Independence day is time to take stock of where we are headed as a nation
On Monday we celebrated our nation’s 60th independence from colonial rule, and the joy was palpable; there was the usual pomp and pageantry and our politicians as was expected made predictable proclamations while renewing their commitment to help the nation overcome its cluster of problems.
We have definitely come a long way since the late President Kwame Nkrumah and other notable heroes of Ghana overwhelmingly convinced and the British that we were ready to conduct our own affairs. 60 years of determining our national destiny, mapping out our collective fate is no mean achievement. It is, indeed, a remarkable one.
However, independence day is always time to sit back and take stock of what we have achieved as a nation. Politically, our country has never been more stable. And the six successful and violence free elections we have had during which we freely and fairly chose our political representatives bear testimony to our democratic bona-fides.
What is more, we have managed against all odds to put behind us the ugly era of military intervention when our democracy was constantly threatened; no more will those we have trusted with the security of our nation ever again usurp power, push aside a democratically elected government and trample on our human rights. Our hopes and aspirations for a better and prosperous society now rest on our politicians.
On the economic front, it has not been a pretty picture despite what our politicians say. Truth be told, our economy is still in a tailspin, and has been for decades. And the evidence of the stagnation can been seen in the crowds of the unemployed, especially among our young men and women, who are struggling mightily to find jobs and start their lives.
Previous governments put in resources to find answers to the unemployment problem, but it is still persistent, which only means that the current government must do more to help our youth if it is to avoid an eventual social upheaval.
Our educational system has undergone a series of changes, but that has not been accompanied by progress; yes, universities, both private and public, have sprung up to cater to the needs of a growing number of students.
However, that does not negate the fact that our students at the lower tier of the system still suffer from inadequate and poor facilities and the acute lack of books. Our remarkable teachers, hard working as they are, don’t get the vital support they need from government to carry out their duties.
In his address on independence day, president Akuffo Addo reminded Ghanaians that after sixty years of freedom, there should be no more excuses for our poor performance, our slow pace of development.
I share the president’s view and agree with him wholeheartedly; we cannot continue to blame our erstwhile colonial masters and the western world for our problems, many of which are our own creation.
If we are to develop on all fronts, there are certain basic rules and norms we should follow religiously; work hard, eschew corruption, put the nation above our narrow parochial interest, but above all, it begins with obeying simple municipal laws, like not running the red light at a traffic stop when it is not your turn to go.
Our journey from March 6, 1957, to this day has been one of success and failures, disappointments and hope. And through it all, we have persevered, soldiering on, pushing and working hard for the collective good of our nation.