Be Proud Of Ghana; You Can Confront Your Prez And Tell Your Mind – Murtala

Ghanaians have every right to be proud of their country; among several other reasons, you can confront your president, vent your spleen on him without being harassed or, at worst, incarcerated, Deputy Minister of Information and Media Relations, Murtala Mohammed has indicated. The Deputy Minister was contributing to Ghana Connect programme aired on Joy FM every Friday after the evening news at six. ‘Are you proud to be Ghanaian and why?’ Was the topic for the day. The topic was teased out of a social media campaign championed by President John Mahama inviting citizens to share with him why they are proud to be Ghanaians. The campaign has been running on facebook, twitter, youtube and on the President’s own web page. One of President Mahama’s unannounced visits to state institutions to interact with staff and ordinary Ghanaians doing business with them, took him to the Tema Habour last week. A frustrated importer, who was obviously not proud of how the nation is managed, went berserk and was blunt with the president about his personal sense of pride in Ghana. According to the importer, the level of delay at the port was “unprofessional”. “For me as a Ghanaian, with no disrespect to any Ghanaian, but it is just so disappointing for me to even put my hand on my chest to say I am a Ghanaian.” But the Deputy Minister saw his bluntness as a plus for a country which gained a middle income status barely a year ago with untraceable record of presidents using state apparatus to cow persons who openly oppose their leadership style. Murtala Mohammed intimated: “If you look at the other side of the equation, it tells you why you should love Ghana because you have the opportunity to confront your president and tell your president straight in his face your mind; that is one lovely...” A contributor to the show, Fred Oduro Sarpong, who holds a dual British and Ghanaian citizenship, without mincing words stated, “I am very proud of having a British passport”. According him, anytime he travels on his Ghanaian passport to Ghana, the treatment he gets from officials at the Kotoka International Airport was “appalling”, but said the attitude was a direct opposite of what pertains in UK. Ironically, he is given the best treatment here in Ghana if he uses his British passport. In his response, Murtala Mohammed appreciated the concern but attributed his difficulties to the “socio-cultural make up” of Ghanaians, trained to treat strangers with hospitality. Nonetheless, he also blamed the status quo on the kind of education given to personnel of institutions manning the nation’s borders. Meanwhile, other contributors to the show, though expressed their reservations about the handlers of the nation, they were generally proud of being Ghanaians