I attended the lecture on digitisation of this society in the serene ambiance of Ashesi University, at Berekusu, the first Akwapim town at the foothills of the Akwapim Ridge on Tuesday, and encountered the next President of the Republic of Ghana.
Yes, you read me right! On Tuesday, just as the sun began its meandering journey to settle in the West, the man who will succeed Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo rose to the podium to engage a sizeable audience of politicians, economic gurus, traditional rulers, university dons and students, as well as ordinary men and women of society, like my humble self, drawn from all spheres of life.
It was definitely not the first time that Vice-President Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia had risen on his feet to engage Ghanaians on the state of the national economy. The difference here is that he was addressing his audience generally and the entire Ghanaian society, five years after leading a transformation of this country from the front, though digitisation and digitalisation.
As Vice-President of the Republic of Ghana and Acting President at the time of his delivery, Dr Bawumia is head of the Government’s Economic Team, charged with lifting the nation from the doldrums, by transforming the moribund economy.
Unlike Yaanom and their cry-baby leader, whose idea of transforming the society was by branding state buses with the colour pictures of his own, in the midst of dull black and white photos of his predecessors, Dr Bawumia and his team identified the need to digitise the economy and society generally, as a major step towards transforming this society.
On Tuesday evening, Dr. Bawumia took the podium to tell the good people of Ghana, how the digitisation policy, which the Government has been working on, has put Ghana ahead of the rest of Africa and now ready to lift the society to compete with the best in the world, in all aspects of life.
Unlike the smooth programme on offer at Ashesi, the road to Brekusu meanders through a narrow and treacherous path. So bad it is that my good friend, Osbert Lartey, a true son of Berekusu, warned me ahead of the journey, not to use the Kwabenya end, which certainly is the shortest route to town.
That left me with my route way up the Akwapim Ridge to Peduase and turning on the rough road at Kitase. Surely, Minister of Road, Kwasi Amoako Atta, has a duty to the good people of Akwapim, to bring the road up to the standard expected of the area.
It is not by accident that the road featured prominently at question time. It was re-assuring that the Vice-President decided to consult the Road minister on it and promised to monitor its progress.
Besides the road, there was the small matter of maverick Albert Adongo, Member of Parliament for Bolgatanga Central, alluding to the serious nature of huge foreign loans weighing down on the good people of Ghana, not captured in the debate.
Besides these minor distractions, the lecture was a huge success. It got off to a flying start with Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, mounting the podium to announce the arrival on stage of Vice-President Dr. Bawumia and his host Dr. Patrick Awuah, founder and President of Ashesi University.
On his arrival on the stage, Dr. Awuah introduced the Vice-President as the main guest of honour and prayed the audience to be ready to be wooed by one of the best Economists and innovative minds in the whole of Africa.
Dr. Bawumia returned the compliment by referring to Dr Awuah as a gem, who has transformed the undulating lands at Berekusu into an intellectual paradise, where young men and women from all parts of Africa congregate on Ghanaian soil, to drink deep from the fountain of knowledge.
The Acting President of the Republic then turned to his prepared speech and announced series of mind-blowing proposals to digitise the economy and society generally and to transform this society way beyond the peasant nature it has been, since the arrival Dan Diego de Azambuja and his Portuguese explorers in the 15th century.
He told his audience that the Ghana Card is about to become the main identification document before the conduct of business and all other transactions in the country. He added that sooner or later, it would be impossible to undertake any transaction in this country, without the Ghana Card.
He told his appreciative audience that plans were far advanced to make the card an electronic passport (E-Passport) and that, so far, 197 countries have agreed to recognise it.
“This means that the Ghana Card will be recognised as e-passport and can be read and verified in all ICAO compliance borders in 197 countries and 44,000 airports in the world.”
In a society bugged down by bureaucracy and inefficiency at major registration centres, like Birth and Death Registry, the Lands Department and many institutions for record keeping, it is a joy to hear from the Vice-President that the Ghana card would abolish bureaucracy and make for inter connectivity.
The Vice-President told his audience that with effect from next year, every new born baby will receive the Ghana card a few months after birth and that would be his identification document throughout his or her life.
Dr. Bawumia sang the praises of the Drone Medical Supply system, pioneered at Omenako, near Suhum, in the Eastern Region, for helping to save lives in the rural areas, especially. He announced that four new centres would be opened to operate the drone system to cover the enter nation.
The Vice-President said he is emotionally attached to the Drone System because he believes if the system had been in place by 1992, his father, Alhaji Mumuni Bawumia, would not have died at the Tamale Teaching Hospital for lack of blood.
In a wide-ranging review of the positive impact the Ghana Card was bringing to society, Dr. Bawumia announced the impending launch of e-Pharma, under which all pharmacies in the country would be digitised and inter-connected.
“Patients or people generally, face difficulties when trying to find medicines in pharmacies. They have no way in knowing which pharmacies have the medicines. They could go to five pharmacies before getting lucky. Sometimes, patients are directed to go to specific pharmacies,” where according to the Vice-President, they lose out on bargains.
The idea of the E-Pharmacy is to make it easier for the patient to know where to go for his or her needs to be addressed.
The Vice-President assured the nation that having captured a large data base through digitization, this nation is now ready to challenge the world for development and progress.
Digitization, I dare state, is moving this country forward. The other day, I was sitting bored and decided to google Ekumfi Ekrawfo, my holy village, on the phone. I was pleasantly surprised to read that my holy village is located 5 degrees 20’ North and zero degrees 55’ West, accompanied by the google map.
This country is moving forward. It is undergoing a major transformation. That is why we should be careful and not to fall into the trap of those who are still sleep walking by their defeat of 2020.
Yaanom had their day in court. We all watched in horror when men sat sheepishly in the witness box and rattled into the thin air without a single pink sheet in support of their wild allegations.
Their two star witnesses Dr. Peasah-Whyte and my good friend Rojo Mettle-Nunoo told the world that they were drinking tea at the office of the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, at the time they were supposed to observe the final collation of figures in the Strong Room.
Nearly, one year after the results were declared and six months after the 7-0 verdict of the seven judges of the Supreme Court, they are suddenly dreaming of a one million stuffed ballot.
By their deeds, they shall be known. This nation is moving forward. I don’t think any serious Ghanaian has time for these yesterday men and women. Just as the imagination of a stuffed ballot box, they might be dreaming of stuffed pockets as well.
Remember the colour picture of Mr. John Dramani Mahama on Metro Transit busses? That was Yaanom’s concept of transforming the nation. The Berekusu lecture has pointed the way to true transformation. That is why in the humble opinion of Ebo Quansah, those leading the digitization process have a better view of how to transform this society than the hungry jackals waiting for the carcasses of the good people of Ghana.
Bawumia for President! I bet is at a formidable partnership if Allan agrees to link up with the Economic guru. It is for the party to work out the details.
As for the political party Jerry John Rawlings brought into being by signing its constitution with his blood, the soul is interred in the grave of the founder.
I shall return!
Ebo Quansah at Brekusu