Opinions of Fri, 13 Oct 20172
Atomic Junction Gas Explosion: Yankson’s reportage and matters arising
Alhaji Aliu Mahama (May his soul rest in peace) was the Vice President of the Politicians’ Republic of Ghana [as my friend who teaches at Achimota Senior High School would say] between January 7, 2001 and January 7, 2009. He lamented over the breakdown of discipline in the Ghanaian society and as a corollary initiated an impressive campaign against indiscipline. We do not need a soothsayer to tell us that discipline level in Ghana has fallen to the lowest ebb. People have the effrontery to conduct baseless demonstrations against Presidents of Ghana abroad. Indiscipline is inimical to law and order. The world is regulated by rules and the universe is no exception.
From the solar system lessons, we are told that the planetary objects orbit the sun in accordance with the rule of gravity. Astrophysicists claim it takes about 11. 86 years for the planet Jupiter to complete one revolution around the sun. The earth completes one rotation on its own axis for every 24 hours and completes one revolution in about 365 days. The earth is spinning in about 67000 miles per hour. This partly explains why I agree with my good friend Koo Nimo, the doubting Thomas, that Pastor Opana has no business taken seed sowing offering from innocent church members on the eve of every December 31st night for crossing over to the New Year. How can human beings cross over from the fastest moving earth? Is it not intriguing how the average educated African is becoming shockingly miseducated by some ignorant Bible teachers at bewildering pace? This comes from indiscipline. What happens in a country where laziness, poverty, carelessness and indiscipline have become spirits nowadays? Without the gravitational rule, the earth will stop spinning and we all die. This suggests beyond plausible doubt that without laws and discipline no society could complete a rotation around development.
The incidents of gas explosion in Ghana must definitely be a source of consternation to all and sundry. Natural disasters occur in some countries. For example, Mexico City was hit with an earthquake on September 19, 2017. As some countries are bedeviled with natural disasters, some Ghanaians through greed, indiscipline, political maneuvering and brazen disregard of truth are bequeathing disasters to their fellow countrymen. I am without the needed data to offer a chronological rendition of gas explosions in Ghana. Nevertheless, in 2008, after a tanker carrying gasoline overturned at New Techiman [a village that divides Offinso North District of Ashanti Region from Techiman Municipality in the Brong Ahafo Region], fire from individual homes set the village ablaze.
The horrifying stories from the New Techiman gasoline tanker carnage should rather guide us to eschew behaviors that could lead us into similar happenings. Thus, Kojo Yankson, the Super Morning Show Host of Accra-based Joy FM might not be far from truth on his reportage about the role of the kebab seller in the recent gas explosion. And what is the meaning of all these backlashes on Kojo Yankson?
We must not be interested in whether Yankson’s reportage was a far cry from the truth or not. Rather we must ask whether a gas leakage and a nearby fire are combustible or not? It is inappropriate to roast and sell Kebab (known in local parlance as chinchinga) near a gas station. We all buy “chinchinga” but this fact is black and white! Such acts are ample demonstrations of indiscipline and negligence of responsibility. Is it not risible for Kebab Operators Association of Ghana to fume over the Joy FM media man’s reportage? The media man might not be interested in the rigorous fire safety legislation lectures in Ghana at that moment, but he could be concerned about a potential cause of fire outbreak at atomic junction. The behavior of the chinchinga sellers demonstrates that we, as people have remained obdurate on indiscipline that has engulfed the country. Who must see to it that the safety of the citizens is not compromised at gas stations?
“The Chinchinga Operators Association of Ghana (COAG) has urged the general public to disregard any attempt to link a member of their association to the Madina-Atomic gas explosion incidents that happened on October 7. COAG further stated, however that the description given by a Joy FM Journalist who is supposed to know better is a “Machiavellian” attempt to discredit the Chinchinga profession” (Source ghanaweb.com: Tuesday October 10, 2017). I am struggling to catch the drift of the above broad daylight balderdash! Kojo Yankson did not say kebab selling causes gas explosion. He was concerned about the location of the kebab seller. Why must the “chinchinga” seller decide to operate near the gas station? I don’t see how a reported carelessness of one kebab seller could discredit the entire profession.
The conversation should be about safety measures and precautions but not about needless rhetoric on investigation report. I don’t get the head and tail of these needless attacks on the broadcast journalist! The hallmark of journalism is curiosity and Kojo Yankson did diddly wrong to link a nearby fire with a leaking gas to deduce a logical cause of Atomic Junction Gas disaster. How long must the politicians continue to cause mess and hypocritically ask innocent police and fire officers to conduct investigations? Investigations do not bring back lost lives.
The other issue is that we must adopt measures to decongest Accra. Everybody cannot live in Accra or Kumasi. Our leaders are complicit in the avoidable disasters that had befallen on Ghana. The resources of Ghana must be fairly distributed to other parts of the country. We cannot site all job opportunities in Accra and leave other cities to their fate. You and I know the causes and effects of rural-urban drift.
No serious nation will site all its developments in one City. Truth be told, Accra needs to become a commercial capital. In 1983, President Houphouet-Biogny (Nana Boakye among Bouake inhabitants) move the administrative and political capital of Ivory Coast to Yamoussoukro. Similarly, in 1991, Nigerians moved their administrative and political capital from overpopulated Lagos to a planned city of Abuja. Let us think of founding a new administrative Capital. Sunyani could be the ideal administrative capital. Overpopulation and overreliance of Accra are responsible for most man-made disasters that claim innocent lives every now and then.
Leave Kojo Yankson alone! He must rather be applauded for drawing our attentions to fire safety measures. Let me end by expressing my heartfelt condolence to the bereaved families of Atomic Junction Gas disaster. Let us show some love to the survivors also. We can conceive of a future without high-rises. But a humanity without music and love is not just inconceivable; it is impossible –George Leonard.
By: Nana Yaw Osei, Minnesota