Ghana @ 56 – Happy Birthday, but

Posted by By at 5 March, at 10 : 45 AM Print

Ghana @ 56 – Happy Birthday, but

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Ghana @ 56 – Happy Birthday, but…


Forward Ever, Backward Never.” – Kwame Nkrumah

United Nations dem come get name for us

Dem go call us Underdeveloped Nation.

We must be Underdeveloped to sleep ten ten in one room.

First and Second day Dem go call us Third Word.

We must be Third Word to dey sleep inside dustbin.

Dem go call us Non-Aligned Nation.

We must dey craze for head to dey sleep under bridge.

Ordinary thing for man to enjoy for town, nko o?

E no dey. Light? E no dey. Water? E no dey. Problem, iyen dey.

Dem turn us to suffer head, o, original suffer head.” – Fela Anikulapo Kuti, from the album, Original Sufferhead.

That new Africa is ready to fight his own battles and show that after all the black man is capable of managing his own affairs… We are going to demonstrate to the world, to the other nations, that we are prepared to lay our foundation – our own African personality… We have awakened. We will not sleep anymore. Today, from now one, there is a new African in the world!” – Kwame Nkrumah, Independence Speech, 1957.

Femi, do you know that I get stomach and head ache anytime I think about we Africans?

Grammar purist might take exception to ‘we Africans.’ Never mind. What is bugging you, my dearest friend?

Just look at us?


Yes, I mean we Africans.

What do you mean? I like what I see whenever I look at us. We are endowed with nice, athletic body that is worth dying for. We have naturally woolly hair that is the envy of other people. People spend fortune under artificial sun to get our type of melanined skin. We are a very beautiful people; even our worst critic admit that much. Our teeth are white and strong and they can chew through the hardest bones. Our bone structures are the strongest known to man. We have music, we have colours, and we have sunshine all year round. And our women are simply the most beautiful of all creatures. Just looking at their gorgeous bodies is enough to make a man go insane with primitive desires. What more can we ask for, my friend?

Femi, Femi, I wish that you will be more serious.

What do you mean; I’m as serious as you will ever get. I just do not know what is eating you. Why is it impossible for you just to see the sunny side of life?

Do you know how old our country, Ghana, is?

What type of silly-assed question is that? Of course, every JSS1 pupil know all about our independence in 1957. They know about how our brave fathers and grandfathers fought to make the British relinquish their colonial rule over us. Of course, I know that and much more. I didn’t forget my Civics lessons.

Don’t make me laugh.

And why would you be laughing, what did I say that was so hilarious?

I am thinking of something more serious, something momentous even monumental and you jest about our beautiful women, and you talk about Civics lessons. You, paa!

Why don’t you tell me what is eating you then, instead of pouring scorn on whatever I say?

Do you know that tomorrow, we shall be celebrating our fifty six years of independence, and that the government has declared a public holiday…

And, so? March 6 is a Statutory Holiday, mandated by our constitution. Why is that a source of grief to you?

The problem with you is that you never allow me to land before you bury me.

And I see your inability to get straight to any point bothersome. Why do you get head and stomach ache just because the government announced a holiday that is mandated by our constitution?

That is another problem, the way and manner people talk of the constitution like it was not some man-made document, cobbled together by a Constituent Assembly of some well-heeled fat cats, with absolutely no input from the hoi poloi. But that is really not is giving me ulcer. The thing is, my head just reel from all the mess I see around us. I get disoriented by all the discordant information and nonsensical news I read about our beautiful motherland. Can you imagine that as we get set to roll out the big drums and start gyrating ourselves silly, we are rationing electricity? Ehn! After fifty six years of self-government, we still cannot provide enough light and water for ourselves. This is despite the huge amount we expend on our officials. Ah! It is a crying shame, Femi. It ought to make all of us bow our heads in shame. What is most disturbing is that those in charge do not appear to have a clue on how to solve the problem. I felt so sorry when I see my President, reduced to jumping from the Weija water dam to Electricity Generating Plant in the Western Region, when we have officials whose job it is to make sure that things run well. I learnt that these officials even earn more than Mr. President himself. Yet, they continue in their offices, giving us all the silly excuses they can dream up. They pretend not to know what is wrong, and they lack the decency to vacate their positions. In more decent societies, all these officials would have resign their posts in shame. In Japan, they would have committed suicide. But here, they stay put and they continue to draw their unearned fabulous salaries. Just this morning, the Central Regional Minister was in the news lamenting the pervasive poverty in my home region. This is what he said: “The Central Regional Minister, Enoch Kweku Teye Addo says he is troubled by the deepening levels of poverty in the region despite the vast natural resources there. According to him, seeing ‘poverty boldly written on the faces of over 50% of the population in the Region who live below the poverty line fills him with anguish.” –

You! What do you find problematic about a minister lamenting the poverty in his Region?

You are really not getting it, Femi! And that is the number one biggo biggo problem we have in this country. People like you are always excusing the Power That Be. Why don’t we have the courage to tell our rulers that they are the cause of our poverty? Why don’t we become bold to tell them some home truth? Why? Why? Does it require a Nobel Prize intelligence to know that we will remain poor as long as our leaders put their COMFORT before that of the people? It is quite simple: People will remain poor as long as we continue to expend big chunk of our budget to keep our politicians comfortable. Why do we need to give free house, free car, free fuel and other freebies to our Ministers? Why do we need to give MPs car and housing loan when all of them already own palatial homes and expensive cars? I am glad that the Minister mentioned our vast resources. But he should have known that vast resources do not, in themselves, create wealth. If after over a hundred years, we still ship our gold out in their raw form, and lack the intelligence to refine them, we shall remain poor. We shall continue to wallow in poverty as long as our officials keep on signing contracts that give us only ten or even twenty percent for our oil. Our poverty will continue to deepen so long as we continue to ship our oil out in crude form, use our meagre resources to import refined oil, whilst we allow our own refinery at Tema to rust because of lack of crude to refine…

All that you said could be true, but what have they got to do with the government declaring holiday on our Independence Day?

Ah! Independence. Another word we love to bandy about without knowing its true meaning. Let me tell you, this is how the dictionary define the word independence: “freedom from control: freedom from dependence on or control by another person, organization, or state.”

What Independence do we talk about when we lack the industry to manufacture the most basic of our needs? What independence do we talk about when our women still clad themselves in used brassieres and panties from Euro-America? What independence do we talk about when we depend on imports for our food? Please, please! Let us get serious for once in this country. Whom do we intend to impress with the pomp and pageantry we shamelessly put on as Independence celebrations…

I think you are going too far with all these negative chronicles. We have come a long way since we gained our independence, and I daresay we have a lot to be joyful for.

Yeah, yeah. We surely have a lot to be joyous about. Fifty six years after our so-called independence, we still dance for joy when we receive our paltry dose of electricity. In this modern age, our people still carry jerry cans to look for water. And you dare tell me that we got plenty to celebrate. Tchaah. Yeah, we got a lot to celebrate as we watch our leaders clad themselves in their imported attires, ferry themselves around in their foreign-made cars, to watch our military people, equally attired in outfits of foreign design and cradling foreign-made weapons. Yes, yes, we got plenty to celebrate because we simply have lost any sense of shame. Our case is like that of the man who continue to dance to his own lullabies, whilst the rest of the world look at him with utter contempt.

Are you then suggesting that we mourn rather than celebrate?

I suggest no such thing. Another problem is that you bandy words around without looking very closely at their meanings. Again, I call on my dictionary which defines celebration as: “To show happiness that something good or special has happened by doing such things as eating and drinking together or playing music.” We should ask ourselves whether or not the current parlous situation in our country is occasion to show happiness. Should we be eating and drinking in merriment when we are thrown back in the Stone Age without water and electricity? No, I did not say that we should mourn. What I would like to see is for our leaders to use occasions like this to ask for national meditation and deep reflection. We simply cannot continue as if things are well or normal with us. No, they are not. We are a badly screwed up people with absolutely no sense of direction. We do not seem to be getting anything right in our national life. We appear not to have a road map about where we intend to take our nation. We cannot continue to live without giving any thought for tomorrow. We cannot continue to run our national affairs in this haphazard manner. Rather than continue to engage in utterly useless parades and such, our leaders should use occasions like these to articulate for us their visions for the nation, and tell us the steps they intend to take to achieve them. They also should tell us how they want to make us partners in this national renewal and development. Things are not well in the land and we ought not to pretend that they are by engaging in senseless merry-making.


About the Author

Femi Akomolafe is a passionate Pan-Africanist. A columnist for the Accra-based Daily Dispatch newspaper and Correspondent for the New African magazine. Femi lives in both Europe and Africa, and writes regularly on Africa-related issues for various newspapers and magazines.

Femi was the producer of the FOCUS ON AFRICANS TV Interview programme for the MultiTV Station.

He is also the CEO of Alaye Dot Biz Limited Dot Biz, a Kasoa-based Multimedia organisation that specialises in Audio and Video Production. He loves to shoot and edit video documentaries.

His highly-acclaimed books (“Africa: Destroyed by the gods,” “Africa: It shall be well,” “18 African Fables & Moonlight Stories” and “Ghana: Basic Facts + More”) are now available for sales at the following bookshops/offices:

  1. Freedom Bookshop, near Apollo Theatre, Accra.
  2. The Daily Dispatch Office, Labone – Accra
  3. WEB Dubois Pan-African Centre, Accra
  4. Ghana Writers Association office, PAWA House, Roman Ridge, Accra.
  5. African Kitchen in Amsterdam Bijlmer

Where to buy them online:

On Lulu Books:

18 African Fables & Moonlight Stories

Ghana: Basic Facts + More:

Africa: Destroyed by the gods:

Africa: It shall be well:


Africa: it shall be well

on Kindle books:

on Amazon books:

on Lulu Books:


Africa: Destroyed by the gods

on Kindle books:

on Amazon books:

on Lulu Books:


My Lulu Books page:


Get free promotional materials here:

  1. Africa: it shall be well:

A FREE Chapter of ‘Africa: It shall be well’ could be downloaded here:

  1. Africa: Destroyed by the gods (How religiosity destroyed Africa)

A FREE Chapter of ‘Africa: Destroyed by the gods’ could be downloaded here:

Read a review here

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Kindly help me share the books’ links with your friends and, grin, please purchase your copies.


Femi Akomolafe



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