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Opinions of Sunday, 9 September 2018

Columnist: Iddrisu Abdul Hakeem

KNUST, once a University, now a boxing ring?

For the sake of those who usually don't read beyond headlines or titles of articles, I urge that they find a question mark at the end of this title. It is not a statement, it's a question.

The Rt. Honorable Frank Blay, Speaker of KNUST Students' Parliament, nearly fell in front of the now 'men and women of substance' Hall (Africa Hall) that, until this academic year, used to be females' Hall, to brief me the latest supposed flogging to decamp and disband members of the then traditional male halls by security men on campus in order to deescalate tension and its attendant unforeseen violence.

I myself earlier yesterday intercepted a rather hastily written piece christened: "KNUST is ‘Burning’: Students Flogged For Chanting ‘Jama’ on Campus by Security Men", which I trust prompted the Speaker of Honorable House to call for an emergency sitting of KNUST Students' Parliament to deliberate on the recent developments in respect of the issue at hand.

Before I unfold details of my article, let me assure colleague students that my aim with this article is not to lambast, lampoon, and scandalize those of our friends who choose to remain in the vanguard of students activism and boldly parading themselves as staunch opponents of the university, for taking what I may choose to call a remedial decision to solve the longstanding pertinent plagues that have beleaguered the university over the years, I'm simply to expose a false alarm being hammered home by some students regarding the purported sort of 'carrots and sticks' strategy explored and employed by the university to bamboozle and intimidate students into silence which many claim renders the campus 'volatile' for the security of students.

I may have to also apologize in arrears to fellow 'fellows' for being Judas in this trying times. I believe we are fighting over 'popcorn' and crying wolf where there's no can't, and I am never personally ready to sit aloof and watch a house burnt down to get rid of a rat.

It is a fact in white and black, that both continuing students and alumni of both halls: University (Katanga) and Unity (Conti) Halls, in their rather fruitless Titanic efforts to reverse the final decision by the university to convert the traditional males' halls, have crisscrossed the country lobbying, petitioning, protesting, and like an accursed democracy, where majority always have their way, and minority have their say, they have been chased out of the Palace of the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II when they went to lobby him, His Excellency, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufu Addo, a very listening president Ghana will ever have, gave their petition a cold shoulder to their amazement, and the Kumasi High Court also trashed their last hope injunction in a Dumpster of ignorance of the law!

Onlookers, clearly, they (students and alumni) have exhausted all their avenues to reverse the decision of the university, leaving one very last option that is not only expensive, but more dangerous than fake drugs!

That last option is vandalism or violence.

Let me remind fellow students that the Vice Chancellor, Professor Kwesi Obiri Danso, was not a "Momoni" seller or palm wine tapper or some kind of armchair professor the university brought to come and lead. He is a seasoned technocrat, a scientist, who would never allow the last option left to be pursued by students.

The 'jama' (a traditional cultural display dance danced by students on campus), is more powerful than any opium of students, especially, in terms of mobilization.

Do we think the VC has peanuts in his skull to allow any platform of students in this trying times that might orchestrate violence on campus?

And persuasion we all know, if fails, force must apply, not so?

The authorities are not intimidating us with the heavy security on campus to disband any possible mob, they are only in a state of fear our inactions put them.

It is often normal for the code of the jungle to break in the human society, education, however, at least, must be able to distinguish human beings from the beasts of the wild forest.

But we seem to trash our education and acting as if intellectually unequipped for critical thinking and therefore, the posture of the university.

The action 'we' took to have that decision reversed was ill advised and a complete misadventure.

If we had been patient enough and employed dialogue, diplomacy, and courtesy, we would not be suffering from this self inflicted crisis we have afflicted ourselves with to say the least.

Stone Boy in an article to Shatta Wale, last year, said a fool's mouth is his destruction.

Staging a legal tussle against the university to maintain one tradition of males only halls has caused us other weekly traditions and our current crisis of losing all traditions.

However, I think there's still room to ironing out our differences with the university, by rendering an unqualified apology to the authorities for subjecting them to nothing more than a public ridicule over a non-issue.

Gentle men as we claim we are, let's have the character to own up our overreactions and the humility to apologize before it's too late.

A word to a wise maybe in Katanga Hall or Unity Hall as some of us may conclude this wise saying, but I leave you with wisdom of Charles Darwin, when he said "It is not the strongest of the species that survive, or the most intelligent, but one most responsive to change!

And impossible, according to Napoleon Bonaparte, is a word to be found only in the dictionary of fools!

Fellows!!! Charge!!!

But let us not always charge, I believe it is time to wise up as well.

Long Live Ghana,

Long Live KNUST,

And Long Live Katanga Hall.