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Opinions of Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Columnist: Awuni, Manasseh Azure

Does it pay to be a writer?


“Our elders say no man (perhaps a woman, too) in his right senses will chase rats when his roof is on fire. It may mean so many things but in the context of issues arising in the camp of the Students’ Representative Council, I think the faceless individual(s) must know that we students have our priorities. The details? Wait a minute!

“Last semester we had to go on vacation without the faintest idea as to when we would resume, let alone how much we should pay as fees. The details were later posted on the notice board and there was a penalty for those who paid late. Apart from those who came to campus and the very few who might have seen the re-opening date in the Daily Graphic, how were those who traveled out of the country and those who were outside the coverage area of the Daily Graphic supposed to know?

“Another important thing worth noting is the fact that the school fees were increased and no details of the bill were provided this time round. It is unwise to go to the administration individually to ask why. That is why we have the SRC. And what all of us expected was that the SRC would prioritize this and “fight” for the rights of the students, first thing when school reopened. By “fight” I mean using dialogue. A cripple does not start a war song. But that seems to be not on their agenda. The agenda now is a Tom and Jerry feud, which is not uncommon as long as GIJ SRC is concerned.

“Now let me go back to the details I promised in paragraph one. On Thursday, there were two posters on campus. One of them alleged that the SRC president was a dictator (perhaps like Mugabe) and apart from the General Secretary, his relationship with the other executive was (in my own words) like that of Obasanjo and Atiku Abubakar; or better still JJ and JAK.

“The second allegation, which was entitled, “Rumours! Rumours!” cannot be re-echoed here. It was too defamatory. The final message was simple! The president ought to be impeached. I was critical of Owusu Afriyie’s administration, but it is said that but even if you hate a duiker, you must not fail to acknowledge its swiftness. They did well not to wash their smelly linen in public, as their predecessors did.

“This feud affects the strength of the SRC and this was conspicuously evident, at the recent General Assembly meeting. Some members came to the meeting, with uncompromisingly prejudiced positions entrenched like the roots of the baobab tree. So carried away by the intervention signs (which were freely abused), they dragged trivial matters for far too long.

“My advice to the SRC executive is very simple. It is too early to sling mud and trade accusations among yourselves. The internal power wrangling must be over. The SRC must stand together for the good of the student body. Dogs of the same owner do not tear the game apart. Oba nyansafo yebu no be...!



I never had the intention of ever contesting the SRC presidency in GIJ until I wrote this piece in October 2008, about the past administration. I came to GIJ full of inferiority complex. I didn’t write to shoot myself into fame but the overwhelming number students who came to me after this article made me see myself as somebody. “Charlie you write well.” You’ve said everything on my mind,” they said. So I told myself, ‘Hey, boy! Why not seize this opportunity? Why shouldn’t these admirers vote for you? You have not mounted anybody’s wife or concubine. Neither have you stolen from anybody’s barn. So why don’t you seize this opportunity and conclude what you started in the primary school?’ (I had been the assistant senior school in the primary school, SP in JHS and SP and SRC President of Krachi Senior High School in 2004.)

But when I came to GIJ to meet the girls and guys from Gey Hey, Botwe, Achimota among others, I recoiled into my inferior shell until one day the in-fighting among the SRC I succeeded stung me like a scorpion. And I decided to write. That small piece I printed on an A-4 sheet of paper and posted on campus was later to boost my confidence.

So what am I trying to say? Whatever your talent is, utilize it well. I mean a legal talent. One that is dignifying! It will give you wealth. Fame. Name.

When I grow up I will be a writer. Like George Sydney Abugri, Kwaku Sakyi Addo or Merari Alomele. I want to write like Julia Keller of the Chicago Tribune, Babita Persaud of the St. Petersburg Times or Helen O’Neil of Associated Press. When I grow up I want to write like Elechi Amadi. Kwakuvi Azasu. Chukwuemeka Ike. Or my role model, Chinua Achebe. And I think it will give me most of the things I need badly in life, including the mother of my future children. Why not? Why do you think they’re all after Michael Essien?

If there is one reason you’re reading this piece, then it is one message I have for you from Ecclesiastes 9:10 which says: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.”

May God give you the grace to do what your hands finds to do.

Credit: Manasseh Azure Awuni [] Email: The Writer is the SRC President of the Ghana Institute of Journalism and Press and Information Secretary of the Northern Students’ Union. To read more of his works, visit