“Arise Ghana…for your country, the nation demands your devotion. Let us all unite to uphold her, and make her great and strong. We are all involved in building our motherland.”
The “well-being, individuality and happiness” of every citizen is paramount to the all-round prosperity of any nation. It is for this reason that in times where the entire world has been greatly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, almost every nation led by its government has taken measures to safeguard the lives of its own citizens as a matter of priority.
These measures, include sealing of national borders, enforcing much needed lockdowns and quarantines, evacuations amongst others. All these are intended to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus and more importantly to highlight the state’s responsibility and concern for its citizens living within and outside the spatial boundaries of the state.
Global Citizenship: A decline amidst Covid-19?
Globalization has brought about the idea of a new class of citizenship commonly referred to as “Global Citizenship”. This is accompanied by the freedom of movement; work, travel and the like. With this, nations ordinarily are encouraged to create an environment that is characterized by a “shared commitment” to act by all irrespective of one’s citizenship.
The Covid-19 pandemic however represents an unprecedented challenge to the idea of a “Global Citizen”. There is a lot of uncertainty and one thing that is unclear is whether “global citizens” would be able to continue enjoying the freedom of movement should the crisis be over. The answer most likely seems to be in the negative.
With citizens of states increasingly locked in and stuck inside closed nation-states as well as with the rise of border-walls, it is clear that things are not going to remain the same. Like a former UK Prime Minister once said, anyone who believes he/she is “a citizen of the world” is a “citizen of nowhere”.
With many states having to pursue more protectionist and nationalistic policies; with most people trying all in their power to get to their own respective countries of their citizenship and the overall decline in multi-lateralism, it is clear that the idea of a global citizen is in decline.
The urgent need to build the motherland!
Ghana in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic has taken measures that include border closure and its accompanying travel bans, amongst others. These are not meant to down-play the importance of globalism and globalization, rather they show that Ghana like many other countries of the world is prioritizing the well-being and protection of its own citizens above all else.
More so, the fact that most Ghanaians in any part of the world are very eager to find their way back home and at all cost is more reason why the idea of a “global citizen” is no longer the case. The truth is that in times as this – there is simply no place like home!
This is the time to understand and know that as a citizen, we only have one home. The pandemic is a foreshadow of what is to come. It has given us a foretaste of what the world would be like. A time is coming where people would not be accepted anywhere else but in their own countries. A time is coming when people would have no escape haven but in their own respective countries. The Covid-19 pandemic has offered an opportunity to build in preparation for what is to come.
There is no better time to value being a Ghanaian! There is no better time to prioritize building our nation! Indeed, we have nowhere to go but our nation. For this reason, Ghanaians must all rise and build together. The nation demands the devotion of all citizens now more than ever before! We must all be involved in building our motherland.
About author: Reginald Nii Odoi is a practicing Barrister and Solicitor (Ghana) who is very passionate about societal change, development and advocacy. He is a proud alumnus of Harvard Law School and Kwame Nkrumah University (KNUST) where he graduated with First Class Honors.