Akua hated her life. Her husband Nana was a deadbeat. He simply couldn’t do anything right. He owed almost everyone in the village.
His kids couldn’t go to school because he owed school fees from previous terms. When anyone in the family fell sick, he would take them anywhere but to the hospital, because there was an outstanding bill there too.
Nana’s salary was never enough. He had expensive tastes and spent his money on fine things. Often, he would take money from Akua’s purse to fund his gambling and drinking. He wasn’t above dipping his hands in his children’s savings jars either – just so he could have a good time on a Friday night.
Akua complained and complained, but nothing ever changed. Nana just got worse and worse, the children got hungrier and dirtier and more illiterate. To cover up for his inadequacies, Nana kept lying to his wife and child about the reality of their situation. But they were not fools. They knew the truth.
Whenever Akua confronted Nana with her concerns, he would always remind her that, things were not always this bad. He used to be rich. He used to take good care of all of them, and the fact that he had fallen on hard times did not mean he was incapable of rising again. He just needed time. Things would be great again.
But Akua had had enough. The last straw was when Nana announced that in spite of his debts, his dirty compound, his unhealthy children and his unhappy wife, he was going to throw a massive birthday party to celebrate his life. Akua gave up entirely on him and left.
On the other side of town, Michael, the rich playboy, had pity on Akua and gave her a place to stay. He knew what a hard time she had been having, and decided to give her a place to live, out of the goodness of his heart.
He gave her food, new clothes, a car – he even opened a small tabletop provisions shop for her, and told her he would give serious thought to making her his second wife. Akua was elated. She’d much rather be a second wife to a man who could take care of her, than an only wife of a man who couldn’t even take care of himself.
Days turned into weeks, weeks into months, months into years, and the marriage never happened. Michael paid much less attention to her than he used to. His first wife hated Akua, and made her do all the most degrading chores in the house.
The first wife would eat to her fill before handing the scraps to Akua and her children. Akua complained to Michael, but he just didn’t care enough to do anything about it. To him, Akua was a charity case he took in out of pity. He never promised to marry her. He just said he would consider it. He didn’t need her. He already had a wife. If she was uncomfortable, she could always leave.
Akua started to wonder if she hadn’t been too hasty in leaving Nana. After all, he DID have potential. He was having tough times and making bad decisions, but should she not have helped him, instead of complaining and eventually leaving?
Should she not have grabbed him by the lapels and dragged him to his feet? Should she not have set rules and forced him to stick to them? Should she not have kept an eagle eye on his salary and controlled his expenses? Should she not have taken more responsibility and stepped in where he was failing to ensure things turned around for the benefit of her and the children? After all, he was her husband – her own. And he needed her.
So my friend, where am I going with this? Well, I want you to imagine for a moment that you are Akua, and Nana; the deadbeat husband is your country, Ghana. Michael, the rich man across town, is some foreign developed country, like the USA, or the UK, and his first wife, of course, represents that developed country’s indigenous citizens.
Now, I do understand the frustration we often have with our nation and its failings, but much as some other country may seem attractive, it is NOT your home, and you will always be a third class citizen there. You will only ever benefit from their scraps.
Today, on the Super Morning Show, we will be speaking to a few Ghanaians who thought life MUST be better on the other side, so they braved untold perils to go find work in Libya, only to be treated like slaves. They were third rate citizens in someone else’s country, and they were never made to forget it.
But your country is yours forever – and it needs you.
Ghana needs you to stand up and drag it up with you. Ghana needs you to speak up against all the wrong that you see in society.
Ghana needs you to force its leaders to do the right thing, and account for every single resource that passes through their hands.
Ghana needs you to speak truth to power, and make sure that those responsible for solving our problems can never get away with doing anything but their best.
After all, it’s the only country you’ve got. And it needs you.
My name is Kojo Yankson, and Ghana is my home. So my job is to scrub it spotless, and keep it that way.
GOOD MORNING, GHANAFO!