Friday, 5 October 2012

Update Number Two

The vibe in Ghana is of peace and stability. Stability here is so consistent, it almost can be taken for granted and life can become predictable. And just as I do when I'm in England, I do feel very safe here.

On the news yesterday was the report about the two dozen or so students murdered in cold blood by "unknown gunmen" in Nigeria, and it was easy for me to see immediately that such an incident could hardly occur in Ghana, where issues surrounding upholding the rule of law and maintaining law and order seem to have been worked out exquisitely.

First off, the Ghana policeman is the best looking policeman on the African continent by a mile. Gosh, you can't but admire him in his ultra smart uniform! But the Ghana Police Service does not only have the smartest uniforms, it is also one of the more well disciplined and effective police forces in Africa, and certainly more so than their Nigerian counterpart. I make comparisons with Nigeria because of the similar histories both countries share; sister countries with much in common.

Then there is also the fact that in Ghana, things are better organised generally. I watched and listened to what was a very impressive parliamentary debate yesterday, relating to the creation of additional constituencies in the run-up to the country's forthcoming elections in December. The arguments put forward by the MPs for and against were not only compelling, they were extremely well articulated as well, such that it was impossible to come away from from viewing this without feeling that in Ghana they are bang on target and have really got the fundamentals and basics perfectly right. They have developed a system of democratic government that actually works and they seem to have put in place a solid foundation for a prosperous and successful future, with revenues from oil soon to be pouring in too.

The outcomes are in the figures and the numbers. As of 2011, in the UNDP's Human Development Index (HDI) Ghana was classed as a Medium Human Development country, in the same category with countries such as Botswana, Egypt, South Africa and India. Nigeria on the other hand and despite her immense wealth, languishes in the Low Human Development country category, in the same category with countries like Chad, Liberia and Mali. Even when expressed as a percentage of the population, in Nigeria there are significantly more people living below the international poverty line (which is roughly about $1.25 per day, as revised by the World Bank in 2008), than there are in Ghana. This is a clear indication that Ghana manages her resources more carefully and much better than Nigeria does, given that Nigeria is the significantly wealthier of the two. And this all said, I know which of the two countries I would think of as being safer to invest my hard earned resources, meagre though they might be, if faced with having to make that choice.

Before I end this update, I will just add that for the last three days the electricity power supply to the place where I am located was shut off. Only this morning, after two hellish, sweaty nights without the joys of having a fan to lull you to sleep, has the power been restored.

Yes I know its been all serious and full of praise for Ghana in this update, but no, what I have on my mind concerning Ghana is certainly not just praise. More updates to come.

2 comments:

codliveroil said...

Why can't Nigerians swallow their pride, and learn from Ghana how Northern Ghana doesn't feel excluded or slighted by the wealthier South. How Ghana is stable and peaceful.

How is it the the people of Northern Ghana are happy to be part of Ghana? Why are the Hausa and Fulani people of Northern Ghana peaceful, unlike their brethren in Northern Nigeria?

codliveroil said...

It is quite apparent that Nigeria is being left-behind, wallowing in the dust of arrogance and conceit. Whilst her neighbours are tip-toeing ahead. You have highlighted how law and order prevails in Ghana. Sierra Leone can hold peaceful elections. Compare that to elections in Nigeria, which are characterised by palpable tension, people fleeing back to where they feel safe for fear of being massacred. Electoral violence, ballot rigging, middle class flight overseas (along with their wealth), loss of investment, and the pervasive fear of uncertainty and forboding that greets every election held there now.