In Africa, Ghana particularly, we are too spiritual. We are more spiritual than God! One thing we never forget to take wherever we find ourselves is… our religion. We give ourselves religious names. We crave for spiritual titles. We christen our properties religiously. We put so much hope in God to help us… yet do nothing to help ourselves.
Aside our spirituality, we are very good at having fun. We give them all sorts of names with a dash of diplomacy; inauguration, commissioning, sod-cutting, name them. We inaugurate everything; even KVIPs. Don’t you just love Ghana!? It’s indeed fun (I mean funny) to sometimes be a Ghanaian… because we love fun!
Some weeks back, an outdooring (inaugural ceremony) was held for our long-awaited baby; power barges. After several promises and deadlines, they finally docked at our Tema port. As I sat behind my TV watching this prayer-accompanied ‘outdooring’ of which we were promised an even bigger one by His Excellency President Mahama later, many questions ran through my mind.
A few of such questions I couldn’t stop asking was, “Is this ceremony a need, want or neither of the two? What has God even gotten to do with these power barges for Him to be invited?” In a country where we pride ceremonies and titles over deeds/results, I wasn’t too surprised. Nothing surprises me anymore. Our lust for fun has always been an impediment to our development.
We budget for our wants (and those that don’t even qualify to be wants), yet care less about our needs. I’ve always maintained that until we get to know what indeed our priorities are as a nation, our needs will always be our wants… and our wants, our needs.
We have been so used to mediocrity that little, to us, means so much. In the abundance of nothing, little is much indeed. In the abundance of ‘dumsor’, power badges are so much. Indeed, that’s how far we have come. Halleluyah!
We celebrate nothingness. What is there to celebrate about short-term solutions? What is ceremonious about a solution whose deadline is coterminous with a political office? What is there to celebrate about power barges which won’t be a solution to our ‘dumsor-ness’? Our nation should run on the wheels of solutions which will last a lifetime and not otherwise.
The best solution to every emergency is to permanently solve it so it doesn’t recur. We do exactly otherwise. We only ‘manage’ it (for political reasons somewhat) only for it to continue hanging around our necks year after year. And as it continues to do so… we either blame it on God or the devil.
For how long will we continue to make ridicule of ourselves in the sight of the global world? We always have a way of finding temporary solutions to permanent problems! We are so skillful at such. When the other world prefers to move forward, we are experts at moving in circles (and cycles) because all our solutions seem to be nine days’ wonders. They collapse after a few years and we relapse into our mess!
We juggle our problems for four (4) years and they juggle us, in turn, for the next four (4) years. We pretend to solve our problems and they also pretend to have been solved. Until we indeed draw a clear line between permanent and temporary solutions, God can’t help us much.
We have overly built our faith in God. That’s great. But… it shouldn’t render us a lazy people; a people always expecting their problems to be solved by others; a people who can’t even tell what their wants are… let alone their needs.
We may be all spiritual by inviting God at an inaugural ceremony of power barges, but until we make a conscious effort to think (emphasis on think!) to find permanent solutions to our problems, He can’t just barge in on temporary power barges and miraculously turn them into permanent ones!
Our fate as a people is in our hands. We can’t keep on celebrating mediocrity and finding a way to console ourselves with spirituality. We have always found a ‘spiritual’ excuse for our poverty. The kingdom of God, after all, belongs to the poor in spirit… not poor in physical! The biblical Good Samaritan wouldn’t have named if all he had was good intentions… not money.
A poor country isn’t any closer to Heaven than the rich one. We are the architects of our own poverty and/or riches. Until we stop pretending to solve our problems, our religiosity would as well be a pretense. We need to know what qualifies to be our needs or wants and those that are neither of these.
Some ‘needless’ expenses can be cut down as a people especially in these trying times. That’s only when some of us can indeed believe that we are living in hard economic times. If we continue to live extravagantly (as we always have), then no one would believe times are hard. Go tell that to the marines.
Am I saying the inaugural ceremony (and subsequent ceremonies for the same power barges) was needless? Maybe yes. Am I also saying the power barges are not a need but want? Maybe yes. Maybe no. Power is one defining sector of our economy. What we need now is a permanent solution to this permanent problem; not a temporary one. And… let’s leave God out of this.
Today, I am glad to have a miracle now as I type this piece. I have lights. Praise God for such a miracle. Did I just say we should leave God out of this? Haha.
Written by: Kobina Ansah
The writer is the Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications, a writing company in Accra. (www.scribecomltd.com)