I am a staunch Christian. I believe in God but I also believe in man. I believe that within each man is deposited the ability to solve problems around us. I believe that man should be dependent on God. However, I don’t believe that God will do for man what man can do for himself!
As human as we are, our wisdom and knowledge is negligible as compared to God’s. That notwithstanding, the little knowledge we have been endowed with is enough to make us avoid some deaths. In the absence of caution, we run to embrace death even when it is running away from us.
Uncomfortable truth is, as a Ghanaian, you’re more likely to die from an avoidable death than otherwise. You’ll likely pay for someone’s sheer negligence. Thing is, it’s such a fortune to die from a natural cause here because someone’s error is always competing with nature for your life!
Let me tell you one reason the business of religion will continually thrive on the African soil, particularly Ghana. The reason is… blessed assurance is our national insurance! Like some cocaine, we are addicted to religion because it promises us the safety our nation should have provided.
Religion, especially the extreme of it, will continually reign because we somewhat need a little extra of God to be alive here. Blessed assurance is our national insurance because God’s angels are supposedly working overtime because our leaders and systems are working “under-time”.
Extreme hope in divinity abounds where there’s an extreme deficiency in humanity. Needless dependence on God prevails when we leave our safety to chance. When our systems fail to work, many have no choice but to bank their hopes on the heavens.
You see, you need grace in this part of our world more than another man somewhere in Europe. As a matter of fact, you need to pay extra tithes to keep your life safe… unlike someone else in the US. You know why? Your safety is not assured!
There are almost no ‘natural’ disasters in this side of our world because it’s almost always someone else’s negligence at play. A little downpour would needlessly lead to loss of a life— and that life may be yours. Bad roads may needlessly usher others to their grave. Poor hospital equipment and/or services may needlessly take lives.
In Africa, you don’t need to be prepared for death. Death is always prepared for you. In this part of our world, natural disasters barely do happen because our own negligence takes our lives first.
Our problems never get solved. I can bet my last cedi on the fact that most battles our forefathers fought are still hanging around our necks today because our problems, somewhat, barely get conquered. The choleras. The schools under trees. The malarias. We are almost always fighting challenges of the past when others are already living the future.
We keep going around our headaches in circles and they keep visiting us in cycles. We only promise to solve them… and they also only promise never to visit us again. Anytime we scream, “Never again!”, those disasters also scream back at us, “Never again!” because they know what an empty promise such is.
We will talk about these disasters for only a few days, set up committees (with ridiculous per diems) to cough up obvious causes… and toss the solutions through the windows of forgetfulness… only for these disasters to come smashing us in the face another time.
You think this is the first time there’s been such a ghastly gas explosion? Not at all. You can call me a doomsday prophet because I don’t think this is going to be the last either. Reason is simple— we can’t do the same things over and over again and expect different results!
Talk about the road accidents. The floods. You name them. These are no more “natural” disasters elsewhere because safety measures have been put in place far ahead of time to avoid them. They don’t happen over and over again because quality assurance is put in place… not blessed assurance!
Elsewhere, citizens are not made to needlessly perish because leaders don’t just HOPE that such disasters won’t happen the next time. They don’t only pray to God to prevent such evil. They sit, strategize and enforce measures that won’t make such happen again. As human as we are too, we can do for ourselves what we expect God to do for us. We can resort to quality assurance instead of blessed assurance!
What’s the use of our heads after all if we barely use them? Like others elsewhere, we should capable of solving our own problems. When you throw caution to the wind, don’t be the least surprised when it bounces back as a disaster. When you toss safety measures to the dogs, expect to be mauled by disaster… and blessed assurance can’t save you.
Hope is not enough. Blessed assurance is not what we need. We deserve more than grace to depend on. We need laws that can not only bark… but bite, too. We deserve working systems and policies. We need leaders who would not only occupy space but have the matter of the nation at heart!
Until then, let me sing sorrowfully with my croaky voice in key G sharp, “Blessed assurance, Jesus is m—i—n—e!”
By Kobina Ansah
The writer is a playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications (www.scribecommltd.com). His TRIBELESS play shows next week Saturday on KNUST campus.