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Opinions of Thursday, 27 January 2011

Columnist: Atiemo, Paul Obeng

Cote D’ivoire In NUGS – Betrayal Of Trust

(Part 1)

The National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) over the years have experienced leadership of various forms including radicals, conservatives, the British style of student activism (concentration of attention on the welfare of its members) and the American, French and German style(influencing national and international policies as well as welfare of its members).

Sadly, the current crop of leadership of the NUGS could be labeled as one characterized with personal interests, character assassination and above all the struggle for power.

Unlike the days of recent past, where the NUGS was revered and viewed as dread in terms of influencing national policies and championing avant-garde ideas, same cannot be said of the dual president led NUGS today. This makes us fondly remember the days of the Arthur Kennedy, Dan Botwe, Haruna Idrissu,Omane Boamah, etc.
Just as prevails in Cote d’Ivoire, where there exist two presidents and two cabinets, same can also be said of the NUGS which also has two presidents – Hamza Suhuyini and Anthony Abotsi Afriyie.
During the 44thcongress of the NUGS at Wa, Anthony Abotsi Afriyie was elected as President of the NUGS to succeed Wonder Madilo. Interestingly, a Vote of No Confidence was passed on him at an emergency congress organized for that purpose, implying his removal from office.
On the 23rd of December, 2010, the very body which passed the Vote of No Confidence on Anthony Abotsi Afriyie organized another emergency congress and elected the runner up to Abotsi Afriyie at the Wa congress (Hamza Suhuyini) to be its leader.
Ironically, Abotsi Afriyie and a supposed Judicial Committee declared the congress as unconstitutional and as a result, Abotsi still holds himself as President of the NUGS and accordingly speaks for the student populace in Ghana; contrary to the assertion of another faction within the NUGS which recognizes Hamza Suhuyini as its legitimate leader.
Whatever, all theses is happening whilst the business of student activism or interest is abandoned.
Recently, Joy FM broadcasted an instance where a 17 year old Junior High School (JHS) student was being forced into marriage against her will of schooling and yet the NUGS whose constitutional duty it is to advocate and protect the interest of students was loudly silent over the issue.
Again, whilst parliament was considering and subsequent passage of the Petroleum Revenue Management Bill into law, and there was the need to advocate an allocation of the oil revenue towards education, the NUGS was docile.
Whilst there is the need for the NUGS to make informed contributions towards the review process of the Get Fund for consideration by the parliament. The NUGS is once more loudly silent.
There is always delay in the release or payment of Students Loan by the Students Loan Trust Fund secretariat and as a result students are forced to struggle over a period to survive and yet it’s not the beeswax of the NUGS.
When the issue of imaginary termination point of our education system was tabled for discussion by Dr. Paa Kwesi Induom and comprehensively deliberated upon at a Joy FM morning show, the NUGS once more was silent. An issue that required attention and a stance by the NUGS, taking into consideration the quality of students churned out by the Ghanaian educational system.
Many more can be cited referencing the docile attitude of the National Union Of Ghana Students (NUGS) amidst duty call.
If the NUGS cannot act out the American, French and German style of student activism which is associated with influencing national and international policies and as well pursue the interest of its members, going by the British style characterized with “di wo fie asem”- mind your own business, must be the priority of the NUGS.
The poverty of inaction amidst duty call can no longer be tolerated. Above all, the current situation of the NUGS is a complete betrayal of trust and an absolute breach of the social contract that students in Ghana have with them.As a result, there is the need for the NUGS to live up to its reputation, prescribed by the Constitution of the NUGS, primarily, championing the interest of students.
If the situation as pertain to Cote d’Ivoire where there exist two presidents and each considering himself as legitimate, is a headache to the world. That of the NUGS where there also exist two presidents (Anthony Abotsi Afriyie and Hamza Suhuyini) is an unwanted scar and a shame to the cooperate student body politic.
Such scenes of power struggle and subsequent escalation of the internal wrangling must be made a thing of the past.
In all of these, the current leadership of the NUGS may consider itself as working or better put doing its best. Hear us out, your best is not enough and as such, there is room for improvement. Furthermore, the leadership of the NUGS must know that students in Ghana are not interested in hearing or assuming that they are working, rather, we are interested in feeling your actions at our places of abode as students.
In conclusion, the alumni of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) should come afore to help mediate and bring to an end this impasse of dual presidency NUGS. That is, they should complement the prayers of the students in Ghana to remove the wools covering the eyes of their successors to enable them be opened to reality.
Furthermore, the leadership of the NUGS must know that there is a Heritage to preserve regardless of the exigencies of the time. Therefore, it is imperative that they handle the Union with care just as they came to meet it, if they intend not add up to it.
Besides, it must be clear to them that, the NUGS is not a platform to satisfy the whims and caprices of their partisan political masters against the interest of the over 20,000 students in Ghana.

Paul Obeng Atiemo
Student, KNUST