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Opinions of Sunday, 6 February 2011

Columnist: Atiemo, Paul Obeng

‘Cote D’ivoire’ In Nugs – Betrayal Of Trust (Part 2)

Indeed by all standards, the current crop of leadership in the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) have not lived as expected, but the pulling out or disassociation from the National Union of Ghana Students (as exemplified by the Christian Service University College- CSUC), and the sheer chastisement and chorusing of our resentment is not the ultimate in the rebuilding of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS). Rather, we all (students in Ghana) should see ourselves as having a visible role to play in the rebuilding process.
Like the reason for which most people take in alcohol (running away from problems or the mess created by them, only for them to wake up to the very problem they created), the breakaway or disassociation from the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) by its component institutions as exemplified by the CSUC is not the best way out. As ‘men’ the component institutions of the NUGS must be bold and confront the situation at hand, having in mind that whatever the situation, it was created by man and as such it will take ‘men’ along with consistent diplomacy and genuine action and inaction to rebuild the NUGS and regain the confidence of the Ghanaian student populace.
Furthermore, the leadership of the NUGS and all interested in seeing change must be the change they expect to see in the NUGS. For the NUGS will reflect its membership.

Many a time, persons who assume leadership in the NUGS are oriented and made to believe that the politician or government is the enemy to educational progress in Ghana; forgetting that such persons (politicians) have once been students and truly know the essence and influence of education and its associated Unions, notwithstanding the amnesia developed by them with regard to the needs and difficulty associated with education and students.

Rather than being enlightened contrary to the blatant fallacy above that, the real enemy of the Ghanaian student and education is the lack of adequate infrastructure on our campuses, the fact of Senior High School (SHS) students running shifts to attend dinning, poor WASSCE and BECE results, late payment of Students Loan, studies under trees especially in the rural areas, strike action by lecturers, late payment of the allowances of the National Service personnel, attempt by policy makers or drafters to overlook the contribution of students in nation building, inter alia.

Mutatis Mutandis, in the quest of the NUGS to draw the attention of such policy makers to the welfare of students, attempts will be made to gag the NUGS, for such, all will appreciate it when available legitimate means is used to ‘speak the language’ policy makers will understand. By this, it will be right that some politicians are named and attacked in the interest of over 20,000 students in Ghana

Questions were raised as to what the author expects of the NUGS referencing part one of this article. Well, it’s simple:

i. Unity at the leadership front of the NUGS.
ii. That the NUGS make a detour to its primary duty as stated by the NUGS constitution (making the concerns of students their own).
iii. That the NUGS should live up to its reputation and make visible its essence.
The ECOWAS and the African Union, in resolving the situation in Cote d’ivoire (where there exist two presidents) have so far opted for diplomacy thereby supposedly exonerating our president Prof. J.E.A. Mills. For the NUGS, in dealing with the problem of dual presidents, radical diplomacy ought to be adopted and applied.

Thus, the two presidents – Hamza Suhuyini and Abotsi Afriyie Anthony, taking into consideration the situation at hand and the fact of the controversy and stalemate with regard to the presidency and for the sake of the Ghanaian student and the need to preserve heritage, and the fact that the action of the CSUC may trigger a domino effect, both parties (Hamza and Abotsi) should step down; paving way for the Secretary to act until congress and handing over is done, lest we preempt double congress this year to elect two sets of executives for the next academic year.
Moreover, there should be a truce and a modus vivendi between the contending parties with the Central Committee of the NUGS as a witness, appreciating and recognizing that both were once presidents of the NUGS.
In conclusion, the society at large may look on arms folded, perhaps on the pretext that the issues as pertain to the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) is inferior to the urgent national issues. Truly, if this impasse of the NUGS should continue and all looks unconcerned, society would wish to turn back the arms of time to this particular day where the issues of the NUGS is at its rudimentary stages and only wish to have done something about it.
Like the story involving the Frankenstein monster, the overlooked problems of the NUGS will come back to haunt us all. Anyway, that’s the African way of solving problems.

Again, if the alumni of the NUGS play the role of biblical Pontius Pilate (keeping mute and away from the NUGS), they should remember that quite as they are today, their names will eternally be echoed and known to posterity that they (alumni) sat arms folded when the NUGS was being destroyed or in turmoil.
All hands must be on deck to instill sanity in the NUGS. Starting the rebuilding process, the British style of student activism (‘dzi wo fie asem’ – mind your own business) is preferred until such a time that the union is emboldened to facsimile the American, French and German style of students activism (influencing national and international policies as well as the welfare of its members).

Long live Student Activism
Long live the NUGS

Paul Obeng Atiemo