General News of Sunday, 21 October 2012
Source: Kojo Frimpong
Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice-Presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, has questioned why the ruling National Democratic Congress administration did not wait to put up the infrastructure required for a university before setting up two universities if they believed so much in the argument that all infrastructure must be ready before the initiation of the free SHS programme.
Dr. Bawumia was speaking on the first day of his seven (7) day Upper West tour at a durbar organized in Kperisi in the Wa Central constituency.
After taking his time to explain why free secondary school education is a necessity and can be done, Dr. Bawumia said “When we say we are bringing free quality education to the people of Ghana, the NDC goes around saying we cannot do it, and we ask why?
Their arguments are quite flimsy; they say we cannot do it because there is not sufficient infrastructure. But that argument doesn’t really make sense because at the time Dr. Nkrumah introduced free education in the north, there was only one middle school in the whole of the north; one school. If Nkrumah had gone by the argument of the NDC, we would not have had free education in the north.
Similarly, this same NDC government which says the children of Ghana should be denied free quality education because there aren’t enough infrastructures, without any infrastructure has set up a university in the Brong Ahafo region and another in the Volta region. If they believed seriously in this argument they are making, why didn’t they wait to build the infrastructure before setting up the universities?” he asked.
Dr. Bawumia reiterated the point that for any nation to progress and become a modern society, certain critical steps need to be taken and this includes educating its people, which he said ought to be prioritized.
He added that this was the reason why the NPP had no apologies for indicating that it would commit whatever resources needed into education to grow Ghana’s human resource base into a competitive one globally.
“Another argument they bring up is that there is no money. And we say to the NDC that if you stop giving our money to Woyome, Construction Pioneers, Waterville etc. and manage the economy well, we can have enough money for free secondary school education because if we can afford to spend 1.4% of GDP (i.e. our total income) on settlement of dubious judgment debts then we can certainly afford to spend 1.3% of GDP to provide free secondary education,” he added. The NPP Vice-Presidential candidate also took on the government for continuing to trumpet so called achievements which either is non-existent or which as yet do not have any impact in the lives of the people in the North such as the setting up or revamping of factories like the Buipe Shea Nut factory and the Pwalugu Tomato factory.
“How can you claim a shea nut factory which has not produced one ounce of shea butter since it was commissioned to much fanfare some six months ago is impacting positively on the lives of the people of Northern Ghana?” he asked.
“We want real factories and not propaganda factories for the sake of political expediency. We cannot be proud about factories which have not worked 5months after commissioning or factories which have been taken over by goats,” he said.