The University of Ghana campus at Legon was a bee-hive of activities over the weekend. Legon held its 2010 congregation, sending out as many as 5,000 graduates to the job market.
In a country where job openings are becoming narrower by the day, it is a challenging prospect for this nation to accommodate all the new graduates in our offices and other job centres.
While the university was celebrating the achievements of its new graduates, two prominent Africans were also sharing their views on the same campus on how Africa could overcome its myriad of problems and move towards fulfilling the Millennium Challenge Goal of reducing poverty on the continent by half by 2015.
Dr. Mo Ibrahim, the Sudanese-born British business tycoon who has set aside $5 million annually to be given to a retired African head of state who best exhibited the art of good governance while in office, delivered a lecture at the Great Hall on Friday evening.
On Saturday, Dr. Ibn Chambas, newly-elected Secretary-General of the African-Caribbean-Pacific group had a date with students, fellows and the alumni of the Mensah Sarbah Hall in the 19th edition of the Alumni Celebrity Platform.
Both lecturers based their themes on the concept of African economic renaissance. Both traced the problems of the continent to bad leadership, coup d'etats that propped up military dictators with no experience in the art of leadership and who plundered resources on the 53 countries making up the African continent.
“We have a very rich continent yet we are the poorest on earth. After 50 years, I do not think we can blame the colonialists for our woes…Countries such as Egypt, Sudan and Ghana, among others, had higher GDP (Gross Domestic Product) than many countries in Asia. But 50 years after self-rule, we cannot blame the colonialists for our woes”, Dr. Mo Ibrahim charged.
Dr. Chambas, on the other hand, encouraged students to take advantage of the new Information Communications Technology to prepare themselves adequately to become agents for change.
Given the fast rate at which events are changing on the international scene, “you have got to run just to remain where you are”, he said to wild applause.
On Sunday, President John Evans Atta-Mills virtually threw his arms in despair by asking the Bearded Old Man above (my apology to Mr. William Donkor now deceased and until his unfortunate demise author of the Baffour column in the Spectator) to descend from the high heavens to take over the Presidency of the Republic.
The head of state's invitation, extended at a national thanksgiving inter denominational service at the Independence Square in Accra, might have thrilled the clergy and Christian fundamentalists, but it did little to assure the populace that under the leadership of the sitting head of state this country could diffuse tension in society created by the government's failure to deliver on its electoral promises.
At the time the head of state was seeking divine intervention, there was no liquefied gas for industrial and domestic use in Accra and many parts of the country.
For the past two weeks, most taxi cabs in the city which were encouraged to convert to gas to save energy have formed a long queue at the various filling stations instead of being on the road.
For that while, I have personally been without warm food in the house. The cylinder is permanently based in the boot of the jalopy as I comb the city without success. During my rounds the other day, I ran into people who had driven all the way from Takoradi in search of gas.
Trust Ghanaians to make fun of very serious situations. At one of the filling stations in the city, a driver waiting for gas recalled the statement the President once made in defence of accusations that the NDC administration was not performing.
“Slow But Sure”, according to our driver, was how the President described his administration's attitude to problem solving.
Our friend the cab driver had a word of advice for the head of state. President Atta Mills, he said, could buy a taxi cab and advertise his doctrine on it. “Slow But Sure”, he said, would be a better inscription on a cab than state policy.
Currently, it is not only gas that is in short supply. In most parts of the country, and especially in the rural areas, water is so scarce that folks have resorted to hiring taxi cabs to look for water in far away places.
The tap at Ekumfi Ekrawfo, for instance, has not run since last December, which brought Issah, the cab driver to his feet the other day.
For those in other parts of the country which might not know him, Issah was one of the committed foot soldiers of the NDC at Ekumfi Ekrawfo and throughout the Ekumfi Traditional area in the run-up to the 2008 Presidential and legislative elections.
Two weeks ago, he came home from work fuming. The source of his anger… Issah the driver has been unable to meet his sales target for quite a while since the new administration took power.
He took in a deep breath and began a series of innuendos directed at the sitting President of the Republic. Some of the words are unprintable.
They were downright insults. After hurling the insults for a long while, Issah sat comparing the eight year-rule of ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor with the one-year administration of President John Atta-Mills.
There are no prizes for guessing, which in the opinion of Issah the driver merits attention. “Come to think of it”, he exclaimed, “Kufuor set a very high standard in the art of governance.
Throughout his eight-year rule, there was no shortage of petrol. Gas was available. We did not experience water shortage and electricity bills were manageable.
Some of us were taken in by the campaign of Atta-Mills, because we thought, as the son of Ekumfi, he would help improve our lot”, he charged.
“We were thrilled by his declaration that he would put money in our pockets when voted into office. Now, the little in our pockets has been plundered by very wicked state policies.
Now the head of state is able to stand in Parliament to tell the nation that he never made such a pledge. We are waiting for him and his NDC in the next election. He should come back to the village square with his vain promises”, Issah charged.
It is exactly one year, two months and one week ago that President John Evans Atta-Mills took over the direction of state resources, promising to heal the wounds of disunity and lead this country to what he called a 'Better Ghana'.
One year down the line, there is general discontent. In place of unity, activities of the President and those who claim to believe in him have polarized society more than ever.
Now, if you are not a member of the National Democratic Congress, you are not considered worthy of attention.
On his first anniversary, President Atta Mills told the nation via a media briefing at the Castle that those who do not share his vision of national aspiration as enshrined in the NDC manifesto have no place in his development agenda.
In effect, the nearly 50 per cent of the Ghanaian populace who did not vote for him last December should fend for ourselves.
For the avoidance of doubt, refer to the Presidential statement issued through Mahama Ayariga, then Presidential Spokesperson, instructing ministers of state and other government appointees to take special care of NDC activists. In other words, the largesse of state is reserved for NDC operatives.
In those days of the cold war and hard core socialism in the Soviet Union, workers who were being offered meager wages openly taunted the system:
“So long as you pretend to pay us, we will also pretend to be working”. It is slowly dawning on Ghanaians that working to improve the economic base of this nation only translates into breaking one's back just to enable members of the NDC enjoy the fruits of one's labour.
Someone within the NDC ought to muster courage and tell the President in the face that not only has he failed so far, his actions and pronouncements are further polarizing the nation.
When the New Patriotic Party took office and had the offer to nominate a Secretary-General to run ECOWAS as chief executive, the Kufuor administration settled on Dr. Ibn Chambas, a deputy minister in the NDC administration. What do we see now?
When the opportunity came to replace Chambas, Prof. Atta-Mills and his NDC godfathers have settled on ailing Victor Gbeho because of his links with the NDC.
Akwasi Osei Adjei, Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Kufuor administration, a fine gentleman who would have been a perfect replacement for Ibn Chambas is rather under threat of jail. He is said to have aided the importation of rice to kill hunger in society. I shall return!
Source: Daily Guide/Ghana
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