My brother, where were you? I was all over the place looking for you.
Me, why, what happened?
I had wanted you to join us to go to the airport.
Airport, why? I didn’t know that you expected someone from abroad.
You! Do you mean to tell me that you didn’t hear that our president was coming from his most successful overseas trip, and that it’d be good to lavish him with a big welcome party? To let him know that we love and appreciate him. I looked all over the place for you, but I had to leave you behind, otherwise the trotro would have left me behind, and I’d have missed the biggest show of the year. My brother, you don’t know what you missed!
What did I miss?
What! You missed much, I tell you. Accra was transformed beyond measure; the Kotoka airport was totally altered beyond description. The crowd, my God!
Transformed by whom, altered to what?
You! I meant it was not the Accra you used to know. The sea of people dwarfed anything the capital has seen in recent years. Honestly, I cannot remember a more gargantuan crowd since the last time President Obama came calling. No political party rally can pull so many crowd, I tell you. It was unbelievable!
And the occasion was to welcome the president back from a state visit.
Why do you sound so skeptical? No, it was not a state visit. Who said that it was state visit? The president went for a medical check-up in the United States of America. And when his doctors gave him a clean bill of health, we decide to give thanks and praises to the almighty father in heaven for his abundant blessings.
Yes, for all the showers of blessings our dear country continue to receive and the Almighty largess in seeing that our much beloved president came back all hale and hearty. You should have seen the thunderous applause as the president emerged from his plane. Oh, my God. I can die now and go blissfully to my grave.
Must have been some show.
Don’t talk, my brother, you don’t know what you missed. You should have come and see our Ghanaian women doing their thing. The way they can gyrate those things they pack behind, you will know that they meant business.
Na me you dey ask! I think that it is time we patent our women luscious backsides and commercialise it into some tourist attraction! Anyway, where were you; where did you go that made you missed the biggest show in town this year? And you should have seen Mr. President; he didn’t disappoint at all.
Oh, what did he do?
Wow! Now you asked me. When he saw the massive crowd, the president was so overwhelmed that he couldn’t resist jogging?
Now kid me, the president was in a jogging suit?
You! Who talked about jogging suit?
But you said that the president jogged.
He jogged and he could have given Husain Bolt a run for his money, but he was not in a jogging suit.
What do you mean; he jogged in his business suit?
What is wrong with you; I told you that the president was overwhelmed.
All well and jolly, but do you really believe that I would have gone with you?
You meant you would have refused to go and welcome the president?
Don’t make me laugh. Can you honestly imagine me going to Accra, to the airport, to welcome a president? Are you for real?
What do you mean, am I for real? Of course, I am for real.
Don’t make me laugh.
And why should you be laughing, what is laughable here? What is wrong with welcoming our dear president back?
I didn’t say that anything is wrong with people welcoming their president, but the whole thing you narrated reminds me of some shibboleths put together by some communist apparachitiks. It reminds me of the Soviet era. Are we still in the era when people are rented to go and welcome leaders? I thought that people should have better employment for their time than engage in useless jamboree.
What do you mean by that; do you say welcoming a returning president is a useless jamboree?
Would you say it was a productive enterprise, then?
I really don’t know what is wrong with you. You look and sound like a killjoy.
Everyone was happy and if only to watch those massive, gyrating buttocks of our women, it was worth all the money.
I am beginning to understand why our leaders take us so much for granted. We have not had light for four days in Kasoa, and you expect me to join you and go to the airport to welcome a president, incredible!
That is just a silly excuse. You would have given another lame excuse even if you have had light. Look, it is people like you who are always confusing people.
Which people did I confuse?
You academic people are always whining about this or that, instead of appreciating the little blessings of life…
Ah! I pray, kindly tell me what these blessings are that I should be grateful for?
Do you mean that I should be thankful for blessings like sleeping in darkness for the past four days, and should be grateful for not been able to earn a living in the past four days? Ah, you ask for too much. Do you mean to tell me that I should vibrate with gratitude that close to sixty years after we start to govern ourselves, we have not manage to build the hospitals that are good enough to cater for the health of our leaders? I think that it is such affront like people trooping to airports, to welcome president that have gone on medical checkups, that make our leaders pat themselves on the back and award themselves unwarranted pass marks. For your information, I spent the last three days at the Korel-Bu hospital, attending to a sick relation. What my eyes saw there makes me believe that we are being governed by uncaring leaders who continue to sodomise us, and treat us with the utmost contempt. The conditions of things I saw at what goes for the premier hospital in our land, makes me believe that we being governed by people who simply do not have our interest at heart. Whilst you and your band of senseless partisans are dancing yourselves silly to welcome Mr. President home, Ghanaian women are giving birth on bare floor at Korle-Bu. Whilst Mr. President was doing his jogging gigs, seriously sick Ghanaians lie groaning on bare concrete floors at Korle-Bu, because there is not enough bed for them. And you want me to go and gyrate with gratitude because Mr. President returns from a medical trip abroad, ah!.
But what is wrong with being grateful to the almighty for small mercies.
Nothing , per se. But methinks that if we want to see some development in this country, it is time we begin to elevate our thoughts, and raise the bar of our expectations from those that put themselves up to govern us. Methinks that because our expectations are so abysmally low, those that put themselves up for positions of leadership have also lowered their performance bar.
What do you mean by all those jargons?
I mean that it is time we in Ghana, in Africa, stop being thrilled by presidents coming back from medical trips abroad. It is time we stop rolling out welcoming mats for leaders who go abroad for personal reasons, of health or whatever. To begin with, our presidents should have no business to seek medical checkup abroad. It is an insult to our sovereignty and an affront to our integrity. Tiny Cuba has managed to build world-class medical facilities in the tiny Island, and is earning good money from them. Ditto Israel. Why should our leaders, in all of the fifty plus years of our independence, never consider the building of a world-class hospital in mother Ghana? I will tell you the reason. Our leaders know that we are complete fools who are too mesmerized by life’s inanities to think critically. They know that we are easily swayed by emotional and utterly mundane things. Our leaders know that many of us go through life without reading anything more intellectually-challenging than our Lotto papers and so-called holy books. They know all these things; that explain why they treat us with impunity. If our leaders are compelled, by whatever means, to patronize the same health facilities they build for the rest of us, they will surely upgrade them to befitting status. The same goes for the joke we call educational system which is neither systemic nor educational. If the children of our leaders are forced to attend the schools their parents build for the hoi poloi, they will make sure that the standards are upgraded and our landscape will not be defaced by the mushroom, one-room universities scattered all over the country.
PS: I dedicate this piece to the memory of my late brother\friend, Alhaji Moro Ayittey, who, very sadly, joined the ancestors on the 17th of June, 2012.
Alhaji Moro was among the most kind-hearted human beings I knew. His orphanage at Ofaakor, near Kasoa, stands as a great testimony to his very generous heart.
May the ancestors forgive him his sins and welcome him.