First published on March 2010
My heart is bleeding at the height of indifference the leaders of our nation Ghana has shown towards the creations and innovations of people like Apostle Kwadwo Safo. The writing of this article has been occasioned by the drama that unfolded at one of the exhibition stands at the just ended 14th Ghana International Trade Fair in Accra.
Here were visitors both local and foreign standing in awe of the creative and ingenious works of Apostle Kwadwo Safo which were exhibited at the fair site.
Most striking of these creative arts were the Limousine automobiles that were gaining all the admiration from bewildered visitors who could not bring themselves to fathom the poverty stricken state of father Ghana, if indeed we have people like Apostle Kwadwo Safo in Ghana.
As I stayed in and around the Kantanka Exhibition Stand, I was befuddled by the monotone question that was being posed by each and every visitor who came around those two magnificent limousines (at least by African standards).
“So what is government doing?” as if all of these people who have come from various places at different times to the Kantanka Stand held a rehearsal on the question to pose to the attendants at the Stand. “So what is government doing?” as they quizzed was met with my sarcastic response; “Government has organized a trade fair for him to exhibit them”.
My question was; Hasn’t the government done well for him? at least by helping him to exhibit those great poverty-bubble-bursting ideas of his, some foreign investor could woo him away from the shores of Ghana (though not in the case of Apostle Safo) to go and further build on his technology for father Ghana to go with hard cash from the tax-payers sweat to import a number of them.
So I say Mr. Government, thank you for your thoughtfulness to organize a trade fair for us to showcase these great feats to the outside world. After all, we raked in some gate fees which will be enough to pay the staff of the show organizers for a month.
Upon a more serious note however, I wish to say that we have as a people shown to the whole world that we are good talkers and not doers, we have all these years being celebrants of the duration of our nationhood, 53 years we are now and there seems not be a clear sense of direction for us as a nation. We have just celebrated 53 years of duration and not direction.
Sad to think of it; all our one time economic peers and contemporaries have long gone; Mother Malaysia is gone, Mother Korea is gone, Mother Singapore is gone etc. and here we are still receiving the marching salutes of school children on the occasion of our 53 year duration and not direction.
Where is Ghana going? Unfortunately Ghana is growing, but not going. Biosophically, it is believed that a man who is eating and growing, but cannot move a foot in any direction is an invalid and can be carried anywhere by anybody. Such is the current state of Ghana; We are growing in duration (number of years), but not in direction (purposeful movement), hence our being carried anywhere by the world economic powers that be.
With all the good show Apostle Safo had at the just ended trade fair, there still remains one question in the minds of visitors to the Stand; Are we passionate at all about eradicating our endemic poverty? Until when shall we continue to scratch the surface of our economic challenge and pretend to be looking for solutions to them with those long speeches? And talking about speeches, it reminds me of a dramatic statement made by a politician from the past administration who visited one of Apostle Kwadwo Safo’s annual technology exhibitions at Awoshie;
Here were these academicians and businessmen calling upon government to assist the talented Apostle as in one of the professors’ speech which read “We pray that the government would assist the Apostle to put his creations on the market”. After that came also the Minister of State with his long words of commendation, and making a striking statement of “we pray that God will help the Apostle to add commercial value to his innovations”. Whilst the academicians were praying to the government to assist the Apostle; the government was also praying God to help the Apostle.
Reminiscent to this plea to God by the past government representative is the current president’s allusion to the fact that man proposes but God disposes. This gives basis to my assertion that, we seem as a nation not have any particular direction of movement to a defined destination for which we are passionate in arriving at, since we are looking up to God to take us there, so until then we will be celebrating our national duration till God shows the direction.
This attitude of Father Ghana paints the picture of a lazy farmer who holds in his hands maize seeds and is still praying for God to come and sow them for him, until such time he will always be begging for food.
I hope somebody is reading and listening. God has already been good to us as a nation with the seeds of talented minds like Apostle Safo, Gideon Agyare, Asiedu etc. and until we ourselves as a people harness our economic viability we shall continue to have entertainments and fanfares.
Ghana’s leadership ineptitude and inertia is what is making a waste of its resources. Come to think of it again, it amazes me how we are so excited over an oil find whereas resourceful minds like Apostle Safo with his creations have been with us long before we hit the oil. It tells me one thing that we as a people with our somehow vision starved leadership have always been looking for an easy way out, no wonder our nation abounds in arm robbery and sakawa activities lately, since ‘easy-way outism’ has caught on us. It is said the fish starts getting rotten first from the head.
As the opposing governments roll tongues on who found the oil, with one side claiming it is God who gave it to us, it astounds me how we cannot also see that it is God who has given us people like Apostle Kwadwo Safo whose creations can also be patronized by the same governments on pilot basis to help in improving upon the technology.
Is it not possible to commit national resources to the development of these automobiles in particular which have the potential of creating jobs for the teeming young people who are parading our streets with fried plantain chips and dog chains, just like we commendably committed a whooping US$3million to the Haitian cause ?
Is it not possible for our current government to lead the way in a maverick style with an unflinching passion and determination to make Ghana a self dependent nation to give hope to posterity? Yes we can!
I am dreaming as I write this article, that one of these days I will wake up to the news of government ordering a number of Apostle Safo’s Made-in-Ghana Limos or automobiles for tryouts at the castle, ministries, departments, Agencies and at some of our Embassies abroad as a showcase of Ghanaian ingenuity and creativity.
How nice would it be when visiting dignitaries and Presidents from other countries are chauffeured in one of these Made-in-Ghana Limos. I guess by now some Ghanaian reader with the typical timorous disposition is questioning the quality, safety, serviceability etc. of the Kantanka automobiles, but hold on reader; it is said that he that observes the wind will never sow; also a true mother with a crawling child does not abandon her child to go for someone else’s walking child, but she trains the child rather to learn how to walk as the child comes of age.
Moreover, no mother in her right senses throws away her bathed-baby together with the dirty water. I hope somebody may be reading my little wisdom? The time has come for us as a people to take the economic bull by the horn with a deep sense of willpower and resolve as we stop beating about the bush with long hypocritic political speeches. It is time to do something before we die.
I guess there is no denying the fact that my fellow compatriots together with our vision-bankrupt leadership have great dreams of economic self-dependence, but what we lack is that one adventurous step towards the realization of our dream.And it is worth noting that oftentimes, what stands between us and what we really desire in life is a STEP – Sacrifice, Time, Effort and Perseverance, which we must always be ready and eager to take.
That is what our onetime fellow and now Asian Tigers did; The resolve of taking that great STEP of Sacrifice, Time, Effort and Perseverance. It is not a surprise that, the usually quoted proverb of “a journey of a million miles begins with a step” originated from the Chinese.
And in talking about taking the STEP towards the doing and practical implementation of our talk; we have just witnessed the launch of a STIP (Science, Technology & Innovation Policy) with all the usual glamorous grammar, but not a STEP of giving already existing innovations the national commercial patronage.
At the just ended public forum that launched the STIP (Science, Technology & Innovation Policy), one of the concerns raised that pierced my heart further was the idea of government offering scholarships to identified student innovators and inventors and also organizing periodic national award ceremonies for those who have come up with some scientific and technological innovations. Just that!? Just that!? You see; I am not too old, neither am I too young, but I must say I have been in father Ghana for quite sometime now to witness copious scholarship schemes and grandiose award ceremonies yet we are still where we are.
WHY? Indeed the greatest award we can give to our innovators and inventors is not just a one off national award ceremony to acknowledge them with a cash prize of Gh¢50,000 as one of the contributors at the ‘STIP launch’ opined, but to give these creative works a national commercial patronage for us to explore and maximize their economic viability and impact.
And here I suggest that, government (though I don’t subscribe to government doing everything for us as a people) should prove its sincerity of seeking to promote local scientific and technological innovations by being the first to commercially patronize these local creations beyond seeking to offer the scholarships and the awards.
After all in our local Twi parlance, we say; “If the sheep sent out for grazing have not returned to their pen, it will be unwise to release some more to join them in the grazing field”
In conclusion, I wish to bring home once again my observation of the exploits of Apostle Kwadwo Safo and what is keeping us from exploring their full potential to positively impact our economy.
Indeed I write with a lot of pain in my heart because my recent visit to the exhibition stand of the Apostle brought me into contact with some foreigners who felt Ghana’s economic challenge might stem from a mental disease and though as a Ghanaian that was hard to take, I did concur with them and upon further thought realized that our disease is not just mental, but one caused by a virus known as the ‘TBDN virus’ which I interpret as the ‘Talk But Do Nothing virus’.
I have indeed been following the works of Apostle Kwadwo Safo with much ironic sadness due simply to the fact that my observation of all the outdooring or exhibition ceremonies organized by the industrious Apostle reveals mere admirations and appellations from dignitaries comprising government officials and other respectable personalities in society.
My sadness is also caused by the fact of this “Talk But Do Nothing Syndrome” of the Ghanaian, and especially of the powers that be; within whose domain lies the capacity to explore and harness the economic benefits of these industrial and technological feats for the general economic good of our people. It grieves my heart when I hear our political leaders make references to the industrial and technological revolutions in one time co-equal nations like Malaysia, Singapore and the Korean States.
The question that comes to mind is; were these states suffering our “TBDN Disease”? In my life development researches I realize that the overarching factor that makes for a successful life is the passion to succeed. One wonders whether the African continent or Ghana for that matter is passionate about her current state of deprivation.
After making our flamboyant and long speeches on great ideas and discoveries, what next? Much as some Ghanaians will have reason to make jest of the concept of “domestication” as has being preached by some of our political leaders, we must also realize that globalization with its international economic interplay alone will not be the panacea to our current state of poverty, since we enter the global competition as the underdogs.
A blend of the two concepts is recommended for turning the tide of our economic woes, however with a passionate emphasis on the deployment of local resources and ingenuity. On this note, if my fellow ailing compatriots suffering from the curable “TBDN Disease” passionately care for a cure, then I prescribe the most efficacious drug of “ACTIONOGEN” which will blow our talk away as we take that great and unique step of doing.
My final appeal goes to the current government of Ghana whose social democratic ideals I think must be brought to bear on the socioeconomic development potential of the exploits of these great and talented sons of Ghana. One thing I know Ghanaians, as I gathered from the trade fair, will remember and be very grateful to this government for is the commercial exploration and patronage of Apostle Safo’s automobiles besides his other creations.
If the liberal democrats who were asking God to help Apostle Safo didn’t take advantage of his technological exploits to endear themselves to Ghanaians to retain them in power, then I must prophesy as a man of God that this attempt if made by the social democrats will be a feather in their cup to perpetuate their stay in government for years to come.
We should not be afraid to fail; for there is nothing like failure, but failing successfully which is the philosophy of great achievers, because a man who tries and fails would have learnt a successful lesson of what it takes to fail. This man is better than the one who puts his hands in-between his thighs and tries nothing to even know what it takes to fail. It is risky not to take a risk so the time to try is NOW!
“The lazy man says there is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets”.
Credit: An African Development Crusader
Founder: National Crusaders of Apostle Safo’s Creations – NACASC (facebook)