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Opinions of Thursday, 24 January 2013

Columnist: Mutawakilu, Mahama

Principal Of Tatco Refuses To Go On Retirement

: Open Letter To The President

It is my pleasure to write you this letter in my capacity as a member of staff of the Tamale College of Education. First of all, belated congratulations to you on your assumption of office as President of the Republic of Ghana.

Your Excellency, I am really very concerned about developments at the Tamale College of Education. The current Principal, Chief Yakubu Bukari, went on retirement in 2009. He was given a post retirement contract extension for two years, which was supposed to have run out in December 2011. A new Principal was supposed take over in January 2012.

But as I write this piece, Chief Bukari is still at post, and the information making the rounds, and which emanates from him is to the effect that you have given him a further two years contract extension. Is this proper, your Excellency, especially so when someone has been appointed to take over from him? Members of staff and students of the college are very worried about the turn of events.

I am wondering whether his continuous say in office has the endorsement of the Executive Secretary of the National Council for Tertiary Education. I believe very strongly that if indeed you sanctioned a further extension to his already extended post retirement contract, then you were misled by the Chairman of the Council. There is no doubt at all in my mind that Chief Bukari has done a lot to enhance the image of the College in as far as infrastructure development is concerned. This notwithstanding, there is no doubt also about the fact that his continuous stay in office now is seriously affecting academic work in the college. This is because any major decision that members of staff want to take to enhance students’ academic work, they are told by Chief Bukari that they should wait until a substantive Principal takes office. I am also reliably informed that Chief Bukari does not attend meetings of Principals of Colleges of Education. In fact, he failed to attend the last such meeting which was held in Kumasi (in August, 2012) just before the commencement of the 2012/2013 academic year. His inability to attend such important meetings (without delegating), including meetings organised by the Institute of Education, University of Cape Coast, is seriously hampering academic work in the college. It is not for nothing, your Excellency, that President Obama, when he visited Ghana, admonished us to allow institutions of state to work.

Students and staff are at a loss as to what could be going on. The moral of staff is now very low as Chief Bukari continues to run the college as if it is his private business. He comes to the office on Wednesdays and Thursdays only and the rest of the days of the week he is in his chieftain. There are hardly any staff meetings and proposals sent to him by members of staff are left unattended for several weeks. This is seriously affecting the smooth running of the college considering the fact that he has made it his policy to be the only one who should take final decisions on everything in the college, including decisions as insignificant as when a teacher should conduct tests in class, and not even his Vice Principals have been authorised to take decisions in his absence.

Once someone has been appointed, I would want to appeal to you to ensure that whoever has been appointed is made to assume office immediately as there is so much work to be done in the college. I do not want to believe information making the rounds that Chief Bukari, with the tacit support of the Council Chairman of the College, has been given another extension of his contract by you because, knowing who you are, you will never condone such an illegality. This would spell doom for the college in so far as academic work is concerned as moral among staff is at its lowest ebb.

Chief Bukari has been bragging on campus that he is ‘untouchable’ and that no one can ask him to hand over as head of the college. I do not want to believe this is true, but it is said that coming events cast their shadow. Most members of staff are very tired about our inability to perform duties that we have been appointed to perform just because Chief Bukari is often not present to give us the permission to do what we are being paid to do.

I pray you sir, to ‘compel’ Chief Yakubu Bukari to hand over the administration of the college to his successor with immediate effect so that academic work, which has virtually taken a nose dive, would be effectively operational again in the college.

Thank You very much your Excellency,

Mahama Mutawakilu