The world is a composition of many nations, but it is not very easy to understand the differences between the many nations and why other nations are always ahead of others.
African nations for instance keep lagging behind while, many other nations progress by the day.
In his book titled the ‘PAPER- NATION,’ Nana Oppong a renewned Ghanaian Lawyer explains the types of nations that exist in the world and carefully shows the position of African nations with major emphasis on Ghana.
As President of the Distinguished Scholars of Africa, Nana Oppong splits the nations of the world into two different types which he described as True and Paper- nations.
The book describes a true nation as a people on a permanent mission under a great sacred order and a paper -nation on the other hand, as the direct opposite of a true nation.
Nana Oppong presents all African nations as a paper nations, with an indication that the paper- nation is built on wishes, the declarations and temporary arrangements of some men, its foundations are relatively weak, the paper-nation is distinctly without a great spirit and it is the flimsiest of nations.
The book presents vivid conditions of paper- nation and explains further that the core architecture of the paper- nation is framed on the rule of a few men over all men and its systems charactised by impossible governance structure and a culture of the profane and the unstable.
“The Paper-nation is not founded on any deep or great value; it jumped out of nowhere into nationhood through protest, declarations, wish-lists and bureaucracies penned by school men, it has no prime mover of action except cash only, therefore only paying projects see the light of day, where there is no money, no initiatives, and projects are left to die, regardless of their benefits to the nation”
Concentration of national resources lies in the hands of few people in a paper-nation. For at least four years at a time, a few men can do whatever they want with the resources, the power and the future of an entire people and every action of theirs approved by the majority, is lawful and binding on the nation for ever whether the action is great or criminal.
People are sheperded along incoherent narratives and learned mediocrities, became the people in a paper-nation are not schooled in the best of sciences, they are not encouraged to be self-governing but are educated to be dependent upon and be obedient to those at the top and their partners.
Segregation is very common between communities in a paper-nation, municipalism is a dominant feature in such nations and this often leads to the absence of necessary collaborations, permanent cooperation of experts which are key productivity, effectiveness and efficiencies within the nation. The book further portrays a paper-nation as a nation with order at the top and chaos at the bottom.
“Because there are fewer people with access to national resources and power, those at the top are more organized and more efficient than those at the bottom, those at the bottom live mainly in survivalist camps and drink chaos-water,” says the book.
It further explains that there are unhelpful and structural dependence of the population on the few at the top, which in turn creates an overloading and repeating failures of the economies of the system, which also leads to the weakness of the people and further empowerment of those at the top.
The bottom line is that the system of governance of the paper -nation is inherently hierarchical and it cannot accommodate true nationhood defined as rule of all men by all men, and using a paper-nations system for a true nationhood is likely to suddenly turning all traffic from a large city towards a narrow single lane made purposely to accommodate village traffic only.
A paper nation is inthe end described by the book as a nation with no living spirit of the nation to summon, to inspire and to lead. A nation with no true citizenship to call upon for sacrifices, a nation with no passion, it lacks self-reference and it is highly vulnerable to seduction, manipulation and subversion by leaders.
Nana Oppong in his writing, further encourages Ghanaians to own the country and take charge of issues where ever they find themselves in the country. People should not be dependent on government since it was wrong for the government to possess all authority and resources of the nation.
By Linda Aryeetey