Recently, I have been reading posts and comments of an online campaign “#OBUASI MUST NOT DIE” with some interesting pictures of the great Golden City of Ghana. It has been mainly on Facebook through an online news media “obuasitoday.com”. I know most of the people advocating for this campaign are either ‘Obuasians’ or living and/or working in Obuasi and its suburbs. The first time I saw the “#OBUASI MUST NOT DIE”, I was not surprised because I foresee it when after six years in the States to return to the only city I cherish most to see the people and businesses were fading away. I wondered where the spirit of the Golden City is.
Let me share little about myself. My dad came to Obuasi to seek mining opportunity where he met my mom. I was born and raised in Obuasi, for which I can call myself an ‘Obuasian’. I lived in Obuasi for the first 20 years of my life where I schooled and only spent two and half years at Santasi for high school. My high school days were the first-time for me to live outside Obuasi, and even away from Obuasi I was proud of the city I came from. Growing up and walking on the streets of Obuasi, I enjoyed the diversity of the people who have traveled near and far to come to the Golden City for a better life. Most of them were not different from the motive in which my dad came to the city. I traveled to the States upon my completion of high school at Opoku Ware. I have earned Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Finance, Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Master of Accountancy degrees, and currently working for a national Certified Public Accountant (CPA) firm in Charlotte, North Carolina. Obuasi is dear to my heart, not only my family members live there but also the development constraint facing the city that was once known for its epitome of gold.
Around the ending of 2014 and early 2015, I came to Obuasi to visit my family after six years in the States. I didn’t spend a day in Accra, I was eager to come to the land of Obuasi upon my arrival in Ghana. After couple hours on the road from Accra to Obuasi, I felt the devastating of the city on its road from the capital city of Ghana. I couldn’t close my eyes for a nap just because the roads were horrific. I was sadden as Jesus Christ looked at Jerusalem upon his entry to the city where his crucifixion would be initiated.
During my first week in Obuasi, I felt the hardship and fear of the people; the loss of jobs, the collapse of businesses, fleeing of people from the city, university graduates with no jobs, students with no future after graduation and so on. I met some of my Junior High School mates who have university degrees with no job, some working in lottery (lotto) stores and others leaving to other cities where they are not even sure if they would get job there. The things that we were proud of as a city were no longer there for the people of Obuasi. I asked these questions;“where are the leaders of this city?” and “where are the young people of our city?” Most people I encountered said that politics have divided our leaders and stagnate the development of the city. If Obuasi will die (which I do not believe), we need to blame the leadership of the city and its young men and women. Before you disagree, ask yourself these questions and honestly answer them. Did we hold our leaders accountable of their responsibilities? Did the young people of Obuasi (both professionals and non-professionals) pressure our leaders to do the right things in the interest of the city?
The online media “obuasitoday.com” has broadcasted several news headlines of Obuasi and its suburbs. The leadership of the Golden City have disappointed the people for lack of developments and opportunities. Where are those elected Members of Parliament (MP) and their promises during campaigns, the appointed Municipal Chief Executives (MCE) and their outlined visions, the executive team of AngloGold Ashanti and their strategic plans, the chiefs and elders and their feeble promises to the people, and the preachers and their good news messages. These leaders we trusted have contributed to the destruction of the future and progress of Obuasi. Who is holding these leaders accountable? Who can we trust to deliver their promises? I ask these rhetorical questions with sorrows in my heart for the children of Obuasi. I don’t want to call our leaders names but they are failures to the development of the Golden City. I believe some of these leaders have acquired for themselves luxury properties at the expense of the city on the outskirt of Obuasi or elsewhere. These leaders we have entrusted are in the positions to make the right decisions to affect the progress of the ‘Obuasians’.
For Obuasi to stay alive and moving, we need our leaders to come together in one accord and with one purpose. The leadership of various economic sectors of Obuasi need to hold themselves accountable to the people and their beliefs. If Obuasi die, then its leadership have to go down too. This is not a threat, it is an accountability. My leaders! Stand for Obuasi!
Moreover, the young people of Obuasi have their share of the blame of the falling of the famous gold mining city. We joined and watched the city to be robbed by irresponsible people, parties, groups and ministers. We thought we would go to school and come back to have our share of the city’s resources, but little did we know that nothing is left for us to enjoy. We contributed little to hold our leaders accountable of their decisions. Obuasi has produced talented young people who have outstanding academic achievements and skill sets, and they have been taken elsewhere to work just because their beloved city has no opportunity to offer them.
The taglines for the reason of the campaign #OBUASIMUSTNOTDIE could have been stopped by the young people who have the city at heart. I believe most young people in Obuasi do not see themselves as benefactors of the development of the city. They have cut off from the leadership and unconcerned about the progress of the city’s economy. Recently, I read about Obuasi-based pressure group, Progressive Movement for Change (P.M.C). Growing up in Obuasi, the groups I saw are affiliates of political parties, soccer fans, fun clubs and so on, who are led by energetic young people. The groups did nothing for Obuasi progress rather than collecting funds and sponsorship for their own selfish gain from aspirants. These groups become famous during election years through organized keep-fits and soccer tournaments. The group leaders were bought with price and care little to the impact on the development of Obuasi. You may be wondering what these groups have to do with the economy of the city. If these groups, mainly young people, have stood up for Obuasi’s development and hold their leaders accountable, our mothers won’t be sitting under the sun at the marketplaces with less or no sales. Young men and women of Obuasi, arise and stake your claim in the Golden City. Be proud of the fruit of Obuasi and stand up to fight the corrupted leaders.
Indeed, Obuasi will live and its thieves will be ashamed of the robbed progress taking elsewhere. Do not believe that the gold is gone, businesses are closed, development is stagnate and talented folks are on the run, but there are great people who are standing for and with Obuasi. Obuasi will make it and it won’t go back to the devastating state again.
Look at the mining sector, the roads, the buildings, the numerous banks, the energetic entrepreneurs; they promise a better future for ‘Obuasians’. If you are not “Obuasian”, do not despite the future progress of our Golden City. Lets hold our leaders accountable and let our youth contribute their quotas to the city, we will live to see the beauty of Obuasi. God bless Obuasi! God bless Ashanti Region! God bless Ghana!
Emmanuel Kwame Darko