As we celebrate the 63rd anniversary of our independence, destiny summons us to a sacred duty. This nation of abundant hope and glory, which is yet to reach its potential and become the place God intended it to be, demands of its citizens to rise to the occasion of making Ghana great.
Fight for independence
An earlier generation risked life, limb and liberty in our fight for independence. They conceived of a nation based on the freedom of the individual and justice for all. We were a people mobilised with passion and a singular courage to take our destiny into our own hands to achieve greatness. There was an impelling purpose. It was a period when we believed in ourselves and believed that all things were possible.
The lead roles we took in the independence struggle of Africa put us in the position of Trustees for those in every country on the continent of Africa who sought a new path to development in order to mend the evil of our conditions. Failure meant that rational changes on the continent would be seriously prejudiced, leaving orthodoxy and radicalism and revolution to fight it out. However, if we succeeded, newer and bolder paths would be trod everywhere on this continent. Alas, that experiment did not work too well.
We in Ghana now stand on the perilous edge of the present between the past and the future to be, and are faced with all manner of difficulties.
The greatest of these perils is the lack of faith which sometimes seems to overcome us, the sense of frustration that dogs us, the sinking of the heart and of the spirit that comes upon us when we see the ideals for which our fathers and forefathers stood and fought for being undermined. When the great things that impelled us somehow pass into empty word, and life taking a different course.
Yet, I do believe, as the vast number of Ghanaians do, that this period of seeming peril will soon pass if only we would gird up our loins and face the tasks ahead with the same energy of spirit and boldness that impelled the earlier generations.
We must build a nation that is daring. A Ghana that is never afraid to ask difficult questions no matter how daunting the answers. A Ghana that sets lofty goals and pursues them relentlessly and in excellence. We must build the kind of nation that inspires us to embrace the future, to feel excited at the dawn of every new day, and view our past as a prologue, not a prison to hold us down. I believe in the future of this country, and I wish that future to be as bright and as brilliant as our beginning.
In a poem by Waddie Litchell, for the 2002 Olympic Games, he wrote, since mankind started walking, it has been swifter, higher, stronger, as if rushed by some deep need to keep limits unconfined. Always striving, always aiming for things bigger, better, longer in some unrelenting pursuit of perfection re-defined. And it is such a spirit that must animate this present generation for our national rejuvenation.
To quote Dr Henry Kissinger, “our past has set a framework which we must transcend. It is our fate that from such past, we have inherited some intractable problems and commitments that have momentum of their own. We must not act simply in accordance with the prevailing political consensus, even though the latter often runs counter to the necessities of history. We must not confine our actions to the amelioration of present circumstances because in riding with the trend, we make ourselves irrelevant. We must be bold and be prepared to grapple with our circumstances, to wrench politics and our circumstances from the tight fist of the past in order to reshape our reality.”
There comes a moment in time when a door opens to let the future in. That time is now. These are my fervent and over aching aspirations for Ghana. I also want every Ghanaian to aspire to these for our country Ghana as well.
Together let us dare to be great.
Happy Independence Day celebration.
The writer is an academic, member of NPP and former Minister fo Energy