On 29th April 2018 while driving on uber, I had the accidental privilege of driving the Joy Fm super morning show host (Daniel Dadzie) and his producer (Papa Yaw) who were running a documentary report on the dangers of the absence of street lights on the 19-kilometer Accra-Tema motorway.
Although I had been driving on that road occasionally at night, the real impact of the absence of street lights got to me that day probably due to the fact that my mind had been tuned to looking out for light.
The following morning, the documentary was aired on the super morning show and Ghana got talking as usual. Institutional authorities were interviewed and the audience shared their experience via call-ins and social media engagements. Unfortunately, like the typical Ghanaians that we are, we all went back to sleep and nothing has happened.
After over twelve months of that media report, the Accra-Tema motorway remains dark with no single street light fixed. The intensity of the problem hit me again when I drove on the Accra-Tema beach road last Saturday night. That road again has no single functioning street light coupled with many pot holes. Driving on these roads at night is torturing because you have to struggle so hard in order to see ahead. The worse part is when you have on coming vehicles approaching you with their lights on as well.
This has become a major issue for drivers across the lengths and breaths of this country. The saddest part of this situation is that the Accra-Tema motorway generates millions of Ghana cedis from road tolls, thus, it becomes extremely difficult to understand how and why a road revenue generating assert can be negligently allowed to be a death trap for years.
Perhaps the time has come for Ghanaians to make effective use of citizen action as a way of getting things done. Perhaps the way to handle the lightening systems on our roads is the use of citizen action because it is gradually becoming clear that the language that governments understand best is citizen action. This was seen in the case of the Madina-Adenta highway where it took demonstrations for the government of Ghana to fix foot bridges that had been left uncompleted for years. The same Accra-Tema motorway had its numerous pot holes patched after motorists refused to pay the road tolls.
I urge well-meaning Ghanaians to come together and take action and demand what is due us as a people. I believe that it is very fair for people to refuse to pay tolls in protest for the fixing of the street lights because if you live in Tema and work in Accra or the other way round, the minimum road toll is 20 Ghana cedis per month which is good money to demand for a safe road.
Let us take ACTION and do this together.
Samuel Kyei Koomson
Graduate Student (ISSER)