Thursday, 27 August 2009

Anticipating the black gold: illusion or reality?

Kofi Appa considers himself a good man! He therefore felt he deserves the good things of life. His current situation is a far cry from what he should be getting. To be in a decent employment and possess his own car are things he should not blink to have. His dreams go beyond what he is getting now.

To him, on the day he would be driving his own car, paradise would be on earth. Driving someone around was not the job he had wanted to do. A patient man, Kofi bided his time. Then the time came for the dream to be fulfilled, and quite unexpectedly. His master, having seen how diligent he served him over a five year period bought for him a brand new car when he (the master) was relocating outside the country. A handsome amount was also added for him to start a business. Kofi now had his car and cash but realized that he was not happy. The paradise that his mind promised was elusive as ever.

The above scenario happens to all human beings. You wait in anticipation for something which you believe strongly would bring you joy and satisfaction only to become gloomy after receiving it. Simply put, human wants are insatiable. But why does this happen to us. Experts have long postulated that the human being is not actually a physical body with a spirit but a spirit in a body.

According to renowned scientist, Albert Einstein, “a human being is a part of a whole, called by us Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.” This delusion, he averred further, is kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.

The expectation of Ghanaians about the upcoming oil boom can be likened to Kofi above. Ever since the announcement of the oil find, politicians from across the political divide have not failed to mention this expected windfall in their rhetoric. The NPP, being the party in power then, was loudest, claiming all the credit for this discovery. But it is an undisputable fact that the search for oil predates them. The NDC also made promises and it is expected that come 2011, when we must have begun production for a few months, the economy would start creating the condition for the anticipated joy.

But I dare say that a lot of people would be disillusioned. This is because human needs and wants are insatiable. Research into the human mind has revealed that at the time of anticipating a fortune, the mind conjures all kinds of images to embellish the desire, making it so heavenly that the person feels the realization of this desire would be an end and not a means to an end. This is how the mind ‘tricks’ us in order to create a fantasy world in which we hope to live forever.

It is for this reason that our leaders must be very careful when making promises, lest they delude us into thinking that life would be rosy. There are some whose disillusionment is likely to cause conflict. It is a fact that not everybody can handle frustrations with maturity. Already, there seems to be some tension brewing at Cape three points and its surrounding areas over issues concerning the acquisition of land. Images from countries like Nigeria, whose natural resource could best be described as a curse, send shivers down my spine. How could a God-given resource become a source for protracted conflicts? The possibility of conflicts should not be ignored in our situation because humans are basically the same everywhere.

Over the past eight years, Ghanaians have been taken on a wild goose chase by a political tradition that believes in proving one’s status by the number of properties possessed. They call it property-owning democracy. From the leadership to the common man on the street, the wanton desire to acquire material wealth became so endemic that it became obvious opulence was ruling rather than ideas. That is why even after claiming to come to serve us, what they were awarding themselves as end of service benefits was way above what even the US president and senators receive after serving their people. The service the latter rendered is ironically better than that of the former.

Fortunately, the almighty God, who still rules in the affairs of men, intervened and decided to give this important resource, oil, to a president who, it appears, is more interested in serving us. The ball is now in the court of the NDC which professes to be a social democratic party. It is expected that by this background, the NDC would ensure that the wealth of the country goes to the people. It is not just the material wealth.

One interesting thing about this country is that it is said to be a secular state, yet almost everyone is religious and believes in the omnipotent God. But in our national affairs, God is relegated to the background. For most of us, it is the job of the clergy to arrange our travel documents to heaven. This is not so. But can you blame us. The clergy themselves have joined the fray and are displaying affluence more than the politicians.

No wonder, over the last few years, the Christian Council of Ghana saw nothing wrong with the rape of our country. The recent revelations at the Ghana@50 Commission should not escape us. Laid down procedures were ignored.

I hope the NDC officials are listening and watching. The day of reckoning is nearer than ever. It is my hope that when the oil starts coming, the expectation of the people would be massaged through transparency for if the opportunity is given for speculations, things might be rough.

Article by Liberty AMEWODE

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