No matter how tight we close our eyes to reality, it still remains reality. For some time now we are deceived to believe that the future is bright; that it is utopian in nature, and that ‘bibiaa bᶓyᶓ fine.’ Those are comforting but untrue statements if you ask me.
Although there are some we can be proud of – selfless individuals giving meritorious service and working assiduously to ‘good’ the bad, and better the good (God bless them), majority of us are way below the belt. Truth is, our ears as people prefer to hear the good lies than the bad truth. This is why most of the time some politicians and leaders lie to us and we hail them for their lies. Perhaps, the truth is bitter and we would not clap our hands and hail if we were told. Sometimes we settle for the lies because the truth doesn’t make us feel comfortable, but I take inspiration from my friends from the romantic Vandal city (University of Ghana) who believe the TRUTH STANDS!
When we can watch Hollywood movies and Korean series and play games for hours but doze off when we pick books to read, it becomes difficult to believe the future is bright – because less priority is placed on productivity. When almost every BECE or WASSCE paper is seen on social media before they are written, can we hope for a bright future with people who easily compromise? When a gradually liberalizing society doesn’t discourage immorality, indiscipline and sexual perversion, what principles are there to guide the conduct of tomorrow’s leaders? When as students we go for lectures late or few minutes to time but crave impatiently for the lecturer to say ‘see you next week’, you want me to believe we won’t go to work late and want to close before time?
Take a look at the conduct of student leaders, sorry, student politicians. While the youth continue to sing the chorus of disappointing politicians in the national flank, most are doing worse than the people they criticize. The student front is dying with politics of identity. Leadership has shifted to an issue of partisan affiliation, religion, tribe, looks, and other trivialities. Do we expect a bright future with this? It is very shameful that 21st century youth dance to tunes of tribalism and religious bigotry, how pathetic!
The under performance of many SRCs, and student unions like USAG, NUGS, PUSAG, GUPS paint a picture of how bleak the future looks if these are the same people to lead the nation subsequently. The youth as agents of change have become wiser at corruption and fiscal malfeasance than any age group, fighting for personal interest in place of the people’s interest. These repulsive tendencies are unarguably not only inimical to a bright future, but also occludes the path to progress even today.
Talk of our educational system, it is one that enslaves us rather than equip us with the needed skills and knowledge to aptly effect change in our society. It more often than not rewards us for memorizing and pouring out theories and concepts of others who lived long before our time, theories that are of little applicability and pertinence to our daily lives in relation to the problems we face as a country. Why won’t we have a snowballing graduate population against few job opportunities? I strongly hold that OUR EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM IS ONE OF THE LEADING CAUSES OF GRADUATE UNEMPLOYMENT in this country. Can I ask what our universities are training us to be? When conference speakers tell us entrepreneurship is the way yet we are not trained to be entrepreneurs, what do you expect? Only a few smart and well-connected ones eventually get there, leaving the chunk of people wandering from one place to the other. Majority of the leaders who claim to be investing in education have their wards and close relatives studying abroad or in international schools, have we bothered to ask ourselves why it is so? Isn’t it strange that they that brought us free education at pre-tertiary levels don’t allow their wards go through the free ‘good’ education system they have provided for us?
It is execrable that we train civil engineers right here in our universities but contract whites to travel from their countries way down to build our roads for us while our trained engineers complain of unemployment. Nkrumah lied! He said that the black man was capable of managing his own affairs, but the black man over the years has proved him wrong. The black man has bowed to the supremacy of the West and runs to it like a baby to the mother for help all the time. I ask again, how bright is the future? We have a virtually free health care system (NHIS it is called), yet those who initiate this free service travel abroad to access healthcare and check-up from time to time. They run to white doctors because the locally trained doctors are ‘too good’ to be trusted with their health. Does this suggest something? WE ARE A PEOPLE NOT PROUD OF OUR OWN, and this applies not to leaders alone.
As young men, we take pride in singing praises and arguing earnestly and enthusiastically as supporters of football teams like Real Madrid and Barcelona, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester and others in a way that makes me wonder if our lives depended on their success. I then wonder if foreign nationals will come down to support our Hearts of Oak, Kotoko, New Edubiase, Great Olympics, Abusua Dwarfs and Bofoakwa Tano. We export so much goods into the country, and the average Ghanaian’s unspeakable thirst for these foreign goods is on the acclivity, leaving our local products glaring forlornly at their sellers’ face in the market whiles agricultural products rot.
The inordinate drive to get rich quick mostly to impress onlookers drives the youth into all kinds of dangerous shortcuts to ‘make it big’. Ask, and you will be told that the end justifies the means. Majority of us want to be successful, but only few match the desire for success with commitment, determination, hard work and trust in the Almighty. We all want to see development but only few of us are ready to contribute to see that development. As if angels will descend from heaven to move our country forward when we fail to do so. I do believe that a positive attitude and conduct definitely will translate into positive outcomes and vice versa. Ah well, maybe we can keep on doing the same things and expect different results. Maybe we can sow maize and reap millet. I have not taken an entrenched position on this (that the future is not bright), but if nothing changes, nothing will change.
Having said the future is not bright, I know they will come after me. They will say I am too negative for not applying cosmetics to the truth. And like Sir Walter Raleigh in ‘The Soul’s Errand’, I will ‘give them the lie’: the lie that we will have a future where corruption will be alien, where the black man will be emancipated from mental slavery, a future where Accra floods will be history and cholera will never surface, and that we would have the best leaders who will take Ghana to Canaan. The way forward is CHANGE! Change in our systems, attitude, mind-set… everything! It starts from you and I, until then, DON’T BE DECEIVED!
Stephen Senyo Tettegah (UG Student)