You are here: HomeNews2016 04 21Article 432706

General News of Thursday, 21 April 2016

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Student leaders confess to political influences

Five student leaders assembled by Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Wednesday unanimously agreed that political parties influence the elections of student leaders across the country.

All five, however, appeared ambivalent, even evasive, when asked directly whether their elections were influenced by any political party.

President of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS), Michael Paa Kwesi-Adu, said he had a number of friends who helped his campaign.

He said ordinarily, individuals from various political parties may approach candidates vying for various positions at the student level with sponsorship packages.

Mr. Adu said some of those individuals may or may not have political leanings. He admitted he had support from NPP, NDC, and CPP amongst others.

“Let’s say you are contesting for a position, political parties may not come directly to you so you the leader may not have a direct relationship with that political party; maybe Davis, Romeo and Andrew are supporting you and belong to party K, so they may pass it through Davis,… so if we are talking about political influence in the student leadership it may not be a direct influence, it would be a sort of indirect influence that the political parties have on the student leadership when it come to the election of student leaders,” he explained.

The President of the Students’ Representative Council of the University of Ghana, Legon, Davis Ohene Fobin, said it was quite true that of late party politics has been influencing student elections.

But “I can say on authority I didn’t have an official political party support in my elections,” he stated.

Davis Fobih revealed, however, that majority of his campaign team members were from New Patriotic Party student’s wing, TESCON.

In fact, he said, he voted for the NPP in the 2012 elections because he found the party’s signature promise of a free senior high school (SHS) education very appealing.

He said even though he had completed secondary school and was the last born of his parents, he thought there were other parents who couldn’t pay for their children to have secondary education.

“Are u NPP?” He was asked a pointed question by morning show host, Kojo Yankson.

“I’m not NPP. As it stands now, I’m not a registered member of any political party,” he replied.

The SRC President of the African University College of Communications (AUCC), Andrew Atariwini, said he was never approached by any political party during his campaign.

“Before you vie for any position, you certainly would have thought through and examined the situation on the ground, and then assess yourself – what you think you are able to bring on board to solve the problems you have proferred to be the challenges you need to solve – and then you present those solutions to the electorate who are the students,” he said.

He maintained he produced a manifesto that resonated with the plight of students and got support from his classmates to sell his message and which the students bought by voting for him.

On his part, the SRC President of the Ghana Institute of Journalism, Romeo Adzah Dowokpor, said the dynamics at GIJ are different because there are no political groups such as TEIN and TESCON on campus.

He said having friends who are ministers or MPs and business executive’s finance your campaign must be distinguished from political parties as institutions funding the campaigns of student politicians.

“There is a difference because if for instance, I happen to toe the line of a certain ideology, maybe towards the NDC, and I have a particular friend who is an (NDC) MP and he realizes that ‘Romeo is a very good young man, I think investing in him, trying to help him’ – not with the intention of controlling me - but because we have a relationship, that is a real case scenario.”

He said GIJ is a school with a relatively small population so he didn’t need much money to prosecute his campaign.

“Campaign on [GIJ] campus is not that expensive I must so I relied on a couple of friends and telling people I’ve known who came to support me because they realized that I could do the job, investing in me would be something worthwhile so they came and invested in me,” he stated.

William Boye who contested for NUGS President but lost to Paa Kwesi-Adu, said the cost involved in prosecuting a campaign for any position of student leadership is way too high for any student to bear alone.

He insisted all aspirants for various positions of student leadership are supported by political parties but stopped short of mentioning the particular political party that supported his campaign.