Archive for Accra

After The Floods

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 31, 2015 by kola

flood
“Year in year out the rains come and cause the same problems, no solutions, loss of lives and property through one negligence or another. So we need to call it what it is – a nation that lacks common sense. How many times do you have to be punched in the face before you know it hurts?”

People die out here (referring to Europe) too but mostly through their own negligence or it is preventable. In this situation it was the responsibility of city planners and government. Why the same problems every damn year. At what point do we say enough is enough. We need to hold the people accountable.”

These were the sentiments made by a Ghanaian living abroad when he read of the events of the flooding of June 3 into the early hours of June 4, 2015. I have already written about the Accra floods and I took some flak for the picture that was attached to the article because it was a year old. People didn’t even notice the insert photo that was taken three hours before the article was written and published.

Little did we know that a worse set of photos were about to invade social media circles barely 24 hours later.

This year that the mayor of Accra has won a very prestigious award as the Best Mayor in Africa and as such he is hosting the World Mayors Conference, it is as if the gods are angry with him for one violation or the other and are pissing on his shaggy captain Haddock beard.

The usual spots that I mentioned in the other article to be watched for flooding aka the usual suspects and this time the so called drains that they said were refurbished were taking away the water have now been clogged by the motor vehicles because they didn’t plan to channel the water into the drain but just built the drain.

Today is a sad day for the country for as if by design, there was an explosion at a filling station when a tanker was offloading in the rain and a spark ignited the fuel killing several people. Apart from the floods drowning people, this unlikely accident has overshadowed all else.

Now the question to ask is who is to blame? Where is the huge amount of money that was secured to build the drainage systems in the capital? Where did the money go? And now let’s listen to our president then and now.
In 2014 he said “ I have directed the Finance Minister to release funds immediately for the construction of storm drains in Accra. There will be no flooding in Accra again”.
Now he made another promise that this sad event will be looked into and will not happen again.

Wow!

If we are to take our politicians word for it then we know that we are not going to move forward as a nation because it has become obvious time and time again that they only make ‘honorable political promises’ and then forget about them when they get the votes that secure them in the position of the people’s representatives.

Remember when a disaster happened and the same mayor of Accra in bravado resembling his lookalike Captain Haddock of Tintin fame fired the metropolitan works engineer in camera at a press conference. How many people died in that disaster and how many people died when the gods took piss in his beard and per some mischief a messenger lighted a candle to the piss. In all fairness to the former, he should just have fired himself in camera too by holding a press conference and tending in his resignation but alas it is not to happen. This is Africa.

Even whilst they inspect the damage of the floods somebody has to carry his umbrella so he doesn’t get his grey political suit wet. Reminds me of a photo by the Black Narrator of the mayors meeting with the president where they toast to a glass of bubbly whilst the president congratulates him on his award.
narrator

Furthermore, if we embrace the mediocrity and we don’t hold our leaders accountable then there is no need complaining as we do going on radio stations to shout our voices hoarse over what is wrong with this nation. Now everybody gets up and strikes are the other of the day. The only people whose salaries are constant are the politicians and the parliamentarians will only go against each other on anything else but money that is going into their pockets.

I have got to be careful before I am summoned before a parliamentary committee for libel. I can always say I was on heat in the spur of the moment so just venting.

It is about time Ghanaians woke up and realized that the real power is in their hands and they cede this power to the elected representatives and so when these representatives are not responsibly representing, they must be changed like diapers.

It just takes resetting the mindset one person at a time and making the Ghanaian a discerning voter.

Like I always say it begins with YOU!!

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Millennium City

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on July 22, 2014 by kola

This piece is inspired by three very different incidents that happened to me whilst I was in Accra on various trips.

Firstly was when I took a trotro from circle to lapaz.  The driver was going to charge a fare, and impressed on the mate to charge a fare that was about 15% more than the original fare. His reason was that he was taking a direct route via the N1 to his destination and since that was longer he was gonna charge the passengers for the longer route.

But let’s analyze this. To go via the traditional route meant that he would lose as a commercial driver. This is because there was heavy traffic on that route and a whole lot of stoppages. This would invariably affect his fuel consumption and reduce the number of times he could come back for more passengers.

Inasmuch as the other route was longer it was quicker and more efficient and he could count on getting back for more passengers in the shortest possible time.

So why should the passenger pay for something like that when he wasn’t really in a hurry as much as the driver was.

When I pointed this out to the mate he got offended and abusive. Amidst the insults he said that he hadn’t migrated to Accra to look at the sea but also to learn how to be “tough and hardened”. This I found funny to which I retorted ‘how about those of us who were born in Accra’ (since apparently Accra toughens emigrants) much to his chagrin and the laughter of the other passengers.

And Yes I didn’t pay the extra fare.

The next incident is when I came to Accra to attend a daughter’s engagement and wedding. During the engagement I happened to be with the groom who had to lurk around the venue until he was summoned in and presented to his bride’s family.

We were bored sitting in the car so we decided to find a different place to sit to change the venue add atmosphere so three of us walked into the nearest cosy place we could find and it happened to be a barber’s shop. The doors were open so we just walked in. Nobody was in the shop so we sat down in the chairs and got to becoming comfy.

Apparently the barber (owner of the shop) was lurking around and seeing us enter the shop thought we were clients so he came over and I explained to him the situation and why we found ourselves in his shop. This guy looks me dead in the face and tells me for sitting in his shop it will cost us an amount of money equivalent to 5 people having a haircut fees. 

I keep my cool and I ask him how much it even costs for a haircut for all three of us in his shop at the moment although it was obvious we were already well groomed for an event. He shamelessly names a prize after which I tell him my piece of mind and we walk out of his electricity_less and music_less shop and go back to the boring comfort of the air-conditioned four wheel drive and music of our choice.

The final incident happened when I sat in a taxi and dropped my new android phone with its rubber still on it.  I had collected a new phone to be delivered to its owner up north but with her permission I’ve been told to test the phone to make sure it was working so that it will be in a ready to use condition when it was delivered. The very first day I put the phone on trial is the day I lost it in bizarre circumstances.

I had 4 different phones in my pocket and I hadn’t slept in two days because I had to meet deadlines at work. I was tired when I took the cab and the phone kept slipping out of my pocket so I pushed it back into the depths of my pockets, put my legs up on the seat and went to nap till my destination. I had just been talking on the phone before I dozed off and was expecting a call back in the estimated time it will take to get to my destination.

So when the driver woke me up that we had arrived a few short minutes later I was amazed. He’d apparently taken a short cut and I was happy to get the business I had to do over and done with so I go home to sleep.

So I paid him and got off to check my change. It was whilst I had finished checking my change that I decided to call the party I ya meeting when I reached for the phone that I realized it had fallen into the cab, most likely. Cab driver was barely fifty meters away in the traffic when I realized so I took my other phone to call the phone so he could pick up and I tell him I was behind him to pick up my phone. That’s when it happened.

It was like I was watching a movie. In hindsight I have laughed several times when describing the incident to friends. The phone was ringing (I remember I hadn’t had time to change the loud default annoying ringtone) and I know he’d heard it and seen it. Just then the line went dead and the taxi cab just swerved out of the traffic into the sidewalk and with a blaring of horns sped off.

Mind you it was still in traffic and if I wasn’t so tired I would’ve caught up with him but I was too tired to bother. I actually felt sad for the taxi driver to have sold his integrity for a phone but maybe it’s just me. 

These three incidents characterize what the capital city has become.  Immigrants to the city think that it is a place not to play and be tough to survive. To become tough, one has to shed all sense of humanity and not think of the other person’s convenience or the lack of it.

The taxi driver had heard me talk on the phone with the person I was going to meet and he didn’t mind that by running away with my phone Hollywood style I will not be able to contact whoever I was meeting.

As for the barber, he saw a quick fix to a slow day with no electricity to make a quick buck off these hapless fellows who walked into his shop seeking respite. Lucky us, we had a choice but we were only tired of it.

This is your so called Millennium City riddled with filth and corruption. A city where when the millennium plaque is unveiled, right after the ceremony, a lunatic spreads himself on the tiled plaque right in the middle of the city and takes a nap. 

How iconic!

How else would fraud and robbery not be the height of exploitation in the city when people are trying to live beyond their means to show off. And in the current economic downturn it has become obvious that the biggest crooks and manipulative folks are the cloak and dagger types in expensive suits sitting in air conditioned offices or with pens in their breast pockets.

What happened to our African sense of communalism where we cared for each other. These days even greeting to an elderly person is becoming as extinct as the dinosaurs. How much more inter personal relationships. Relationships are now based on what each party is gonna get from that relationship and pitifully this has even extended to marriages.

With the family being the basic unit in society how do you expect the society to make progress in development. 

This is not about government. Yes we’re having trouble in that department but let’s take care of the smaller issues too. These deal with personal mental revolution and changing our attitudes to some things. Then and only then will we be united in getting our nation to move forward in unity and solidarity.

Like I always say it begins with YOU!

Ghana Must Work!

Student Leadership in Legon via Karim

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 17, 2014 by kola

POINT ZERO…. (3.0)
Well it appears we have only Joshua Dogbey running for SRC president due to the failure of  his fellow aspirants to make the ‘3.0’ mark (at least that’s what I hear) and so it has become important for us to have this debate.

I have heard many say there’s absolutely no correlation between academic performance and leadership. Well I disagree partly to such a position. My point of disagreement comes especially when it is that the institution in question is an academic one. Such people proceed to make claims that the most outstanding of leaders notably the Ghandis, Confucius, Luther etc were not the best of students in their days – well I do not have knowledge of that so I won’t dispute it – But I believe such an argument misses the point.

It is obvious that when one wants to run for a public office, the question of academic performance doesn’t come up, so the difference here is that the University of Ghana is an academic institution and if one cannot have a mastery of his own academic performance then I am afraid we cannot allow such a person to lead.

That said, I believe it is absolutely important that we do not make it the sole requirement or better still make it too difficult a hurdle for people to climb. I believe the whole idea of this 3.0 requirement is to have our student leaders have some level of sound academic performance. Fair enough! And so this brings up the question of  “How do we determine good academic performance? If it’s only about who scores highest in the exam room, then I guess that’s unfortunate. But I believe that is a whole problem with our education system and I would saved that for another day.

Again I have heard some authorities say the 3.0 is basically to put students in good standing before they become leaders because the duty is burdensome and time consuming and for that reason most of them normally fail to graduate on time. Honestly such a concern is admirable but I disagree that’s the truth. .

The danger with such a position is that it is likely to undermine the relevance of the little positions and committees we sign up to in level 100 to prepare ourselves for the ultimate positions we so want to protect with 3.0, because what it seeks to imply is that, students should participate solely in academic work in the early levels just so he/she can get 3.0.  But that argument, am afraid doesn’t suffice.

There are those that even allege, the intention of the authorities with regard this whole 3.0 is to get us to a time when the most vociferous of students would have no interest in student leadership so that authorities can have a field day. Well it lies beyond the scope of this article to give a detailed expose on the plausibility or otherwise of this allegation. Nevertheless I believe their allegations are not entirely without merit though.

I am informed that prior to the implementation of new grading system that raised grade A from 70 to 80%, CGPA of 2.5 representing 2nd Class Upper was the benchmark for clearance to contest for various student positions. And I believe that given the upgrade in the current system, it is only reasonable that we maintain the 2nd Class Upper requirement and not make things unnecessarily strict.

I am of the view that this system should be reviewed and I’d entreat everybody to get involved and share ideas for the future of Student Leadership in the University of Ghana. For I fear that if this continues, a day when authorities would appoint their favorite puppet leaders for us would not be far.

Karim  (Alex Kwapong Hall)

About the Author

Ibrahim Abdul Karim is a Level 200 Sociology and Social Work student of the University of Ghana. He obviously has an interest in student leadership and with thoughts like this, I believe people like him are the future leaders with the nation’s interest at heart.
He can be contacted at undaceo2013@gmail.com

My 2013

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on December 31, 2013 by kola

I don’t particularly set new year resolutions but I’m just realizing that I set myself to do some stuff in various aspects of my life and whilst some have been achieved, I failed woefully at most others. Honestly, there isn’t much to celebrate for me in 2013 personally because whatever I have done this year has been carved out of laziness. I haven’t pushed myself as much as I would have loved to in getting any achievements so there is nothing much to be proud about.

The more significant things that I should have followed up to do I never really did and it was more like I didn’t care. Furthermore procrastination took the best part of my initiatives and now on the last days of the year, it still takes me an effort to write this piece because I’m still in bed.

How ironic!

I know people will be writing and expect to be reading of achievement and what they did best this past year. But for me, this is a heartfelt piece. The greatest achievement for me, at least I might have done something right, is to have you reading my blog now, either as a follower or you might have heard of the blog.

Thank you for the support!

The past year has been a very eventful year for me. Changed jobs, relocated to a new region, tried to acquire some property and best of all, just help as many people as I can in whatever way I can.

But as usual, all this was done with the lackadaisical attitude that comes with doing everything else and even though some results might have been achieved, they were not as personally fulfilling as I would have expected it to be. The long term effects of some of these projects have have long standing benefits to anybody who is connected to them and that is my legacy for 2013.

I have encouraged, helped and seen friends want to develop themselves especially in education. Education is the one thing I have not compromised on and even though as usual personally I have not strived harder to gain any more certificates (a certificate does not necessarily define who you are and what you are capable of doing), I have also not stimulated my brain enough this past year.

It s been a year of the comfort zone I should say.

With relation to health and fitness, like any other actions this year, it has been on and off. Knowing my conditions and living according to the dictates of my body has not been a strong point. However I haven’t also pushed for excellence in fitness either.

My relationship with my family has always been great. Parents and siblings have been supportive and I appreciate the modality (a word whose true meaning I learnt from my kid brother) that comes with stretching a helping hand when it was required. Sometimes I know people have been baffled at the sort of relationship we have as a family but I’m thankful to my parents for bringing us up the way they did – to be open to each other and know that we are the life support of each other.

If you can’t go to family for help and encouragement, where else can you go to?

Relations with external family however has been strained because of one thing or the other. African extended families are supposed to be the bedrock of development but then in recent times people have tended to abuse the existing communal systems as they are and this has led to a strain on the very foundations of the African belief system.

Hope to try more to be as Afropolitan as I have preached we should all be when it comes to my extended family ties.

The year 2013 took my love life to a new dimension that I have realised that the more years you spend with the person the more work you have to do to keep the relationship going. I had always taken it for granted that being in a relationship for years meant that you got to know the person much better and became more familiar with who and how they were.

How very wrong I was.

Everyday with the person you love should be a day you cherish and live it like it will never come back. Truly it will never come back and you have to make that loved one feel the love and not just keep saying it. Just as faith without works is useless, professing love without showing it is…….

Well, you complete that one.

The love of my life has been my pillar and my support and has encouraged me to do stuff that I didn’t even know I had it within me to do. From the very beginning, she had seen my potential when even I couldn’t see it. She has pushed, cajoled, bullied me into being a better person and i still feel like I’m a work in progress.

Thank God for her life. She is a wonderful woman.

Furthermore I have made some very interesting friends through social media and via blogging too. The BlogCamp was a springboard to meet other bloggers with common interests. On other social media especially on Facebook and Twitter, some friends have proved to almost be blood relations and it’s been a learning experience and fun throughout the year.

Every year I have set out to complete a personal project and in most years past, these projects have grown into a wider scale and some even going global. The past year has been a very lazy year because I didn’t set out to do any projects but to support them if the project handlers called for my support. There haven’t been too many and I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t really contribute that much to any of the projects I was part of this year even though most of them were a success.

With regards to my writing, you are my witnesses to the laziness that has characterised my writing process. Content has never been an issue with me but the willpower to just sit behind the PC and write has been lacking. You, dear reader, are my motivation.

I have written stuff that haven’t been of he quality that I would have wanted them to be and in others I have not researched well into the topics I have wanted to talked about thus leaving the arguments porous.

The year 2013 has seen the successful start up of another chapter in my writing with the Letters to Kpakpo talking about my adventures as I live in Tamale where I relocated to during the year. It had been fun so far.

I hope to write more and also attempt to get more traffic to my blog and that can also be done with your help as you recommend the blog sites to others. Thank you!

Well, there are many good things that also happened to me in the year I just can’t take credit for. Plenty just happened to me and I’m grateful to God and everybody who has been a part of my life in 2013.

May we remain closer in the coming year.

#Happy New Year.

My Bank

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on December 9, 2013 by kola

It is amazing just sitting in the bank on a Monday morning and I can imagine how bankers dread the doors opening on a Monday after spending a maybe dull or fun weekend.

Mondays are arguably the busiest days of the week for bankers and I would want to say Fridays too. Weighing the two, I think the difference is that in Mondays people are paying in whilst on Friday they are taking out.

It is no secret that I dislike banks and as such avoid banks as much as I can. It is also no secret they unless it is absolutely necessary, Mondays have been declared as Lazy Mondays for me.

So here I find myself sitting in my bank and the reason being that my best friend wants some money and I have to send it into her account.

The long queue are first puts me off but I’m determined that this will be my first order of business or it won’t happen. If it doesn’t happen then my best friend is in trouble and that means no peace of mind for me.

Why is it the banks have to attach their pens to a thread and usually even the pens don’t work. But do you blame them? In a city where anybody will take anything of yours, even the most insignificant of things, precautions have to be taken. What am I saying?

Heck! I used to take the ink out of the biro just to prove that we could still steal the pen the bank had just for the fun of it. Well, that was a long time ago and it was youthful exuberance.

If banks weren’t crowded, where else do you expect the crowds apart from at the stadium or a concert.

I love the way that there is now competition in the banking industry and as such different banks are rolling out just to capture the market. I wolfed not bother to give examples of any of these promos to get people to save with a particular bank but walk to any ATM and the respective bank’s promos will be playing. Now we even have talking ATMs.

How far this world has come. From talking movies now we have talking ATMs.

Well, with the competition comes better service and easier banking methods. You can even do transactions from the comfort of your home or wherever you are provided you got internet connection.

As for those banks that are lagging behind, well it’s up to them because the works is not waiting.

I didn’t stay too long in the bank even though there was a long queue. I can say I’m impressed by Fidelity Bank, Lapaz Branch.

My bank indeed but they have their short falls too that I won’t outline here.

Accra City Blues

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2013 by kola

So much is going on in the capital city that we in the periphery, especially in the savannah, are wondering what is going on and why some people have to think that Accra and its sentiments express the views of the other millions of Ghanaians spread all over ythe country’.

Damn! We are rocked by political scandals, not to mention the looting of state funds as evident by the Public Accounts Comittee hearings.

What is really going on I wonder.

GYEEDA, SADA, etc have all made ghanaians proud to beat the title theirs corrupt nation in the world.

Well what can I say but that we have been given fair warning by one presidential staffer, is he former, that if you can’t stand the corruption and the stomach politics aka chop chop, you can pack your bags, find your passport and just leave.

Maybe Nunnoo Travel and Relocations will facilitate it. After all he could afford to relocate a whole school when even the government could not.

as for the AMA and its Toilet Chronicles, the less said about them the better. In the savannah, most things are free range and that goes for shitting too without saying. The savannah metropole assemblies have almost no problems in that department at all, I think.

Reently the President commissioned the Nkrumah Interchange and whilst it was going on, sellers were barred from making a living, for security reasons? Like all projects in Ghana we are waiting too see how long this project will take and in the trend we are going , how much chop chop before the project is completed.

i keep saying for this land of our birth to work and move forward, it doesn’t only depend on the quality of leaders we have (so far quality is whack) but also the collective effort of the citizenry.

Accra is just a small part of GHANA and sentiments expressed in Accra may not be the sentiments of the majority of the people in Ghana. But still let us be circumspect with what we say about or whatever happens in any part of the country.

like I always say, it begins with YOU!

 

 

 

 

Random Thoughts

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2013 by kola

 

The other day I sat under the bridge at the Ofankor barrier in the capital city. Whenever I had walked past the new overhead, I had seen people lying under the bridge and wondered what it will be like and who they were. The breeze under the bridge is unparallel and compared to the heat in the city, it is a refreshing rest.

So I ask myself, is the stereotype of people lying under the bridges and streets true especially that they are homeless? Well, did I prove the theory wrong?

But then what is it also with the stigma that comes with the stereotype. Do you see anybody lying under the bridge no matter their condition as a homeless person?

Even when I lay there with my laptop between my legs and my travelling case by my side?

Of all the days I spent in the capital, apart from being at home, this was my most enjoyable solitary time. Time under the bridge gave me ample time to meditate on the socio-economic systems that exist in our country. It also gave me time to reflect on life in the capital as compared to life in the periphery.

I came to the realization that life in the capital is so rushed and usually monotonous. Leave home early in order to avoid traffic, get to the office, stay and work in the office till very late sometimes, back home to watch television, if there is time, then off to bed.

Then it all begins again the next morning.

Apart from on weekends when there is time for social gatherings like weddings usually, few funerals and plenty naming ceremonies.  Does the baby boom mean that these days the only recreation for young adults is sex and just plenty sex?

But as I leave the city behind on my journey back home, I leave all the stress and the frustrations behind me gladly.

You should see the smile on my face as I sit in the front seat of this car.

Goodbye Accra, till we meet again.