The Choices you make today have but only two exit paths – the one to success and the one to failure. Either one you choose has the unchanging power to determine your beginning and ending. As Elizabeth Kubler-Ross said, “I believe that we are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed, word and thought throughout our lifetime.
Have you perchance asked yourself, the level of thinking that went into the decision by Esau to sell his birth right to Jacob in the exchange of a mere pottage? What about the famous Judas Iscariot in the bible? The book of Matthew 26:15 said Judas Iscariot traded Jesus Christ for a paltry thirty pieces of silver for his destruction. A decision he regretted and hanged himself for.
I am of the strongest conviction that on your first day you heard of these stories, you asked so many unanswered questions to the extent that you even judged these two famous characters. But the multimillion-dollar questions is, what would you have done differently if you are confronted with such life choices and the answer is quite simple, you would have either done same or the worse.
This carefully explains why we continue to make bad choices even when we are advised to take a second look. So I was not surprised when the government of Ghana ignored several demonstrations, calls and appeals to refrain from trading our only saviour, the ATEWA forest reserve for a paltry sum of $ 2billion dollars in spite of its global significance.
Just as Judas Iscariot took thirty pieces of silver from the Romans to betray Christ Jesus our saviour to suffer that cruel and crude method of death in the hands of Pontius Pilate, so has the government of Ghana betrayed Ghanaians by selling our saviour, ATIWA Forest to suffer in hands of Synohydro of China.
It might sound crazy in your ears for describing Atiwa Forest as our saviour but believe it or not, it is indeed our saviour and here is the proof. The Atewa forest which is 8000ft below sea level is a highly important water tower for Ghana. It contains the headwater of three river systems, the Ayensu, Densu and Birim river basins.
These three rivers are crucial sources for both domestic, agriculture and industrial water and millions of people in the Central, Eastern and notably Greater Accra regions of Ghana from local communities upstream to major population centres like Accra at the coast, depend on clean drinking water provided by the Atewa Forest Reserve.
Over 60% of Accra’s population receives water from the Weija reservoir that gets its water from Atewa through the Densu River. Let me prove further. Atewa is a special biological protection area, a hill sanctuary, a globally significant biodiversity area and an important bird area and it has no equivalent reserve in Ghana and in West Africa.
For example, the reserve boasts of 227 species of birds, 50 mammals, 32 amphibians, 650 plants, and a whopping 700 species of butterflies, over 100 species critically endangered white-naped mangabey, afiabrago puddle frog and 28 species that are in danger of global extinct Amazon forest cannot even boast of. The saviour of West Africa has 40 fringe communities with estimated populations of 75,000 people who harvest the likes of snails, bush meat, mushrooms, wild honey, fruits, medicines, firewood and household equipment valued at US$12.4 million per annum and US$ 9.3 million per annum cocoa proceeds from 37,000 farms in the landscape?
With these benefits which represent just one percent resources of the reserve, what proof do you need again to believe that Atewa forest is a saviour we cannot just handover to Synohydro for a paltry sum of US$ 2 billion in the name of mining bauxite.
Ironically, while China has graciously smiled to dole out this “kwacha” to the government of Ghana (Judas Iscariot) to handover Atewa forest reserve (Our Savior) to suffer in the hands of Pontius Pilate (Synohydro), the Chinese government has secured 10 billion yuan ($1.58 billion) in funding over the next five years for a planned giant panda national park, three times the size of the U.S Yellowstone National Park.
The park will protect wild pandas across Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu province, while the funding will help alleviate poverty for residents living within the park and improve infrastructure. Last month, China’s environment ministry said it had approved plans by 15 provinces and regions to draw up “red lines” to keep large areas of its territory, including wetlands, forests, national parks and protected natures zones, off-limits to economic development, “suskett”.
Awaaso in the Western Region where bauxite has been mined for the past 78 years have seen zero development and their state is worse off than ever before. President Akufo-Addo addressing the 12th West Africa Mining and Power conference in Accra, shared tears over how centuries of mining in Akwatia, Tarkwa, Obuasi, Prestea Huni Valley among other areas of the country have suffered, depressed, deprived, impoverished and suffocated without liberation insight.
If Mr President could tell Ghanaians how mining companies have left mining communities impoverished and malnourished centuries after mining, what is the probability rate that Synohydro China would not only destroy our saviour and abandon him in a bauxite grave “un-resurrected”.
And always remember, the Choice you make today has but only two exit paths, the one to success and the one to failure. Either one you choose has the unchanging power to determine your beginning and ending. As Elizabeth Kubler-Ross said, “I believe that we are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed, word, and thought throughout our ‘life time”.
Listowell Kwadwo Fordjour is a Producer of Adom 106.5 FM’s morning show, DWASO NSEM and an Assisting News Editor