Growing up in Ghana, I received several awards and certificates of excellence—I was and remain proud of these awards because I could establish the reason why I was awarded; measurable hard work and undisputed excellence fetched me those accolades.
When I was at Adisadel College, I mostly bagged the Best Geography student award of my year—and my grades in Geography indicated that, I deserved it which obviously reflected the fact that I obtained an ‘A’ in Geography for my final examination. Even today, I continue to receive many academic related awards which are based on well assessed grounds—and any day anytime, whether I truly deserve these awards can be examined by testing my excellence in the awarded field…
Awards and certificates are meant to honour and acknowledge among the lot those who have toiled to excel—it becomes glorious and serves its fundamental purpose when it goes to those who truly deserve them.
Awarding excellence should be commended and it’s against this background that I find it unacceptable when a group of people wake up without any firm, ascertainable and ‘worthy’ criteria to award others in Ghana—mostly to make profits, forgetting that awarding mediocrity perpetuates it.
You do not need to meet any standard to set up an award scheme in Ghana and throw out some names as nominees (mostly friends) and then attract friendly companies as sponsors—and at one night; shout out the names of some of the people you like even if their works are porous as WINNERS.
Every person I know in Ghana has some sort of award and apart from the fact that these awards do not mostly reflect the excellence or otherwise of their works, it’s never clear as to how they obtained the awards. Here, I am not talking about transparency, rather well defined measuring tapes which are used as indicators of who gets what apart from who knows who.
Of course a lot of people are hungry to be acknowledged and to be frank if you need a ‘slipshod’ award scheme to tell you that you are great at what you do, then you surely need to evaluate your definition of greatness. As a result of this, you would find most Ghanaians running around when they hear ‘Awards’ being mentioned—it becomes pathetic if their names have somehow found itself into what they call a ‘nomination list’ irrespective of whether they truly deserve to be on there on not.
If you cannot be honest with yourself as a person and will accept another to endorse your mediocrity as excellence, then it’s just not the endorser who has a problem—you are the principal carrier…
It may come up as if I have a problem with award schemes in Ghana—but I do not. My problem lies with the lack of well defined grounds (forget the propaganda thrown out there as rules) on the back of which people are selected or awarded. More importantly, I am concerned with our claim to excellence through awards which does not reflect our individual works or collectively, our national goals.
This may not be completely infallible but I love those who achieve excellence and are awarded based on examinations or some sort of well standardized means of establishing who really deserves that ‘acknowledgement’.
I once bumped into a young girl who had taken the Best Physics Student Award in her college—and after speaking to her, it was clear why she took home that award. Her excellence was evident in her submissions…
Since I started blogging, I have received countless emails and phone calls from people asking me to enter an award scheme or something of such nature and every time, no matter who makes the contact; I have declined to be part of it—and my reason is simple, I really don’t want to be part of an award scheme that would place me in a category of ‘some people’ I wouldn’t even consider as a competition. Also, the grounds of nominations are mostly not set—which follows that, the grounds of picking a winner will certainly be so even if they ‘cook’ the voters’ choice hogwash….
But the problem is; it works for some people and each day we see different award schemes being launched—and mostly being held on some high horse by a few hungry people who have been given some coins to become board members or those who want to win—once again, irrespective of whether they or their works merit the win.
From Ghana Movie Awards to Ghana Music Awards to the many corporate and individual awards; are we really awarding excellence or mediocrity—because, our so called excellence hardly gets seen when thrown out there. We are making less and less impact in whatever we do, yet we continue to receive more and more awards for the less impact we struggle to make.
For me, the convention continues; a group of friends sit in their rooms and decide to set up award schemes (intending to make profits)—and because Ghanaians are dead in love with awards schemes, even if they are going to be given sawdust plaques, they jump at it.
Nothing works well in our societies and those who head these things are awarded throughout the year—the question is; for what?
Don’t be shocked if Asiedu Nketiah sets up a political award scheme with Alfred Woyome as the board chairman—and then honour President Mahama with the Best President Ghana has ever had award, claiming that people indeed voted for this.
It’s good to take part in award schemes or be awarded but at least, be truthful to yourself when it comes to the standard of your work—else, you are nothing but a douchebag, at best a cash cow for the many erupting award organizers…