STUDENT LEADERSHIP OR STUDENT POLITICS?
Recently, there was media reportage about the controversy surrounding the National Union of Ghana Students, (NUGS) congress to elect executives to man the affairs of University students for the 2011-2012 Academic year. There were two separate Congresses held by two Presidents of NUGS, Hamza Suhuyini and the supposed impeached Mr. Anthony Abotsi Afriyie. On Monday, 6 December 2010 myjoyonline.com published a story stating that an emergency congress held by NUGS in Accra on Saturday, 4th December 2010 passed a vote of no confidence and removed from office with immediate effect its President, Anthony Abotsi Afriyie. It went further to state that Mr. Afriyie was removed for taking decisions unilaterally contrary to the constitution of NUGS which states in Article 18 Section (a) that congress shall be the highest legislative and decision making organ. It also said a statement issued to the press and signed by Alimatu Issahak, coordinating secretary and Patrick Adonoo, general secretary, said in line with Article 41 of the NUGS constitution, the general secretary, Mr Adonoo, assumes the post of the President. Now, when contacted by the Times, Mr Afriyie said he still remained the president of NUGS, adding that what was said about him was "absolutely untrue."
Not too long after this, Hamza Suhuyini came out to declare himself as the new NUGS President. He went from University to University carrying himself as the new President. The media recognized him as such and gave him platforms to add his voice when it came to matters concerning students in Ghana. The just recent one was the issue of high fees charged by the University of Ghana where Hamza Suhuyini led a demonstration to protest against the high fees. Where was Mr. Anthony Abotsi Afriyie when all these were happening? Now, citifmonline also carried a story recently that the supposed new President of the union, Peter Kwasi Kodjie has said that the media played a big role in propping up Hamza Suhuyini as he had never been the legitimated president of NUGS. It went further to state that the group described as illegal, the election of Osman Ayariga as president of NUGS, that took place at a congress which was chaired by the outgoing president of the Union, Hamza Suhuyini. What is going to happen next?
It is important to note that many are concerned about the current situation in our student front. Ms Hannah Awadzi on Friday, 4th March 2011 published in her blog that the Minister of Communications, Mr. Haruna Iddrisu expressed his disappointment in the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) and its leadership describing it as a union in crisis and without focus at a workshop organized by the union to discuss leadership and governance issues on the theme: “The Student Leader in the 21st century.” Mr Iddrisu, who was a former president of NUGS, said the current NUGS seemed irrelevant considering the issues that they involve themselves in and one find it difficult whether to classify them as a civil society group or an extension of a political party.
Indeed one finds it difficult to classify our current NUGS; it has been polarized by political parties. What is happening with NUGS today is because those who hold the helm of affairs have ambitions of holding positions in one political party or the other just as we now see with some of our Ministers of state and Members of Parliaments. I do not see anything wrong with one having such ambitions. What worries me is the neglect of the tenets upon which NUGS was formed; being a voice for the voiceless especially on the students' front.
What is happening on the students' front is not peculiar to NUGS; it goes on in almost all our Universities in Ghana. Students are doing themselves a great disservice by voting for leaders on trivial issues such as, political affiliation, school attended together, handsomeness or beauty etc. The end result is having student Leaders or Politicians who end up not placing the interest of students first in the course of their duty. Until students change this attitude, posterity will judge us all.
Long live Ghana!
NABIL AHMED RUFAI/Focus FM/KNUST.