- My problem with this project is that Ghanaians are already saddled with extreme religious beliefs, culminating in extreme laziness. That leaves them worshipping and praying, instead of engaging in hard work for prosperity.
Written By Dr Albert O. A. Tsolu - Never will I be in contradiction to the building of religious houses and in particular, a national cathedral proposed by the present administration, as a staunch Christian and Presbyterian born and trained for that matter.
My problem with this project is that Ghanaians are already saddled with extreme religious beliefs, culminating in extreme laziness. That leaves them worshipping and praying, instead of engaging in hard work for prosperity.
Extreme religious behaviours among Ghanaians have made us believe that everything is achievable through religious subtext, forgetting the most important issues with reference to science and technology, which are the regulators of the universe.
This psychological encroachment through religious indoctrination has kept us as none-achievers remaining in servitude. The Ghanaian child enters school with dogmatic religious beliefs from their upbringing.
This has implanted on our psyche an inferiority complex with the assumption that anything foreign is superior, since our imaginary spiritual saviours, we very much revere, are of different genomic.
In this strain, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, our first President, realising the consequences of religious barrage that could derail our advancement, built non-religious institutions to counterpoint the religious brainwashing that was obliged on us by the colonialists.
This policy was unsustainable because the scholars, who eventually headed and staffed these non-religious institutions like the local authority schools, were all products of the sacrosanct schools that eventually indoctrinated them.
Nkrumah, again, tried to instil Africanism ideology in Ghanaians and Africans at large by building the ‘Kwame Nkrumah Ideological Institute’ at Winneba, to make Ghanaians and Africans broadly believe in themselves with pride, trusting in their abilities to develop, similar to the Chinese and other successful people in the world, without religious motivation.
This honourable stance, however, failed because of partisan misconstructions.
Unfortunately, our tertiary institutions also became avenues for indoctrination rather than institutions for brainstorming technologically to advance our cause.
During my years at the University of Ghana (UG), Legon in the early 1970s, with a population of about 4,500 students, every hall had a well-decorated church with perfectly laid woollen carpets and pipe organs to entice students to attend church services.
Most students held church services regularly with Sunday services inspiring participation. However, my arrival at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, a highly competitive grade ‘A’ University in the US in 1974 with a student population of about 85,000, portrayed a different story.
There was no church found on the university premises. The science block was a huge 35-storey building higher than any building.
That taught me that more emphasis was laid on science education and that impelled their advancement.
To demonstrate how doctrinaire religious behaviour has affected our national growth, our own President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo addressing workers during May Day celebration in 2017, admonished them to stop praying at offices and devote time for hard work to augment productivity and, consequently, uplift their remuneration to bring them happiness.
The Vice-President of Nigeria, Proffesor Osibanjo, when addressing public workers in Abuja in the same year, replicated President Akufo-Addo’s declaration; “Stop praying and start working.” When addressing civil servants in the capital Abuja, Yemi Osibanjo urged Nigeria’s public workforce to rely on their own efforts, and not spiritual supplications, to improve the state of the country.
He continued, “Great economies and great nations, prosperity and abundance of nations/communities are created by humans and not spirits”.
These assertions have demonstrated that our youth who are our future leaders will be sunk by relying on spiritual solutions, with the building of cathedrals and basilicas.
It beats me, therefore, that we should be advocating for the erection of national cathedral instead of upgrading the wretched in society who are hardly included in our financial plans.
As cues, the first President of Cote d’Ivoire, Felix Houphouet Boigney, built one of the most beautiful and expensive Basilicas in the world in Yamoussoukro, the administrative capital, but that could not save Cote d’Ivoire from descending into civil war, destabilisation and impoverishment to date.
In my little town, Gbi-Wegbe in the Volta Region, we toiled extremely hard to build a nice Evangelical Presbyterian Church that never saved the youth from sliding into reprobates and hoodlums. Rather than building educational institutions to help educate them for brighter future to be responsible citizens, we built the church.
Nigeria currently accommodates the biggest and most expensive church auditoriums in the world, yet it is in want, sitting in discomfort and on time bombs.
The almighty Notre Dame Cathedral in France was engulfed in any spiritual fortification.
This tells us religious edifices/practices are not panaceas for problem rectification but rational policy indulgence and decent acts.
We must not fantasise that those we cage religiously by keeping them mute to rely on spiritual solutions and not to engage in upheavals against fraudulent authorities will not one day discover the deception.
Those subtle delights have excruciating ends.
The writer is an Ethnomusicologist,