“Where is the progress in keeping pace with the competition? If our sole goal is to attain the level others have reached, then we are setting our target too low. We must take matters into our own hands. Do no fool yourselves into believing that we are moving forward when we are only keeping up with general trends, while the real opportunities are slipping away” – Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
I went through the Dubai flyover the past two days. The first exit leads to Accra (the popular market area), the second to Kaneshie industrial area and the third either to Awudome Cemetery or straight on to Kaneshie. On the first day I took the second exit and yesterday I took the straight route all the way to Kaneshie. While driving over the second level of the building of flyovers there, I noticed a long line of people who had parked their cars on the bridge and stood by the railings admiring the amazing work of Queiroz galvao. Well it is amazing to us!
Among the items being admired was the statue of Kwame Nkrumah which I believe is there because the area used to be called Nkrumah Circle before we all gathered to sing “Mahama” songs on Monday. Now it is called Dubai! Yes, Dubai. You may want to call it Dubai Annex or Dubai extension or African Dubai. Whatever you like but I say I heard them calling it Dubai.
What interests me about this scenario is that we are continuing the trend of reaching for things that are distant. Dubai, the real Dubai is over 9000km from Accra but it is the closest reference we have of something amazing that we can look to as a model for progress in the development of infrastructure. Maybe it is just the most prominent, overshadowing all others. So, Circle is now Dubai. We are reaching for something distant in terms of space when we refer to Dubai, forgetting that Dubai was probably called Dubai long before it was made a reference point for the world.
We are also reaching to Nkrumah every now and then, someone distant from us in terms of time. We keep referring to him because possible no one else has made the kind of impact he made in his time more than 60 years ago. We ride on his roads, read his quotes, argue with his philosophies. We cannot forget him, because he did not forget us. He thought about those who would live 100 years after he was dead and did things in his time that would remain in the news 100 years after his death.
Question: Are we thinking about our descendants? What will happen in my family 100 years after I am gone? In my local government? In my state/region? In my nation? In the world? Will there be any reference to my contribution? Am I contributing anything? Can I do anything starting from where my fathers stopped or do I keep referring to what my fathers did as a very influential motivational speaker? We choose what happens to our generation. We either start thinking and acting seriously about our future or do we just keep groping in the dark for things distant from us both in terms of time and space.
“Never before have a people had within their grasp so great an opportunity for developing a continent endowed with so much wealth” – Osagyefo, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah (1960)