Friday, January 18, 2008

GHANA — A WINNER (Page 34)

Story: Mawutodzi K. Abissath

There is this inspirational Tanzanian proverb which says: “He, who trusts in God or Allah, or Mawu or Nyankupong, does not lack anything.” Therefore, all patriotic and faithful Ghanaians who trust in God should please rise, face the geographical East, raise their hands towards heaven and sing praise to the Lord; for Ghana, our beloved country is already a winner for merely hosting the 26th Africa Cup of Nations tournaments (Ghana 2008) slated to kick off on Sunday, January 20, 2008.
Beloved humble and noble fellow Ghanaians, in March 2007, when Ghana was celebrating her Golden Jubilee anniversary, President John Agyekum Kufuor, made a very simple but profound statement which must not be taken for granted. He said, “It is a great time to be Ghanaian!” This writer wishes to implore all Ghanaians to pause for just a moment to concentrate, contemplate and meditate on this simple statement by the President as we embark on the next 50 years journey of our nationhood.
On Thursday, January 10, 2008, the Daily Graphic wrote yet another nationalistic editorial under the heading, “NEW ERA DAWNS WITH GHANA 2008.” That editorial comment was based on an article, titled “Ghana will gain a lot as host,” published on page 16 of that day’s issue. The article itself was based on an interview granted the author, Lucy Adoma Yeboah, by the Minister for Information and National Orientation, Mrs. Oboshie Sai Cofie in Accra.
The purpose of this review is to encourage the media in Ghana, both print and electronic to emulate the example of the Daily Graphic by discussing issues of national interest with some touch of patriotism, especially at this time of the forth coming tournament, no matter what. After all, we have no other nation to call our own. But constructive criticisms are always welcome!
The opening paragraph of the said editorial read: “If there was nothing to be gained from hosting sub-regional, regional and global tournaments, countries would not go to the extent of setting up committees to lobby sporting authorities for the right to host those tournaments.”
The next paragraph went on: “Indeed, countries go all out to build new stadia, rehabilitate existing ones, put new infrastructure and build roads, all at great cost, in order to win the right to host tournaments.”
The paragraph three stated: “Ghana’s hosting of the 26th Africa Cup of Nations tournament (Ghana 2008) cannot be delinked from the benefits that accrue to hosting countries of sporting events.”
The paper continued, “It is in this regard that we agree with the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mrs. Oboshie Sai Cofie, that Ghana was already ‘the winner of the tournament’ for the mere fact of being the host.”
The fifth paragraph of the editorial quoted the Minister, thus: “Ghanaians should recognise the fact that we have already won in prestige, revenue generation, in showcasing our beautiful country and its people; we have won because of the fact that our children will grow to acknowledge that their country is considered important in the global environment,” Mrs Sai Cofie said in an interview.
Commenting on what the Information Minister had said in the interview, (see page 16 of Daily Graphic of January 10, 2008), the paper wrote: “These are fine sentiments which the Daily Graphic would want every Ghanaian, male and female, young and old, to share, since they capture the very essence of hosting an international tournament of this nature.
“If for nothing at all,” it continued, “The tournament will bring with it commercial and economic gains which will permeate all sectors of the economy, not to talk about the exposure the country will get from TV screening of the matches worldwide, especially the opening and closing ceremonies, the rebranding of the country’s image abroad and potential to the outside world.”
The paper then gave the following advice: “We at the Daily Graphic can only advise our compatriots to put our best foot forward during the period of the tournament, so that our visitors will have a confirmation of the legendary Ghanaian hospitality, culture and tradition.”
Another vital point which Hon Oboshie Sai Cofie made in the interview with Lucy Adoma Yeboah, which, this writer deems imperative to mention here, was that, there was no need for any Ghanaian to feel down-hearted because of one reason or another, “but rather go all out and feel good because the tournament was taking place in Ghana and nowhere else.” The Minister advised that people should stop complaining that there was no excitement in the air, adding that it was left for individuals and groups to come together to create the needed excitement.
The Minister further pointed out that the government had played its part by providing the entire necessary infrastructure for a successful tournament, stressing that, “It is left to us as a people to make the best out of the event.” As a matter of fact it was stated that an amount of $157.2 million had so far been spent on the rehabilitation and construction of four stadia to host the tournament in the country. It was explained that the amount was said to have been exceeded the $152.1 million initially projected by $5. imillion.
It was very refreshing when the Finance and Economic Planning Minister, Hon Kwadwo BaahWiredu, recently stated emphatically in Parliament that it was Ghana Government and for that matter the people of Ghana whose money was used to build the modern stadia for the tournament.
If you are a Ghanaian and you are not proud of this achievement, then what will you be proud of? Everybody knows that the rehabilitated stadia are the Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra and the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi, while the newly constructed ones re in Tamale and Sekondi. As was promised by the President when the Ohene Djan Stadium was commissioned recently, all the ten regions of Ghana will have a magnificent modern stadium each in due course.
Furthermore, the Information Minister made a very creative suggestion in her interview with the GRAPHIC that, “If for nothing at all, individual and groups should hang national flags on their property and make the right noises in readiness for the tournament.” She opined that the issue was not about winning but the need to look at other opportunities that would come along with the tournament.
As a matter of fact, if this tournament were to be taking place in any European country or in Nigeria here in Africa, inspiring and motivating noises such as “Oooyee oooyee oye oye ...... would have been on everybody’s lips from January to December non-stop. In Ghana, we should be shouting “GHANA, GHANA, and GHANA OSEE-YIEEEEE!!!!”and “BLACK STARS, BLACK STARS, BLACK STARS, OSEE-YIEEEEE! !“ from now until the hour the covetous trophy is handed over to the winner of the 16 participating African countries.
This author would want to add his voice to those of the Hon Information Minister and the Daily Graphic, which Ghanaians must be proud of being Ghanaians and be grateful and thankful to God that they are Ghanaians There are many nations in Africa and beyond whose citizens wish they were Ghanaians.
With Ghana’s oil discovery in commercial quantity within this same period in the history of our beloved country, the sky cannot even be the limit for the prosperity of Ghanaians in the next 50 years. Ghana indeed, is poised to become a glorious land on the continent of Africa. As for Ghana 2008 tournament, we all pray that the gallant Black Stars will lift the trophy at stake. But whether they win or not GHANA IS A WINNER by merely hosting the tournament.

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