kuan Yew successfully did the same in Singapore because, the people loved their country.
Sheik Mohamed Rashid Al Maktoum turned a "deserted Dubai" into a place of luxury for majority of Ghanaian politicians because, he laid the foundation of love for one's country first.
To build patriotism in Ghanaians is your greatest task for now not free Senior High School, not one-village-one-dam, not one-district-one-factory, not one-million-dollar-one-constituency.
Forget about flying drones.
Mr. President remember, "if your fundamentals are weak", no amount of propaganda can save you. "The exchange rate will expose you"!
Your most fundamental leadership fundamental that can help you build Ghana, is not the economic jargons though they matter, it is inculcation of patriotism in Ghanaians first.
Concentrate on Planting for Food and Jobs.
And be a President for all.
Be a Father for all.
And together, Ghanaians would build Ghana for you.
Long Live Mr. President,
Long Live Ghana.
The writer is a student at KNUST, Department of Religious Studies.
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