The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) Isaac Osei has said that the open display of tribalism by some Ghanaians is one of the reasons for the country’s slow development.
He said the phenomenon has assumed a dangerous trend which must be nipped in the blossom without any further delay.
Speaking on the topic: ethnicity in Our Political Development – Learnings in a 60-year Journey,’ at the third edition of the Achimota Speaks to mark the 90th anniversary of Achimota School, Mr. Osei, who is the immediate-past MP for Subin, said Ghana cannot continue to develop the fault lines of ethnocentrism.
The former Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), said the observation that some ethnic groups are superior to others and that the appointment of political appointees are based on ethnicity was harmful to the development of the country, adding that the time has come for the country to harness the contributions of all its citizens, irrespective of their ethnic backgrounds.
First, we must accept that ethnicity is a fact and there is nothing anyone can do about it. No one asked to be born a Dagarti, Fanti or Krobo…and no one can decide to become an Asante, Kusasi or Kokomba if one is not born as such, he said, adding So long as procreation continues, there will always be different ethnic groups in Ghana. Our problem is not because of our being Bono, Akuapem or Ewe our problem is ethnocentrism or tribalism where people develop an obsessive attachment to their tribes that they think other ethnic groups are not quite like them so they should be looked down on.
Mr. Osei, who once served as Ghana’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and a member of the 68-Year Group of Achimota said, Our societies are basically ethnic in nature and all the various ethnic groups are struggling to get a piece of the national cake. To get a piece, one has to control national resources and this can be done through attaining political power.
He said because of these, ethnic groups have lined up behind political parties or leaders, who in their view, are likely to get them their share.
The lack of competent people and self-aggrandizement of officials and leaders further draw back the development of our country.
Mr. Osei said if we stop to think about it, we will come to the realization that tribal stereotyping does not make sense. Respect for each other, irrespective of tribe, is the beginning of the acceptance of other ethnic groups. The collective ideas and energies of our people have to be harnessed for our country’s development. There is wealth in our diversity.
He said that “any country which wants to progress must of necessity rely on the ability and skills of its own people,” adding “it is important that the state ensures that merit ability and competence, capacity and capability determine one’s progression.
Politics is an area where appointing authorities, like presidents, chose those they believe could do a job for them to enable them to fulfill their promises to the electorate but I will say to any head of state that within the limits of the law, select anybody who is qualified even if you find such a person in your kitchen but be prepared to face the consequences of your action.