Ghana has pumped its first official oil in the Western region of the country. The day has become part of Ghana’s historical monument. Many Ghanaians were reported to have glued to their TVs at home and work places – apparently in jubilation.
Two former Presidents, Jerry John Rawlings and John Agyekum Kufuor as well as Ministers of State, members of the diplomatic corps, Members of Parliament, Chiefs and Ghanaians from all walks of life also graced the historical event.
The joy at the discovery of oil in the former Gold Coast nation is understandable. Oil, if well maintained, can accelerate the development of such lucky country. As at now, oil is a natural resource that can bring revenue and invariably improve the standard of living. If well managed, it can alleviate the sufferings of Ghanaian citizens.
But before this discovery can be meaningful, Ghanaian policy makers must exercise caution. The country must pause and think. Ghana must do a lot of research about the consequences of having oil in one’s background. Ghana needs to learn from other countries which have oil.
Some oil endowed countries have been able to manage it well while it has become a curse to certain countries – especially Ghana’s neighbour – Nigeria. Ghana cannot pretend not to have known the extent in which oil has and, or is destroying Nigeria. This is a big lesson to learn from its brother.
We at the African News Hungary regret to cite example from the West where the discovery of oil has been a blessing to the country and its citizens. We would have loved to cite example from African countries but we do not want to engage in self-deceit. African countries with oil have not been able to use it to benefit their citizens.
Therefore we would like Ghana to emulate Norway which has used oil to impact the lives of the country and its citizens. Norway, according to international survey, tops the best country to live for the third consecutive year.
As Ghana joins the oil producing nations, it must guard against the exploitation of the oil companies whose interest and major goal is profit and nothing but profit. Ghana must not let the shareholders of the Jubilee partners (Tullow Oil plc, Anadarko, EO Group, Cosmos, Sabre and GNPC) dictate the tune
Thus, for the jubilation to actually continue, we call on the incumbent president, Atta-Mills, to do the right thing instead of doing things right. He must make sure the discovery of oil in Ghana benefits the citizens and the country at large instead of a few government officials and their families.