Ghana’s Developmental Process And Nationalism At Present: A Critical Appraisal

It is indisputable that Ghana at the moment is considered as one of the fastest developing countries in the world today.

In the light of this fact, many a concerned Ghanaian may be tempted to pose the important pertinent question: is there enough nationalism and for that matter, patriotism to fuel and fire the pace at which Ghana is developing now?

Obviously, an unbiased and sincere answer to this important question will not be all that commendable for the present Ghanaian situation.

The level of nationalism or patriotism in the present Ghanaian developmental process is woefully wanting in comparison to the levels of nationalism prevailing in highly developed and advanced Euro-American countries like Britain, the U.S, France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Spain, Portugal etc.

It is necessary and compelling in the context of the purpose of this article to explicitly define the word or term nationalism for the benefit of readers.

According to the New International Websters Comprehensive Dictionary of the English Language Encyclopedic Edition, Nationalism is defined as follows: devotion to the nation as a whole, patriotism. Also the Webster Dictionary of the English Language International Edition defines nationalism as devotion to one’s nation advocacy of national unity or independence. The Collins Authoritative Dictionary with Thessarus also defines the word nationalism as follows: Nationalism is a desire for the independence of a country, also a political movement aiming to achieve such independence.

In the light of the foregoing definitions of nationalism, it can be established that in the present Ghanaian developmental situation, nationalism is rare as pointed out earlier.

Looking at Ghana’s position as highly endowed with great abundance of natural resources and also in possession of sufficiently developed human resource, one would have expected a higher level of development than what is evident now in the Ghanaian situation.

Analyzing and evaluating the present unenviable level of economic growth, development and prosperity of Ghana, one can attribute this unfortunate situation to a number of factors which prominently include nationalism.

Due to the non-existence of a strong nationalism among some Ghanaians, there are numerous levels of corruptible practices in the country such as stealing of government’s money to satisfy their lusts and desires.

Owing to lack of honesty, integrity accountability among some government appointees and public office holders in the country, the country loses millions of money annually, which is meant for the development of projects. In addition, for the lack of good and proper management of government’s properties and facilities, the diversion of governments goods, properties, facilities and money to satisfy individual’s interests and also much waste in the public sector of governance, the country is heavily drained in revenue generation to build a buoyant economy for a healthy development of the country.

Individual Ghanaian citizens, and Ghanaiansbusiness corporations and small scale Ghanaian business enterprises owned by Ghanaians often evade tax payments and the general apathetic attitude by Ghanaians workers toward work such as frequent absenteeism and unpunctuality to work are anti-nationalistic in the Ghanaian situation, which does not augur well for healthy economic growth, development and prosperity of the country.

It must be noted that all countries in the contemporary modern world today, which have achieved greatness in economic growth, development and prosperity owe much to their achievementsto a high sense of nationalism or patriotism among the citizens of these countries.

The spirit of nationalism had been used in Ghana and other African countries for the agitation and struggle for the achievement of political independence. This had manifested in political organisations, for example in Ghana like the United Gold Coast Convention (U.G.C.C) The Convention Peoples Party (C.P.P) and also in Kenya, the Mau Mau political organisation and the Northern People’s Organisation in Nigeria etc.

It must be noted that these national movements did a lot to win political independence for many African countries in which they existed but these same political organizations failed to imbue the same spirit of nationalism or patriotism among the people so that the people will become strongly conscientised in nationalism for the development of their respective countries.

In the Ghanaian situation, one can say that the spirit of nationalism that saw Ghana under the leadership of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah gaining political independence from British colonial rule and exploitation, waned considerably and rarely existed when the country feverishly began to peruse her developmental programmes. This situation is also attributable to the other African countries which had fought with strong nationalism to gain political independence from European colonialism and exploitation.

Instead of a stronger sense of nationalism or patriotism for that matter, to fuel and ginger the developmental process of Ghana and other African countries, it withered away and brought in its trail self-centeredness selfishness, greed, avarice, in ordinate ambitions to wield political power for the amassing of wealth at the expense of the ordinary citizens.

This state of affairs did great havoc and stifled developmental process in African countries; and consequently made what Ghana and the rest of Africa are in the eyes of the world today ––– under development!

In the Ghanaian situation, nationalism or patriotism is scorned and looked down upon as something which is foolish and unwise that people should follow,and also with popular anti-government slogans such as “government is not the property of your father” Abannyewo papa adwuma” etc.

In the present Ghanaian situation there is no fear among Ghanaians to steal government’s money to evade tax and to commit any horrible crime financially against the state. Few Ghanaians who try to exhibit nationalism or patriotism are ridiculed and given derogatory names that are demoralizing!

Obviously, such similar situations prevail in many African countries today; and this is not in the interest of Africa! How can Ghana and Africa achieve any realistic and meaningful development, when this kind of baneful character in the context of nationalism or patriotism prevail?

The typical Ghanaian and for that matter, the African is inherently anti-nationalistic and anti-patriotic in outlook and orientation; and has very little love for his country and not willing to “die” for his country. He is ever ready to sell his country for a mess of pottage; and has earnest desire for what his country can do for him instead of what he can do for his country.

This unfortunate state of affairs in Ghana and Africa constitute strong contradiction to what obtains in the U.S, Germany, Britain, France etc and other highly developed countries elsewhere in the modern world today. If Ghanaian citizens are so much bereft and empty of nationalism and patriotism to help the country to progress and advance in development, then how can Ghana as a country make a mark in the modern world today? This question also applies to all African countries in their continual developmental process.

Without much nationalism or patriotism among Ghanaians and Africans, Africa will continue to lag behind Euro-American countries and elsewhere in developmental process and achievements.

By a systematic analysis and evaluation of nationalism, one can safely say that in order to catch up with levels of development in Euro American countries and elsewhere Ghanaians must work very hard and eschew anti nationalism and corruptible practices; and change their character to serve as inspiration to other Africans countries to follow.

Ghana at present is pursuing the Ghanabeyond Aid Agenda; and it is highly imperative for Ghanaians to exhibit a stronger spirit of nationalism and patriotism in order to make this developmental agenda very successful.

In conclusion, I have the optimism that the Ghana Beyond Aid Agenda will succeed as Ghanaians will surely change their hitherto negative anti-nationalistic attitude and put their whole weight and support for this all-important development agenda in the annals of Ghana since independence. For,nationalism and patriotism are indispensable in the process of development of countries, and Ghana cannot be an exception to this universal rule.

By Michael Akenno

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