Feature Article of Friday, 17 February 2012
Columnist: Tsekpo, Thomas Worlanyo
In the year 1972, the National Service Scheme was inception to provide user agencies the needed human capital and also to afford fresh graduates from various tertiary institutions a first hand experience as to what pertains on the job market notwithstanding the patriotism spirit it was to instill in graduates. In the late eighty's students at the time went to the government and proposed that they would like to work for the government for a year for the government. The military government at the time then put a decree that graduates would serve for two years but due to financial problems it was brought to a year for tertiary leavers.
As the number grew, challenges developed as well hence National Service Personnels Association (NASPA) was formed in 1983 to enable personnels channel their grievances through the association to the government.
Currently, the number of personnels deployed by the secretariat to all parts of the country is more than 53,000. There is no village in Ghana that a service personnel will not be found. This shows how patriotic and dedicated service personnels are to their motherland.
National Service Personnels have wholeheartedly accepted posting to places where others have vowed not to go, they accepted posting to areas where there are no electricity and good drinking water, they accepted posting to areas where the roads networks are bad, they accepted posting to areas where there are strange diseases leading to deaths of personnels, they accepted posting to areas that are volatile that can explodes at anytime. Aside all what we have been going through our efforts are not been recognized. Instead of Ghana to recognize our efforts we are rather been stabbed at our back. Ghana has forgotten of NASPA. Our priorities are not close to their scale of preference. The question they continue to ask is ''who are they''? They have totally forgotten of us!
This has made the over 53,000 personnels very bitter from within. Bitter because we are always disgraced in our various homes at post because we can't pay our utility bills and always live on borrowed money because of delayance of our allowances. Bitter because Service Personnels have no place to lay their heads while rendering service to mother Ghana.
A colleague personnel whom am currently serving in the same district with in Builsa North Sandema told me in his first two month of service thus October and November, he slept in a classroom and bathed in the school's urinal because he had no money to rent a room. According to him this continued for almost two month until his allowance came to enable him rent a room. After renting a room he fell sick and nearly died because of a mosquito bite in the classroom. Why should personnels leave the comfort of their homes to go through all these because they want to serve mother Ghana. His story touched me from within hence the quest to launch the NASPA housing fund to help build transit quarters for personnels. These are some of the challenges the forgotten personnels go through while serving mother Ghana. TUC, UTAG, POTAG, NUGS, GNAT, NAGRAT and other associations in the country sometimes embark on demonstrations and strikes for better service conditions for their members but we are waiting for a better tomorrow. This better tomorrow i believe will not come from the blue moon, this better tomorrow will not come from just a political talk but ACTION! this better tomorrow for NASPARIANS has to start from you and i. This is why I have proposed to launch a NASPA housing fund under my administration as the Upper East regional president of the association to help put up transit quarters for service personnels so that personnels will get comfortable places to lay their heads when they are posted to the region and even beyond so that personnels sleeping in classrooms while serving mother Ghana will be a thing of the past. The current NSS administration under the executive director is doing very well to salvage most of our woes but its time we also rise to the occasion to fight the battle ourselves as personnels. Let’s give the NASPA Housing fund a voice to once again put smile n the faces of National Service Personnels in the country and we will forever be grateful to you because you helped put roof on the head service personnels. By;
THOMAS WORLANYO TSEKPO
PRESIDENT, NASPA UPPER EAST REGION.