Other individuals have shared in my grandfather’s stance, adding that most Ga children of today do not like attending school and end up becoming lazy towards work and sometimes miscreants. These people could not empirically substantiate their claim but I did not write off their case either.
My mind went wild as a result of their concern. Elsewhere in Ghana, we often hear of some traditional rulers’ support packages for teachers and students to promote education in their respective traditional areas. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about many of their counterparts in Greater Accra. If for nothing at all, my birth place, Dadekotopon, has over 4 tertiary institutions situated there, including Ghana’s premium University. Imagine the number of needy but brilliant students from my community who would have become graduates by now if our leaders had managed to secure at least 5 slots in the various tertiary institutions within their jurisdiction to support those students annually.
The proposal of a Ga Education Endowment Fund ushered in yet another developmental agenda for Ga Children. I became hopeful for a better future for youngsters in Accra. Thanks to the media, I saw a number of Corporate Institutions contributing to the fund with a promise of launching it in October, 2009. But what happened? Chieftaincy disputes as to who a Ga Mantse was largely ensured that the fund became a ‘still baby’. Accountability concerning the usage of the fund’s seed capital is yet to be known.
Another sad part of the story is the rampant sale of lands by our traditional leaders which has not birth any major development project for people of Accra. I wept when I saw in the Media how some young people, through the hands of a chief, got brutalized by the police as a result of confrontations over a portion of land recently. I wondered, if it was even worthwhile to risk our lives for leaders who care less about our welfare? Fellow young people, be the first to preach yourself after a seer prophesies to you.
If indeed we have to accept the said lukewarm attitude of Ga Children towards Education and work, then I believe Ga leaders must accept responsibility for that. Chiefs, with due reverence, should not just be custodians of our culture but true partners for socio-economic development in the Greater Accra region and beyond. Many Ga Elites, including some Political leaders from the region have distant themselves from their homes for far too long. This is the time for them to get closer to their folks and assist in addressing their developmental needs.
“A Sheep who thinks it is blemishing the wall by rubbing itself against it deceives itself: it destroys its own fur in the process.” If for nothing at all, I have learnt from the elderly that, ‘A disgrace to the mortar is equally the pestle’s”.
Our Cherished leaders ought to live up to expectation for children in Accra to get the best start in life. We look up to you.
By Gabriel Obodai Torgbor-Ashong
Ghana Institute of Journalism