Ghana: a need for national ideology and vision

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Ghana: a need for national ideology and vision

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Ghana: a need for national ideology and vision


Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.Woodrow Wilson

Where there is no vision the people perish.” – Proverbs 29:18

Kwame Nkrumah

Kwame Nkrumah

It is not every day that I have occasion to agree with priests. I have, as a matter of fact, lambasted them severally in this column for some of the asinine things most of them do or say.

But when I read a statement credited to Pastor Mensa Otabil on the need for our leaders to develop a vision, I say: Hmm, there is one Pastor with his brain cells in the right places.

To those that missed it, here is what Pastor Otabil reportedly said:”

Pastor Mensa Otabil says Ghana’s leadership lacks a clear idea to guide the country’s vision and development.

“…If you come to me as a Ghanaian and you say ‘what does Ghana want to achieve in the next 10 years’, I don’t know, do you?” Dr. Otabil asked his congregation on Thursday in Accra during his Church’s 2013 Greater Works Summit.

According to him, “somebody will say well, but there’s a government document so and so and so and when you look at the Government document and the English and the grammar that has been used, you have to read about a 1000 pages to get one idea, but there’s no one simple idea that is on the lips of every Ghanaian as to where we want to get in 10 years or five years”.

“So if the nation doesn’t have such a simple message for everybody that is coherent with our aspirations, how do you expect the people to willingly follow”, the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) General Overseer bewailed.

He observed that Ghana’s lack of a simple clear vision or idea as to what the country wants to achieve in the short or long term is not a peculiar situation on the African Continent.

“…I’m sure the same goes for Nigeria or Ivory Coast or most African Countries; they may have an idea – I’m not saying our leaders don’t have an idea – but the idea is so sometimes too academic and sometimes the idea is not clear; you don’t really know what they want to achieve but they want us to participate”, he observed.

Pastor Otabil, who was teaching the congregation about good leadership qualities said: “If a pastor wants to build a Church, he’ll come and say we are going to build a 2000-seater auditorium”, which becomes the mantra on the lips of every member of the congregation.

He used that analogy to draw the contrast between what, in his opinion, is better leadership within the Church than what pertains at the national level.”


Hmmm, well said, Pastor Mensa Otabil. Kudos.

I know that we are a people that hated to be told the truth, but the sad truth is that since our first President, Kwame Nkrumah, may the ancestors continue to bless him, none of the leaders we have had developed a vision for the country.

No, I did not mean that they did not all tried their best, as we are wont to say in this part. But as I have cautioned severally, the leadership of a nation is far too important to be left to ‘trial by error.’ We do not make progress simply because we do not have the leaders who have sat down, thought hard and developed a coherent vision of what they want to accomplish with the mandate they receive from us.

And rather than help them to point out this glaring deficiency, we would rather concentrate our energies and our mouths on inanities like tribalism, religion and partisan politics.

In order to transform our nation, we need the men and the women who come to office with good and very clear ideas about what they want to do when they get there.

Today all we have are people that come to office to read speeches after speeches, blow away four years, collect their ex-gratia and fade away.

Several times I have cited the example of Jimmy Carter who told us about the preparation he made to get to the White House in the books, “The Candidacy of Jimmy Carter,” and “Why not the Best?”

Why not the best, indeed, Mr. Carter?

Readers will also agree when I said that we have, in this column, try to draw attention to what we know about how other people develop their societies. We have advocated that no people have developed who rely on gods or on other people. Other people build on the ideas and the technologies they inherited from their parents. In our last piece, we recounted our trip to a planetarium in the Dutch city of Franeker (

Built in the 1700s, the planetarium still stands, and it remains as accurate as anything modern scientists have managed to invent.

The planetarium in Franeker remains and serves as great inspiration to every Dutch child. It inspires them to soar and do better. They will tell themselves: “if my ancestors, of four hundred years ago, accomplished such marvelous feat four centuries ago, without the aid of even a calculator, and at the peril of being ostracized by priests, nothing stops me, with the aid of the internet and super-fast computers to do a lot better.”

But in Africa, we jettisoned all that we inherited from our parents. We then turn to the gods for help. We spend inordinate time beseeching the gods to come to our aid, without ever thinking that the gods gave us brains so that we can use them and leave them (gods) alone.

And we continue to delude ourselves about what we call ‘Transfer Technology.’ We never think to ask ourselves why other people will spend their time and their money to acquire knowledge, only to turn around and pass it on to us  – unserious people, who would rather pray than think.

Why should those that spend time to sweat in their laboratories pass the result to those of us gadabouts who spent our own time partying, dancing and at Holy Ghost Retreats, where parasitical priests continue to commit unspeakable atrocities and violate our women with impunity?

It is sad, but the truth is that we remain an unserious people.

It is not that we are so far behind other people that is painful, but our inability to even begin to comprehend our far behind other human beings are ahead of us remains traumatic to yours sincerely.

Whilst people elsewhere concern themselves with prying secrets from nature, probing the heavens, thinking of embarking on inter-planetary journeys, we are busy in Africa with stupid superstitions of witches and wizards turning to goats and snakes.

We are busy insulting each other over the religion and the political systems we borrowed from other people.

We are more Catholic than the Pope.

Whilst all the priests I know in Europe express educated skepticism about the accuracy of the Christian Bible, our own priests are prepared to do battle to vouch for its exactitude.

Whilst people in Europe forget politics few hours after voting, we do our politics all year round with no break whatever.

Of course, our political and spiritual leaders take good advantage of our pettiness and keep on feeding us the jejune pieces that get us excited like mindless little children.


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:

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18 African Fables & Moonlight Stories

Ghana: Basic Facts + More:

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Africa: it shall be well

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Africa: Destroyed by the gods

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Femi Akomolafe





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