A Public Lecture delivered by Jacob Osei Yeboah, an Independent Presidential Aspirant, during the 55th Week Celebration of the University of Ghana SRC on 3rd October, 2012,on the topic, ?

??SUSTAINABLE NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT; THE CASE OF GRADUATE UNEMPLOYMENT AND PEACEFUL ELECTION?.joy2020

I want to firstly deal with the idea of peaceful election, then secondly, Sustainable National Development (SND) as applied to Ghana and link the lack of SND as the root cause of Graduate Unemployment.

 

The topic seems to suggest that there is a national development plan or a strategic goal that we want to achieve as a nation. Thus, we want to contemplate its sustainability, with graduates as our focus, to imbibe in the national fabric, the sense towards achieving a peaceful election. Fellow students let?s ask ourselves whether Ghana has a national development agenda!? Do we? No we do not and almost it is impossible to carve a National Development Agenda (NDA) with our kind of partisan politics with unreasonable deep-seated polarisation rooted in ethnocentric tendencies and destructive self-centredness.

 

Again, let us inquest into a broader understanding of the word ?PEACE?.? Is peace only the absence of war? ?Do we have peace in Ghana? No, we do not but very subjective in relativity to the object of comparison. The answer to the question as to who a graduate is can help us to pragmatically address graduate unemployment. We will then take a look at the course of action by students to ensure that the phenomenon is reduced drastically.

 

PEACEFUL ELECTION

 

I?ve had a hard time understanding what we mean by Peaceful Election? Do we mean a violent free election? Yes, I believe so, that we all mean a violence free election at the declaration of the winner by the Electoral Commission, where the other contestants, especially the first runner-up magnanimously accept the results. Once this is done, Ghanaians can proudly say that we are the beacon of democracy in Africa. So what happens if the first runner-up refuses to magnanimously accept and called for an all-die-be-die scenario due to clear-eyed, unfair subjugation electoral fraud by a ?let-him-dare incumbent? We?ve had five ?peaceful? elections during this Fourth Republic beginning from 1992. Isn?t it? Yes, it is! But can we say that we?ve had peace as individuals and as a nation from 1992? No, No, is my answer but I do not know about you.

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The upsurge of armed robberies, contract killings, innocent shedding of the blood of women and babies, suicidal killings, spousal killings, drug trafficking, Ghana serving as safe haven for fraudsters, negative machoism, foot soldiers of political parties, deceptive serial callers, gargantuan corruption and wanton display of wealth by some appointed and elected public officials, enforced poverty on most citizens, the telling of blatant lies and propaganda, selective justice and social injustices perpetrated by ruling government officials and their functionaries, etc. Are these characterizations on the increase in our society defying the fact that we voted for peace? Let?s rethink again and look for the word which connotes the fact that we are voting such that these characterizations of bad governance will be minimised if not eliminated in our society.

 

Violence free election is needed badly to ensure the consolidation of our trudging democracy amidst bad governance. Democracy is a war of ideas fought with the weapons of rule of law. Violent elections are largely symptoms of lack of trust in the judiciary by citizens to seek redress and the perceived bad and unprofessional influence by incumbent governments on state institutions in carrying out their constitutional rights. An example is when the security forces and especially the National Security and our trusted Ghana army are perceived to be compromising their avowed principles of their profession and the absolute trust Ghanaians have in them. Lawlessness is the root cause of violent elections and is self evident in society that has gravitated towards an animal farm scenario with the philosophy of the survival of the fittest. We need selfless and cognitive efforts to ensure that institutions are made to work in accordance with their constitutional mandates. This is a fundamental panacea towards violence free elections in December, 2012. We will, however, accentuate how students can ensure that Ghanaians have peaceful election..

 

What is the intrinsic meaning of peace and peaceful election? Peace as defined by the Cambridge International Dictionary as ?calm and quiet; lack of interruption or annoyance from worry, problems, noise or unwanted actions?. Do we have calmness and quietness in our society, do we lack annoyance from the characterizations as stated initially and above, do we lack basic amenities such as shelter, food and clothing? Are we subjected to deafening noises in our areas and radios, or is our nation not fraught with actions such as murders of innocent lives?

 

Suffice I to say that, if we vote and we continue to experience an upsurge of these dehumanizing acts in our society, then one cannot help but conclude that we have not as yet fully advanced to the stage of voting for our peace. This understanding is critical in 2012 election.

 

We need to understand that ?peace? is an intangible concept that requires cognitive and practical approach towards achieving it. Peace is inherently subjugated by social injustices, unfairness, poverty, ignorance, corruption, bad governance, marginalisation, neglecting vulnerable groups, political polarisation, aggressive militarisation, insecurity, mediocrity and lawlessness and general indiscipline.

 

One may ask, how should we envisage peaceful election as students? Peaceful election is, therefore, an apparent determination to deal concisely with the indicators of bad governance. These bad governance indicators have to do with indecisive leadership, corruption, social injustice, improbity and lack of accountability. Corruption alone causes Africa USD148bn yearly. Ghana has yet to show how corruption is going to be tackled. ?An interesting phenomenon in Ghana is what is known as gargantuan corruption. Will the people of Ghana find justice applied instructively on judgement debt payment? What has eluded Ghanaians is the will to interrogate why both defence and prosecuting lawyers on the judgement debt payments agreed on the payment and how both parties can be challenged legally. Can they be charged legally for aiding and abetting the crimes? You are students and you can form debate clubs and educate the public with your findings. Can the courts jail Mr. Woyome without charging the then Attorney General and Woyome?s lawyers? Let?s pass on to the core topic SND, after all that is what this Public Lecture is about.

 

 

Sustainable National Development (SND)

 

To understand SND and more especially, since I am addressing the Academia, let me try to put forth the researched definition and the concept of Sustainable National Development (SND).

 

According to Brundtland Commission Report, ?Our Common Future? to United Nation Commission on Environment and Development (UNCED), defines SND as development that ?meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generation to meet their own needs? (World Commission on Environment and Development: 27).

 

The over-arching philosophy in the definition is the ?needs? identification for both the present and the future generations. These needs are encapsulated in the visionary goals of leadership and the government in following a participatory National Development Agenda (NDA).

 

The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002 came to the realisation that, leadership, participatory planning, awareness created implementation, socially internalised vision monitoring and aptly learning knowledge-based literates are key skills for nations to embark on SND programme.

 

 

Fellow students, do I need to inform you that we do not have a coherent NDA as a nation! However, political parties do have their respective NDAs. Does that make sense? No, it doesn?t! So, should we continue with our current practice of partisan politics and governance, where winner-takes-all is the order of the day while maintaining the ?tyranny of majority in parliament decision making process?

 

SND according to the definition touches on both the present and the future generations? well-being. The theoretical implication is that SND is a people-centred concept that is long-term in its outlook with a participatory and cognitive, prioritized and integrated, balanced approach to development.

 

Practically, this means that you have to make sure that not just one part of the population benefits and those long-term negative effects for the? will have to be minimised.

 

Conceptually, SND can be broken down in three core balanced dimensions of the Economy, Society and the Environment. Let me ask. ?Is politics part of the three (3) dimensions of SND? No, Politics is not. So why is it that in Ghana, politicians are loud and all of us are being forced to accept the fact that politicians are a panacea for our national socio-economic reconstruction while in reality the politicians do not really care about the well-being of the people? I queried in 2010, ?Which political caldron have the political parties put Ghanaians into for which they stir our minds and insult our sensitivities and intelligence daily such that we look hopeless and helpless without exercising our sovereign will from which all powers of the government emanate??

 

 

 

As an aside and according UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA 2002), the definitions of the three-core balanced dimensions of SND are as follows

  • ? Economy: Economic sustainability means maximising society?s well-being, economic equity, and eradicating poverty through the creation of wealth and livelihoods, equal access to resources, and the optimal and efficient use of natural resources.

 

  • ? Society: Socio-political sustainability means promoting social equity and uplifting the welfare and quality of life by improving access to basic health and education services, fulfilling minimum standards of security and respect for human rights, including the development of diversity, pluralism, and grassroots participation.

 

  • ? Environment: Environmental sustainability means the enhancement and conservation of the environment and natural resources for present and future generations.

 

SND requires concepts that accentuate the benefits of environmental sustainability to create economic growth for authentic co-existence of society. The key challenge of putting sustainable development into practice is the understanding and management of these complex interactions and relationships among economic, social, and environmental objectives. ?Participation and inclusion are imperative to unite all key stakeholders and negotiate long-term goals and trade-offs among the various dimensions of sustainable development, as well as the allocation of resources.

 

 

If Ghana were to have a coherent NDA, its sustainability could force the reconciliation of the short-term electoral cycle with long-term planning; the goal of economic growth with environmental and social sustainability; the advantages of policy coherence through greater co-ordination with the move toward decentralization.

Because, I am practically oriented in thoughts and actions, it will be a bit absurd to give you students joy in the theoretical fantasy on SND whilst in reality we do not even have NDA, as a nation. To buttress my point the recent government?s white paper on Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) report under National Development Plan (Agenda) states ?Whilst the Government accepts the CRC?s recommendation for a comprehensive, long-term, strategic multi-year rolling National Development Plan, it does not agree with the CRC that:

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a)???? The provision or the development of NDP should be entrenched; and

b)???? The NDP so developed should be binding on all successive governments and enforceable at the instance of any person or institution.

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Proposition (a) and (b) will have the effects of a command model of development planning and tie the hands of successive governments to the ideological interest and policies of a particular political party. Government does not accept the CRC recommendation for the constitution to prescribe grass-root participation and wide range stakeholder consultation in the NDP process. Government does not consider as necessary, the recommendation for annual report to Parliament on the implementation of NDP?.

 

Your government has rendered as a hoax the work of CRC with about GHC8M cost to the tax payer, wasted man-hours of productivity to individuals and institutions that participated in the consultation. Your government does not want you to be consulted for the NDP, does not want to be accountable to the people through parliament for implementation. Your government does not accept the fact that the NDP itself can be sacrosanct whilst each party can use its ideological patch as different pathways of reaching the same NDP for all Ghanaians.

 

What is National Development Agenda? It is the determination of the national, basic, long-term developmental goals and objectives, and the adoption of courses of action and the allocation of resources necessary for carrying out these goals.

 

In the book entitled the ?The Next President of Ghana? by Jacob Osei Yeboah, I carve out the unfinished national agenda by the combined visions of the forebears of our country, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and Dr. J. B. Danquah and conclude that ?Therefore, the unfinished national agenda is the fight for economic and social reconstruction of Ghana in national and cultural politics, in the duty of Ghana?s culture, making a supreme contribution to the achievement and happiness and survival of mankind.?

 

 

What development goals do we have for Ghana?s socio-cultural, ICT, Trade, Agriculture, Education, Health, Environment and Industries as a nation for the next ten to twenty years? What courses of actions do we need to adopt based on our anthropological disposition and the allocation of resources (including, graduates, time and money) necessary for carrying out these developmental goals. Who will be involved (graduates) in the process and when will activities take place and more importantly the context of where (decentralisation) these developmental activities take place. What are the country specific advantages of Ghana within the Sub-region of W/Africa, Africa in general and the world at large?

 

 

The Case of Graduate Unemployment

 

Graduate education is essential for maintaining a vibrant economy and healthy communities especially in the face of increasing global competition. The only way that Ghana can hope to move beyond the status quo is by embracing new ideas, benchmarking best practices and engaging in research to discover new knowledge and new ways of doing things. Graduate education teaches students how to think critically thus preparing them to deal with and find solutions to problems in the future which is the source of wealth creation. Problems we cannot even conceive of today. We must do all we can to ensure that our graduate community continues to be vibrant and healthy so that we remain able to compete in an increasingly knowledge-based, global economy.

What can resolve graduate unemployment is a restructuring of the ministries to make that can ensure that our educational system output serves as primary input for industries skills gap. For, it will make more sense if government creates Ministry of Education and Industries. The existing structure of Ministry of Trade and industries is not reflective of a theoretical, strategic goal oriented ministry. Trade always goes with Economics and one would expect the creation of such a ministry. Another example is that Tourism goes with good transportation and road networks with corresponding recreational facilities.

Let me hypothetically use the study of Latin at the university as an example. How many jobs will be available for such students in Ghana? The reason is that, there is no coherent NDA.

 

What we need to understand is that if there were coherent NDA agenda, all political parties will be duty-bound toward achieving the same stated objectives but through different ideological paths. However, in Ghana what do we see? Political parties are rather engrossed in mediocre self-glorification of non-workable counterproductive projects. Typical examples are the four (4) years as against three (3) years of SHS education, continuing premium and one-time premium of NHIS, uncompleted affordable houses in the bush as against STX Korea deal. Ghana needs a great awakening and let us get ?a little more sensible about with our partisan politics.

 

 

Fellow students, do you know that the lack of NDA is the root cause of graduates? unemployment? Will you agree that political party?s cronyism is serving as a disincentivised tool to serious academic studies by some students, is this not the case? Yes, it is because we all witness how such graduates eventually get political appointments and they tend to be square perks in round holes, visionless, hollow, highly corrupt, provocative and above all insulting. The unfortunate phenomenon on our campuses is that, such political parties? cronies are your heroes on campuses. Let me re-emphasise this point, not all political activists on campuses find themselves in this category, as a matter of fact they are few and you know they do not inspire leadership qualities in terms of academics, character and existential vision. Your SRCs and NUGS leaders must be motivated by you, the students, to ensure that they represent your collective interests and not to exchange your individual interest for their own.

 

Your future employment is being jeopardized by slumbering politicians unless you rise up to challenge the status- quo. What you need as students is to take your destiny into your hands now by demanding NDA from the government. Demand it now through every available democratic means used by students to claim their peanuts from governments. You will become history after leaving school and pathetic graduates when you team up to form frustrated graduates unemployment association. An association which depicts the lack of entrepreneurial psyche in our tertiary education in a Ghana beset with lots of problems begging for solutions. If graduates from tertiary institutions cannot find jobs then what do we say about SHS graduates? It is no more gargantuan but ginormous. The process to create wealth begins when workable solution is provided for a problem.

 

 

As realised by World Submit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), Ghana needs a visionary transformational leader who is not partisan to help carve NDA and lead in its formation and implementation. There is the need to interrogate the political status quo and change its structure to ensure that government becomes serious and institutions workable. Students must become the change they believe in by ensuring that they elect SRC executives who are not politically biased but can help set students ?agenda that can secure the future of all of you and not the few cronies.

 

 

Let me take the time to further expatiate on the fact that the lack of NDA is the root cause of graduate unemployment with an example.

 

Assuming within the next 10 years, Ghana?s goal is be the highest producer of vehicular tyres and conveyor belts for industries within Ghana and W/Africa markets. This goal will require rubber plantation, setting up of industries, marketers and after sales service groups. The skills requirement is analysed, students are educated to fill the needed gap in the future. This alone can create hundred thousands of jobs across the various professions from Social Scientists, Agriculturists, Engineers, Environmentalists, Scientist, marketers, lecturers etc.

 

 

Your world is the boundaries of the campuses and your ?needs? definition as applied to SND is your present survival of smooth academic semesters and your future job security after graduation.

 

What you need to do as students is to demand a National Development Agenda now as already indicated. ?Demand it now before the election and require an agreement by the political parties and Independent Presidential Aspirants to show leadership. Else do not give your votes to them. You need to send your petition to force the political parties to agree on a NDA for Ghana. Demand it from the Executive, the Legislature, the NDPC, our chiefs, religious leaders, TUC, the Ghana Army and solicit support and ideas from other civil society organisations. This is the call to destiny that beacons on you as students and it can only take you alone to help the country carve out a NDA. Your counterparts elsewhere have determined their future from the present through Arab Spring to Occupy Streets Revolutions. Other youth have sacrificed to the extent of their blood and lives to lay a foundation for the future from the present. Without a present, there is no future and your willingness to organise to demand NDA is the little you can do for your future and the next generations. If foot soldiers can sack Ministers and DCEs, the entire students can equally demand their future jobs democratically.

 

Why am I calling on you the students? We are in a Ghana, where, time and again ,Religious Leaders, Traditional Leaders and the business communities are attacked verbally, scandalously, clandestinely and disgraced whenever they raise their voices of change on issues of critical national importance and not partisan importance. The sceptre of change is with you the students and your energy and responsible course of action can bring true socio-economic freedom to Ghana. If you want a better future after school, that future is determined by the present course of actions and choices you make. Now is the time! I say now is the time; enough is enough with bad governance! Now is the time for destiny to determine the next generation of leadership not only for Ghana but Africa! Now is the time that destiny demands we correct past political mistakes and carve a new appropriate democracy for Africa based on our tradition. Now is the time, that we translate the ideologies of capitalism and socialism into Africa contexts for ?Appropriatism? where Africa will do that which is appropriate for its own people.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Peace is not only wished for but must be worked for pragmatically and prudently. For peaceful election, students should get involved positively to educate the masses and using positive demonstration to draw the government?s attention to issues of broader national interest. Demonstrate against bad governance indicators and offer constructive solution to these. This is the time for you to deal with future graduate unemployment by setting the present agenda for students? interests and demanding NDA now for a brighter future.

 

Ghanaians are presented with the Good, the Bad the Ugly and the next generation leadership and government to choose from, on December 7 elections. The Independent Presidential System (IPS) is the sure recipe solution for our problems and represents the next generation. Benin did it when their students decided to support President Thomas Yayi Boni to win in 2006. This is the time for Ghana to prove to Africa that our students will support good ideas to secure their future. Remember, IDEAS are what you need to carve an NDA, Ideas are what you need to reduce graduate unemployment and Ideas are what you need to create wealth.

 

May God help us to resist oppressors rule with all our will and might forever more.

 

JOY2012 ? Jobs for all, Opportunities for all, Youth Empowerment in 2012.

JOY: 2012; ?THE POWER OF ONE: AND YOU ARE THE ONE? USE THE POWER NOW.

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Thank You.

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