Accra is a city bustling with life. In the sixties and seventies, when the population of Accra was less, it looked better and more attractive than how it is currently.
Accra over the past decade, has been bedevilled with filth, stinky chocked gutters, indiscriminate siting of kiosks and containers, traders taking over pavements. All these have contributed in making Accra anything but a beautiful city.
Many of us watch with amazement pictures and videos of beautiful cities such as Hong Kong, New York, Dubai, Las Vegas and the others. We even wish to spend some time there so we can enjoy the sight of these beautiful cities. The questions I ask myself are; why can’t Accra be like these cities? Why can’t we have clean sidewalks and market centres? Why can’t we have gutters devoid of stench and rubbish? All these questions come to mind anytime I take a ride around Accra.
The Odaw River which runs through the Accra Metropolis could have served as a tourist site if it were kept clean. Sadly, the Odaw River serves as a rubbish dump for many. It also serves as a place of convenience for some of the people who live along it. It is all stinky and dirty that one would have to hold his breath when driving or walking pass it.
Also, a walk along many of the sidewalks in Accra would reveal how pavement blocks are taken off and not fixed back. Many of the pavement blocks were taken of to make way for underground pipes and wires but are left unfixed. Even a first class area like Ridge is not free of this. The stretch opposite the M.T.N head office at Ridge was neatly paved but now it is not the same. The pavement blocks were removed to make way the repair of the underground pipeline but has since not been fixed back. As a result, the beauty of that stretch has been lost.
I am tempted to believe that many Ghanaians do not appreciate the need for a beautiful Accra. The Kwame Nkrumah Interchange that was so beautiful when it was first opened to motorists is now a shell of how it used to be. It was so beautiful that it was given the name “Accra Dubai”. The pavements were neat, no traders were selling on the pavements and green grass. The bus station was also a nice sight to behold. Today, we do not see the Dubai there. It’s now a typical Accra where rubbish is seen at every corner, traders are all around the place and the green grasses is not so nice. The Accra Metropolitan Assembly has on countless occasions driven the traders from the pavements but they keep returning. I feel disappointed that the beauty of that interchange was not maintained.
Another area in Accra that should have been kept nice is the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange. This interchange was officially opened in 2005. At that time, it was so beautiful. I was a child by then but I could appreciate the beauty of the area. The lawns, flowers, streetlights and the neatness made me happy anytime I passed the interchange. No traders, no filth, just beauty. Unfortunately, the whole place is far cry from how it used to be. Traders have turned the pavements into market centres. Rubbish is seen heaped up in corners. One would see people selling khebab, clothes, roasted corn, roasted plantain shoes, makeup and many other things. The lawns have turn into weeds. The bougainvillea plants that beautified the interchange are now out of shape. The metal rails on the road median have fallen rendering the area unattractive.
Many of us wish to visit the beautiful cities all around the world. I believe Accra could have rubbed shoulders with those cities but we made up our minds to prevent it from happening.
Ghanaians have a negative attitude towards keeping the city attractive. They are not willing to change anytime soon. Indeed Accra needs redemption.
By : Dey Leopoldina Aseye Adzo
3rd year journalism student of GIJ.