Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng Stands Tall

Thu, 22 Apr 2010 Source: Boadi-Danquah, Eugene

On the Journey through life, most patriotic countrymen are faced with contention with a daunting mental ordeal. One that stems from our innermost being, questioning the significance of our existence in this part of our world, but most importantly, questioning why of all the countries we were stood on the same pedestal with, we continue to shamelessly lag behind. Shamelessly, owing to the number of times as individuals, we like to mentally shred the truths regarding the state of our being behind some political mask or anchor our thoughts in the status quo, after all, “this is Ghana for you”. That is not “Ghana”, that is a consequence of a blatantly inconsiderable spate of elitism, shredding the very use common sense, and resorting to imaginations and fantasies. To most of these elite, it no longer matters how many individuals your eyes can see as hungry, so long as there is a “piece of paper” that says they are full. It doesn’t matter any longer how many able-bodied men you see on your streets unemployed, so long as you can produce some statistic to prove that they are okay.

Education and elitism have total been divorce from reality, so much so that many young Ghanaians now feel embarrassed of being identified as citing facts based on their encounter with ordinary everyday Ghanaians. We have statistical data to prove that our economy has grown, that is a FACT but also around the corner is another palpable indicator showing that most of our countrymen scrape by without the much needed basics that make life worth living: good water, food, electricity, health care and education. So if I may ask the elite, at what level does macro-economics or declining inflation begin to mean that young men and women will only be separated from a reasonable quality of life by their “will to work hard”?

What we seek is a new beginning. Learning to crawl before we walk after which we can run. Our development as a nation will never be measured by an 18 or 24-hole golf course or glittering skyscrapers; and if there is anything to write about, that will forever represent our shame. No one outside will respect a country with glittering edifices where children die of an eradicable disease like Malaria. No number of imported polished 4x4s can erase the shame that comes with the fact that the Ghanaian imports toothpicks and handkerchiefs too. For once in my life, I used the occasion of the New Patriotic Party’s presidential primaries as a test of my common sense. I would forego all fore knowledge and prejudices, and subject myself to the use of the facts on the ground.

What I knew would glaringly stick out in each contestant’s campaign message will be their belief in Ghana. Behind those words, based on what I had observed about each candidate, I would make a common sense judgement about the veracity of such attestation. There I saw a man who defies the odds; at a time when our medical Doctors were put to no further use than cure of Malaria and Diarrhoea, he saw beyond that. He knew of the quality of brains and the enormous talent we had on our land. He knew that our medicine could reach and transcend the heights that western medical practise had gotten. Prof. Frimpong-Boateng, during the tenure of the then President Rawlings, established the Korle-Bu Cardio-thoracic centre; preparing young Doctors to face up to a new paradigm of contemporary surgery that even as a scientist, I do not feel qualified enough to describe. Prof. Frimpong-Boateng did not tell me that he believes in the reach of our country’s dreams; I know he does.

Again I know of how many times we will hear of our need to be able to feed ourselves, and what complex reforms we need to be able to that. Through all of this, I never see one who gets us to boldly step up and think outside the box of what we are used to doing. Real change never comes by us doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Prof. Set up the Dedukpe Ostrich farm, not to feed the entire nation of Ghana, but to lead the way and show us that we are not eternally bound to the old ways of doing things. Once we start thinking outside the box, we unleash our power to discover new heights and work towards them. Prof never told me that he offers leadership in our Agricultural innovation, I know he does. He also set up the machine tools factory in Tema, to lead the way in our crafts. Then again he also does not only relish success, he pushes for it and he realises it. In this contest, one thing I know is that most young men and women would step up to speak out, market and defend a lot of non-existent theoretical hopes, not only based on their individual greed and what they expect in return; but also on their FEARS, the fear of feeling left out by the masses. But this fear is justifiable. It stems from the distorted opinion that there is something to be gained by following the masses, whereas Politics is supposed to be a strong force to lead others (not ourselves) towards a new hope.

This country cries for a new direction, a new hope, a new belief, a new way of approaching tasks and a new leadership. We cannot do the same thing over and over again, in the same manner, with the same people and expect different results. The country cries for selflessness, dedication, passion for success. We seek a paradigm shift off the old ways of doing things; one that leads us to base our judgement, not on what they told us, but what we can see for ourselves. We are better than this, we can hope for the best for our country, we deserve it.....let us stand for it without fear. Let us shirk the pressure and temptations that come with following the crowd. Professor Frimpong-Boateng stands tall, and that’s coming from ME.

Boadi-Danquah eb00026@surrey.ac.uk (ebdanquah.blogspot.com)

Columnist: Boadi-Danquah, Eugene