‘Building the Nation’ is a poem that most of us learnt at nursery school, and I am sure most school-going children still learn it today.
It is a poem that talks about the chauffeur (driver) whose duty it was to drive a Permanent Secretary (PS) to a function.
However, at the end of the day, they both came home with stomach troubles. While one’s trouble was caused by over eating, the other’s was due to excessive hunger.
Very often, depending on where one stands, it is easy to either describe the glass as half full or half empty.
So it is with nation building.
Depending on which side of the divide one stands, it is easy to describe those charged with managing the affairs of the state as performing or not performing.
Fix the country
Over the last few months, there has been series of agitations on social media calling for the country to be fixed.
Dubbed #Fixthecountry campaign, the activists have listed a litany of challenges they believe must be fixed now to secure the future of not only the country but also the youth whose future they deem being jeopardised.
The challenges listed included, but not limited to, the growing unemployment, increasing cost of living, disruption in the country’s educational sector, erratic power supply, poor road infrastructure and growing corruption at high places.
The call, albeit important, cannot be stripped of its political undertones.
In this country, every issue of importance is framed within the lenses of political opportunism, and this makes it very difficult to determine the real intent of the individuals who are championing the #Fixthecountry campaign.
As usual, the campaign has divided opinions, with another group surfacing with the call for Ghanaians to fix their attitudes first before calling for the country to be fixed.
But truth be told, leaders are mainly voted into power to lead in solving problems and they do this through a wide range of activities, including but not limited to policy formulation and implementation, job creation, infrastructure development, providing healthcare and education services.
Governments are not elected to fix the country’s problems only, but are also empowered to collect taxes to enable it build the financial muscles to perform its duties.
As a result, it is not out of place for people to call on their government to do the needful when they are unable to access the basic amenities such as potable water and good roads.
After all, it is the primary duty of government to ensure that, citizens have access to basic needs in the country.
It is the duty of government for instance, to protect and preserve the natural resources by enacting the relevant legislations.
Therefore, when people are plundering state resources with careless abandon, it is right to hold government accountable and ask that it fixes it.
When no concrete steps are taken to address unemployment, it is the legitimate right of the citizenry to demand that it is fixed.
But can we say that all the responsibilities in fixing the country lies solely on government or leadership alone?
Role of citizens
What is the role of citizens in fixing the country?
Are street agitations, ranting in the media and insults directed at government officials the only way to fix the country?
While government’s role in fixing the country cannot be overemphasised, the role of the citizens is equally important.
It is the duty of citizens to obey laws and abide by rules and regulations in the country.
Every responsible citizen must be law abiding. This is because, without adherence to law there will be no democracy and without democracy, the country cannot be fixed.
It is instructive to note that the very citizens who go about dumping their refuse on the streets, into the gutters while perpetrating illegal acts such as bypassing household metres for water and electricity are the same shouting their voices hoarse for the country to be fixed.
So if the water and electricity companies do not get their revenues and run losses what do we expect? Poor electricity and water supply.
When traders and businesses inflate prices of their goods and services at the expense of the masses, the inflation goes up, thereby impacting the economy.
In as much as we agree that government has the biggest role in fixing the country, it is equally important that we do not gloss over the responsibility of the citizen in the equation.
For now, we can only say let the agitations and the campaigns continue devoid of the rancor and insults.
It doesn’t matter whether you are for the #Fixthecountrynow or #Fixyourattitude, the most important thing is that in this fight of nation building, there are no winners and no losers.
After all a fixed nation where milk and honey flow does not benefit only one group of people but all.
Similarly, a broken attitude which steals from the state, litter with careless abandon and illegally connects to water and electricity, does not only affect one person but the whole nation.
As we engage in our daily discourse on our nation, let us remember that, “Whether the whale swallowed Jona or Jona swallowed the whale, there was a swallow”.
Similarly, we must remember that, whether we are calling for #Fixthecountrynow or #Fixyourattitudenow, there is a fix and we must all come together to get the fix fixed!
Let us all have a positive attitude to fix the country together.
The writer is a Records Information Management Project Coordinator of a private company in United States of America.