The Queen ceased being our head of state finally fifty-seven years ago, the commemoration of which was held last Saturday. Today’s holiday is about our attainment of the Republican status, suggesting therefore our full-fledged independence. Indeed, the lowering of the Union Jack on 6th March, 1957 had not sealed it yet until the symbolic action of July 1, 1960 which bestowed upon us the Republican status, the dignified tag of Republic of Ghana emanating thereof.
So many years into our maturity as a nation – our destiny in our hands, a constitutional order et al in place – it is important on such an occasion to take stock of what we have been able to achieve over the years.
A child born in 1960 must be heading for retirement from public or civil service. As a nation have we showed any sign of maturity in terms of efficient management of our affairs?
We might have forced the colonial authorities to leave us alone since after all, we demanded self-government now and not in the nearest future. We got it but we have not come near what we set out to achieve within a short time, in spite of the varied sugar-coated rhetoric on the public space by our political leaders.
Various constitutions have come and gone, denoting the bouts of political instability. It has been a chequered post-independence history even as we are still groping in the darkness of African politics of greed and avarice.
It is as distressing as it is interesting that we are still discussing issues about political propriety on the part of the leadership of the country when other subjects should have been those on the front burners.
We definitely could have done better than we have done. Greed and graft are still overwhelming us as a people; the new government in place not yet done with examining what went wrong in the past eight years, the effects still constituting impediments to our growth as a country.
Even as we celebrate the total severance of our political umbilical cord with the British, those who oversaw the transition, were they alive today, would have definitely lamented the slow pace of growth and what went wrong.
If Gordon Guggisberg planned a railway line from Takoradi to Paga and a Medical School for the Government Hospital, now Korle-Bu in his days as Governor of the Gold Coast, the relative stagnation is too obvious.
On occasions like this reflections on how far we have come as a nation should occupy our minds. This way we can chart fresh courses that can move us away from the state of hopelessness some of our political leaders have landed us in over the years. Imagine what the so-called revolution did to us as a country. A few days ago we marked the murder of three high court judges and a retired Major by agents of a notorious junta.
If many children cannot still access basic education and others still die from malaria and other manageable diseases so many years after our attainment of a Republican status, there is still much to do and we cannot clap for ourselves.
That is why our president – and not his predecessor – is on the verge of floating a free senior high school (SHS) project and unfolding factories in districts across the country to reverse the backwardness.
Ironically, those who could not do anything significantly to advance the cause of the country sought to ridicule these lofty projects.
The international responses suggest the confidence donors have in the flagship projects. Only such monumental developments can change the lot of our people.
Our Republican status will be meaningless if we are unable to point at really significant strides in terms of development. Anyway, happy Republic Day.