I have a state of the nation?s address! It is the reality in Ghana today! Ghana is fifty six years old, but has little to show for it! At times, I am tempted to conclude that Ghana would have been far of better, were she still a colony! Ghana must sit up!

Most homes in Ghana still have no access to basic toilet facilities! Numerous homes patronize public toilets or improvise at any available space! Our streets, gutters, public lands, dumpsites, abandoned structures, market places, to mention but a few are at their mercy! Indiscriminate littering of refuse and faeces! Management of waste in this country is still a hurdle! The country makes claim to sanitation laws and policies, but in truth, it is only a mere representation! Those laws are non-functional! I am yet to see a practical and holistically effective waste management system in this nation because in this country, the waste collected here today, becomes another waste elsewhere! Ghana must sit up!

Ghana makes claims to the implementation of the Free Compulsory Basic Education (FCUBE) but till now, things have seen no drastic improvement! Education is relatively free! As to the compulsory aspect, it is yet to be implemented! Within this country are communities without educational infrastructure; and yet, we keep talking about FCUBE! People have to virtually travel, in order to access mere basic education! Our schools lack teaching and learning materials, teachers, and infrastructure! Our educational structure is not job-oriented! Consequently, there is the usual unemployment saga after completion of education. Ghana must sit up!

Healthcare in Ghana is synonymous to death care! Several communities lack basic healthcare infrastructures! Those available are operating above capacity! The national health insurance policy is not realistic in areas without access to health centers! People have to travel in accessing healthcare in parts of this nation! Emergencies do not receive the needed attention, and so, mortality rate increases! Personnel, equipment and facilities, are major shortfalls in our health delivery system! Each year in Ghana, more health personnel turn out, but a percentage of these are not working as they should! People are refusing postage especially to our deprived communities! Ghana must sit up!

In the area of utilities, the country is in a crisis! All can attest to the fact that Ghana is currently facing power outages, water shortages, and fuel and gas shortages because our supply is inadequate! The government is yet to come to terms with this reality! There are virtually communities in our so-called modern and developing Ghana, who are yet to be connected to the national grid! There are several others yet to be connected to our urban water supply! In terms of fuel and gas, for these communities, it is only an urban legend! Ghana must sit up!

Transportation in Ghana is yet to receive the required attention! Road networks in most cities are in poor conditions, and several others, undeveloped! The railway network is still in the wake of its restoration and perhaps, extension! Air transportation is limited to the three major cities in Ghana, most of which are yet to be fully operational! Ghana must sit up!

There is a bottleneck of unemployment in this country! Attempts by governments to resolve this issue has failed. Many people are jobless! The educational reforms to place emphasis on job-creation or entrepreneurship, is not having its full impact! Our students are being offered programmes without bearings on the local job market! Industrialization is yet to attain its full fledge and so, unemployment persists! The private sector is failing to absorb the growing numbers, just as our public sectors have failed us! Ghana must sit up!

When it comes to the issue of security in Ghana, that is a fallacy! Our borders lay open to invaders, and trespassers! Each day, people sneak through, unnoticed! All kinds of crimes are being operated and coordinated in this nation! Illicit drugs are finding their way into the country through our ports, airports, and borders! Foreign nationals are trading freely and illegally! Ammunitions are being sneaked into our markets! The weapons being used by criminals in this country are far advanced, to that being used by our law officers! As to the law, I see no law because our laws are non-functional! Our law officers are themselves, culpable! Ghana must sit up!

In Ghana, accountability is zero! Corruption is high! Lawlessness reigns! The Ghanaian Cedi is fast losing its value and so, making trading very difficult especially for the ordinary Ghanaian! The prices of utilities keep soaring whiles service delivery keeps getting poorer! The price of transportation keeps soaring, whiles accessibility remains a problem! Access to accommodation is a hurdle, and the rates, unbearable! The current standard of living in Ghana is fast becoming outrageous! It is becoming outrageously expensive, living in this country! That is the state of our nation today! Ghana must sit up!

But of course, there is hope! We have tomorrow, to right our wrongs! We have today to make things right by taking lessons from yesterday, in planning for tomorrow! All this is only achievable, when we keep to our social laws! Our laws keep us in check, because in truth, most of us are indisciplined! Ghana seems to be growing, but only backwards. That is the state of our nation!

Anna Esi Hanson ([email protected]), Takoradi.

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