BY RAPHAEL KUMAH ABOLASOM
AS IF the happenings of June 3 were centuries ago, here was yet another sad day for mother Ghana. Some parents never returned home from their usual routines, breadwinners never came back home to put food on the table for their families, loved ones never responded to the phone calls-they had joined the world of the silent majority, others got injured and others were fighting for their almost breathless lives. Unscrupulous persons saw an opportunity to loot property. What else could I possibly say? The skies were as thick-heavy as one exhumed from between the dark world of the underworld and the deep blue sea. No one knew where he or she was going, chaos and pandemonium, it was overwhelmingly sad.
What was going on? It was another gas explosion, being recorded in Ghana’s capital. For how long will we keep crying for the same reason over and over again? I believe the wailing from the tombs of our forefathers queried, for how long, for how long? Burying my head in my palms, I said to myself, this could have been prevented! Yes, it could have.
These explosions do not occur because of the mere fact that fuel stations are sited in the center of towns; rather it is because of the non-adherence of fuel station owners and operatives to the conditions of operating these stations. Cynicism has become the order of the day; the laws meant to protect the ordinary Ghanaian have been rendered toothless. We live in a country, with the finest of laws, yet these laws get defiled on daily basis with no repercussions. The Ghanaian is too good at talking on paper, yet practically impotent in translating the paper talk into action. We live in a country where the politician has hijacked the work of the technocrat, creating a deficit in professionalism, standards and prudence.
Assuming without admitting that these fuel stations are strictly sited far away from towns, inevitably, development and other structural expansions will catch up with them. The ultimate, therefore is to ensure that the laws of the National Petroleum Authority, Environmental Protection Agency and the numerous sleeping agencies are strictly adhered to. That is the only way to ensure that public safety is guaranteed. Estate developers and citizens should also avoid putting up structures closer to already existing fuel stations. Apart from the noticeable smell of gas, our technocrats should also be innovative enough to come up with gas leakage detectors to help curb these occurrences.
This comes to question the essence of the kind of courses we study in our various institutions and how applicable our knowledge is. No disrespect, but we have lots of people roaming with qualifications, some are even engineering professors, yet when their cars or other stuffs get faulty, they send it to a mechanic who probably has never stepped foot in the classroom. Book knowledge is not enough, hence the need to re-evaluate the concept of technical education and add some flesh to it. What is the essence of pursuing courses that do not provide solutions to our society’s needs and challenges?
A very funny trend, we have been conducting investigations since time immemorial, just like Economic and Organised Crime Office has always been investigating, yet no reports are published, no sanctions applied. The offenders are those who have the power to make sure that, the right things are done. So who watches the watchman? Will Africa ever have selfless leaders who owe their allegiance to the country instead of selfish parochial interests? I keep hearing, one day we will get there, one there we will get there, but that day never arrives. Another friend said, let’s give it time, but how long should we give time, time?
Why are we able to do the right things anytime we find ourselves on foreign soil, yet we can’t replicate same on our own land? I may sound funny, but sometimes I question if Africans were created by a lesser god. Until we change the way we think, we will remain where we are.
“Never again,” says our Veep, “one too many” says our President. Let’s hope, let’s keep up the faith and rally behind the team to get Ghana better. I pray we find the light. May it light up the skies and know no bounds; that, it may be seen by every creature beneath and above the planets. May that day be now! For God and country, Ghana must stand!