...Sounds on da ground and seens on the see-ins
In the summer of 2004, Obour embarked on a road safety campaign as part of promoting his album and havng a nationwide concert tour all over Ghana to about 35 towns. It was unprecedented, very successful and well publicized. I happened to catch the Cape Coast show. The lead single was Menwu biom meaning 'I will not die again' talking about how he had escaped death on many occasions. I was not surprised to see him continue his road safety campaign to this day, presently partnering with the government, and having a music video/ad preaching road safety. Okoaba is not just a song, it is a socially conscious project as well.
Obour is a smart hiplife artiste. In the wake of Ghana's 50th (golden) anniversary, he is jointly doing an album with the evergreen A. B. Crentsil to celebrate Ghanaian music and merge hiplife with highlife. Their 'Best of the Lifes' album has tracks like Adwoa, Anyen (Devil), Juliana, Our father, Aponkyereni, Gyae su and Aburokyire Nkomo. Okoaba is a song about road safety and means "(s)he is going and will come". Since Obour lost a very loved one to an accident and almost passed away in a few, he really appreciates the notion of travelling and returning in peace and not pieces. The song has excellent lyrics. After lamenting the accidents and subsequent deaths, the indiscipline on our roads, our stubbornness towards change, etc, he goes on to advise people on what to do as drivers, statesmen, police men, youth, Christians, and musicians to improve road safety.
Accidents have resulted in many fatalities and injuries recently, week in, week out. Countless statesmen and ministers have been lost, the three urologists (doctors), as well as Suzzy Williams, Terry Bonchaka, etc. It is a serious problem that must be addressed on various levels and by walks of life to save innocent lives. Overspeeding, and overtaking are rife and the way we park is terrible. Drunk driving is not uncommon and we seem to love giving our attention to cell phones instead of the roads, or human lives whiles driving. Countless vehicles on our roads are also in bad shape or poorly maintained and drivers need to show some responsible behaviour.
There is too much driver indisicipline in Ghana. I haven't been driving in Ghana but I have witnessed too many silly driving decisions and road rages, and these do not speak well of Ghanaian drivers. I don't enjoy the way 'cars carrying large sums of money' (apparently because armed robbers would chase them) and 'ministerial and government convoys' are allowed to bypass traffic. We suffer in this go-slow together, if you do not enjoy it, be about changing or improving the situation! Efforts must be made to make sure our drivers are aware of traffic rules and when they commit such offences, they must be brought to book. The authorities who keep order must ensure that these socially unacceptable traffic offences are not repeated and drivers desist from creating inconveniences for other drivers and pedestrians alike.
A lot of this driver indiscipline and road rage has to do with the poor transport and road infrastructure in the country. Our roads cry for traffic lights, signs, street lights and above all, proper planning. I was thinking that the government would dedicate a significant amount of funds towards improving and expanding our roads in the event of the number of people expected to be in Ghana this jubilee year. That would be a great gift to Ghanaians. For instance, the Kumasi-Accra road's progress has been so slow, it is almost stagnant. Is it only in Ghana that roads have to be spoilt to be fixed? I think the dual carriageway is not even sufficient. Accra is choked with traffic and activity. If we could open the rest of the country with a great transportation network, it would enable Accra to breathe and develop other parts of Ghana. I also believe the citizenry must take the mantle of improving the roads, at least in their communities and neighbourhoods. Just like the real estate companies are constructing new neighbourhoods, various communities can liaise with construction companies to improve their urban and road infrastructure. We must not always wait for the government.
The traffic situations in places like Accra and Kumasi are horrible at times but we must have patience as drivers. I congratulate Obour and the National Road Safety Campaign on their efforts. I hope the general public would give it the serious attention it deserves and act accordingly.