Tuesday's announcement by the National Identification Authority that Ghanaians without passports and birth certificates can now register for the Ghana Card was a stunning reversal of its once stringent position, but a welcome development, nonetheless.
Amid the uproar, confusion and obfuscation, the NIA's decision couldn't have come at a better time and is certain to clear the air surrounding the Ghana Card, besides creating a groundswell of unrestrained joy in urban and rural areas where previously exasperated Ghanaians can now breathe easy and look forward to laying their hands on those "precious" Ghana Cards.
I can't assign any specific reason for the sudden 180 degrees turn by the NIA either than to assert that it buckled under pressure, not from a howling, hyper-partisan opposition, but from a deeply suspicious and highly skeptical Ghanaian public. And, it capitulated big time.
That it took the Authority this long to finally jettison two burdensome and much criticized requirements for the Ghana Card is emblematic of the general inertia, red tape and bureaucracy that plague our national agencies. I must say with certitude that the Authority failed to do due diligence until it reeled from stinging criticism. That is a crying shame.
While some may bristle at the suggestion that the NIA harbors ulterior motives, it is worth pointing out that its continued insistence until this week on passports and birth certificates as prerequisites for the Ghana Card indicated an agency tied at the hip with its political paymasters.
On a positive note, I commend the National Identification Authority for wriggling out of a problem foisted on it by a reckless parliament. You see, when public policy is pored over and tweaked once or twice and it is all done for the common good, society emerges victorious, we all become winners.
Ghanaians, those without passports and birth certificates, have been given a reprieve by the National Identification Authority; they should thus seize the opportunity to go out in their numbers and register for the Ghana Cards. Doing that serves a useful purpose and puts everyone on the same leveled playing field and the right to access government services, not to mention the right to vote.