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Save CKT-UTAS Now: Prof Wilmot And His Aide-De-Camp Prof Ziem Must Be Called To Order

By Jogobu Navoro
Opinion Save CKT-UTAS Now: Prof Wilmot And His Aide-De-Camp Prof Ziem Must Be Called To Order
AUG 1, 2022 LISTEN

The establishment of every institution of education for high academic learning comes with well delineated mandate to accomplish. Following the granting of autonomy to the Navrongo Campus of the then UDS and the subsequent appointment of the first Vice Chancellor (VC) of the University, the Upper East Region and Navrongo in particular have been eternally grateful to the President, HE Nana Akuffo Addo for the noble idea to have a university to “provide higher education, disseminate knowledge related to development in integrated technology and applied sciences, undertake research and foster relationship with persons outside the institution”.

The natural expectation of the vast majority of people is that the VC, will lead the growth of the University in accordance with the Act and statutes of the University. However, the happenings evinced by the appointment and the conduct of the VC has painted a gloomy picture of the university that serious efforts are required to salvage it from its current state.

It is in the light of this that the Navrongo Youth Agenda for Development (NaYAD) deemed it fit to wear our citizenship cup and draw the attention of the University Council Chairman, our respected Traditional Rulers of the Upper East Region, and all who matter to rise to the occasion to call the VC to order and to require of him efforts that will put the University and its main campus on a respectable pedestal capable of becoming an academic centre of excellence.

The VC to say the least has since been abysmal as he has thrown leadership into the gutters and desecrated such a prestigious position with manifest crass incompetence by fueling rumour-mongering and scheming to sabotage the growth of the university ably assisted by Prof Juventus B. Ziem who himself has been drawing salary from the meagre resources of the university as head of the Medical School without evidence of work done for the past two years.

The sorry state of the University calls for the conduct of the VC to be redirected before he damns the University into a bottomless abyss that will render a salvage mission impossible.

Appointment of the VC

The challenges that confront the University actually trace their birth to the appointment of Prof Eric Magnus Wilmot as substantive VC following the expiration of his one=year tenure as Interim VC. It must be stated that, the happenings in the university are not particularly surprising as Prof Eric Magnus Wilmot should have been a retired public servant whose appointment was done by Council after he has been formerly retired from the University of Cape Coast and could not serve a tenure before attaining the compulsory retirement age of 60 years, as required of public officers by Article 199(1) of the Constitution 1992. The circumstances surrounding his appointment may have been politically motivated, but his conduct thereafter will require a miracle for such a person to show the exceptional leadership that can move the young University forward. Following his appointment, outside the realm of the common sense and due process, he promoted himself into a full-blown professor and organized his own professorial inaugural lecture to firm up his self-promotion. Sad to observe that, it is only in Ghana, among democratic community of nations. and CKT-UTAS that a VC will dishonorably bestow to himself such a prestigious academic honour as a full professor for non-existing success or achievement and organize on his own the requisite academic ritual to validate such an honour.

Leadership and Stewardship

Section 1 (5) and (6) of the CKT-UTAS Act, 2019 (Act 1000) and the CKT-UTAS Statutes 10 subsection 10(3) provides that, “The Vice-Chancellor is the academic and administrative head and chief disciplinary officer of the University. The Vice-Chancellor is responsible to Council for maintaining order and ensuring the efficient administration of the University.”

This in no doubt places on the VC a high standard of leadership, desiring such discipline, focus and seriousness to propel the agenda of the University to further desirable heights. Sad to note that this VC rather enjoys cladding himself in political party colours and taking a place of honour at party programmes and conferences while performing abysmally as administrator of an academic institution such as CKT-UTAS. Without an idea to organize the so-called small campus put under his care into a very decent and tenantable academic space, he has started scouting around looking for readily existing structures outside the main campus that he cannot even manage, to create a model campus as a cash cow for raising enough IGF to pay loans he intends to procure as he indicated in his latest response to rumours in a letter dated 18th July 2022 with reference: CKT-UTAS/VC/CCL/VS.1/VOL.1/22/1.

University campuses all over the world and indeed Ghana are meant to be the centres of attraction irrespective of where they are located. It is the duty of leadership to develop them to attract the needed academic membership to them. Sad to note that under the stewardship of Prof Magnus Wilmot, CKT-UTAS has not witnessed any face lift from what he inherited as the old campus of the UDS. Indeed, most Senior High School campuses in the region are well befitting of academic environments than what we see in CKT-UTAS, and there is not any glitter of hope that anything positive will happen anytime soon. This is a clear manifestation of failed leadership for the over two [Office1] years that Prof Wilmot took over the affairs of the University. It is evident in his self-confessed letter that infrastructural development has not seen any addition aside what has been inherited by the university.

As a young University, CKT-UTAS requires an effort to develop the needed infrastructure to have smooth take-off in executing the core mandate for which the University was established. While this has been vigorously pursued in the sister universities of UDS and UBIDS by leadership headed by the various VCs, it is sad to note Prof Eric Magnus Wilmot either clearly lacks understanding of his mandate and/or is under the undercover maneuvering of his so-called advisors who themselves lack the institutional memory or requisite experience to give any useful advice or are just out to achieve a selfish end.

Siting of Campuses

Section 3 of the act establishing the CKT-UTAS, 2019 (Act, 1000) provides for the establishment of the University in Navrongo with the siting of Campuses anywhere to be DETERMINED by the University Council (emphasis ours). The VC in his letter dated June 23, 2022, with reference: CKT-UTAS/VC/CCL/ALS/DV.4/VOL.1/22/1 stated that, “Per the Statutes of the University, Management can site a campus outside its present location in Navrongo approved by the Governing Council of the University” and after purporting to site a new campus in a place of his choice in satisfaction of the ulterior motive of his aid de camp. As a bait to have a private person’s property for the campus he stated that, “Management of the University recognizes that you are a distinguish native of Navrongo…management intends to name the building after you should it be made available to us.”

In a similar letter authored by the VC on 18th July 2022, seeking to set non-existing records straight by reacting to rumours, he said, “In the letter expressing our desire to acquire a building and remodel it for our use I indicated among other reasons that, per the Statutes of our University, Management can site a campus outside its present location in Navrongo when it is approved by the Governing Council of the University.”

These excepts from the letter of the VC expose a great deal of ignorance on the part of the VC as to the requirements of the laws and statutes of the University, in respect of siting campuses outside the main campus. The simple questions to ask are:

  • Did the University Council determine the siting of a campus outside Navrongo as provided for in section 3 of the CKT-UTAS Act, 2019 (ACT 1000) and Statute 5 section 5(1) of the University Statutes?
  • Who constitute management that can site a campus of the University at any location to be approved by the Governing Council as Prof Wilmot’s understanding of the law has it?
  • Why the inordinate haste to name a building after an individual on a campus that has purportedly been sited by management at the blind side of the members of the University Council?
  • Given the financial, developmental, and academic implications of such a venture, did the VC pass through, and get, the approval of the necessary statutory committees?
  • Did the VC do any stakeholder consultation for suitable structures in Navrongo for the said programmes and found none?

The intendment of the law maker to have Council which is the highest decision-making body to determine the siting of campuses of the university is a noble one that the overly zealous Prof Eric Magnus Wilmot should advert his mind to and stop arrogating to himself and what he copiously referred to us management, power that they do not have. Please respect the laws of the institution and do the needful. This must stop or you would be compelled to stop it.

Communication

A University should have a coordinated system of communication machinery for both internal intercourse between members of the University Community and of cause an external interaction with stakeholders and the general public. Prof Wilmot is seemingly one in all communication machinery for CKT-UTAS, singlehandedly doing this communication mostly via letter writing fraught with high emotions and often addressing faceless people he calls “saboteurs”. Quite despicable is the energy he spends and the volume of the letter he wrote in response to what he calls “rumours” that have come to his attention.

Realizing he is being chased by a shadow of his ineptitude, he starts characterizing members of the university community as saboteurs while the chief saboteur is Prof Wilmot himself and the likes of Prof Ziem who has been Dean for the Medical School for nearly two years, drawing salary from the meagre resources of the University without showing evidence of any work being done, not even developing a curriculum for the school yet they hold the gates to the engagement of qualified staff to support the start of the medical school so tied to their chest that various qualified professionals who offer to be engaged are made to feel uninvited.

Recruitment of staff

The VC and his Aid de Camp for fear of a strong challenge to them and in an attempt to safeguard their own inadequacies have schemed and failed to shortlist qualified staff, senior Lecturers and professors, including a Professor of nursing in the UK or interview. They enthroned one of their own, who does not even have a first degree in Nursing, as Dean of the School of Nursing and in order to hide their conduct from scrutiny, they are hastily seeking to site it elsewhere. If this VC and his Aid de Camp are not veritable metaphors of saboteurs, who else could be these saboteurs that Prof Magnus Wilmot is referring to?

We call for an open, fair, and competitive and meritocratic recruitment system that avails to all qualified Ghanaians equal opportunities of getting appointed to promote the growth of the university.

We can forgive the overaged VC for his lack of appreciation of whom his own words aptly describe as saboteurs, but not their schemes that have left the Main Campus of the University underdeveloped to validate his reason to site a campus elsewhere.

In any case, if broader consultation had been made, he would have effortlessly procured various structures within Navrongo for the smooth take-off of the said programs.

As citizens and not spectators, we call on him, to develop the main campus to give it a befitting university outlook before expanding the University to other places. Manage the little you have now well, and the rest shall surely fall in place for you.

Conclusion

It must be put on record that, the Youth, and good people of Navrongo are not averse to non-natives or strangers. In fact, we have always welcomed and supported strangers. Even from the days of old, our revered paramount Chief, His Royal Highness Navro Pio Awoliba Adda has ingrained in the minds of the people that, “vera mo foge teo” to wit: it is strangers who bring development to a town. The likes of Prof Binka of the Navrongo Health Research Centre, Collins MacDonald of Navasco, Sir Alfred Ndago of St John Bosco among others are non-natives of Navrongo who have left lasting memories in the minds of the people of Navrongo that we approach the conduct of no-natives with open hearts and welcoming warmth. However, the people of Navrongo will NOT countenance any non-native who is NOT interested in the growth and development of our community, and who takes the kind-heartedness of the people for granted. It is refreshing to note that some notable revered traditional leaders: Navro Pio, Paga Pio, Chiana Pio, Kologo Naba and Sandem Naab have made generous overtures to the University indicating their preparedness to make land available for the expansion of the university. Our chiefs have exhibited time without number, when Prof Wilmot took over the reign of leadership of the University, their preparedness to support the VC in the growth of the University.

  • Let [Office2] [Office3] it be known to Prof Wilmot, there abounds in Navrongo and its environs both land and structural resources to leverage on to expand and grow the young University into a centre of excellence if your actions are characterized by broader consultation with key stakeholders and with recourse to the laws and statutes of the University.
  • It is not and has not been our interest to intermeddle in the affairs of the University or public institutions as a whole, but we cannot slumber over happenings that have the propensity to ignite conflict and or grind the institutional machinery of the university to a halt. We remain duty-bound citizens demanding conscientious and law-abiding leadership to propel the growth of CKT-UTAS into an enviable centre of academic excellence.

The University as a factory should attract the needed clients if it sells well in terms of its programmes, state of the University environment, and good administration and management irrespective of where it is located. Please upgrade and beautify the campus; develop and grow CKT-UTAS and you will in turn get the desired results. No record gets set straight by reacting to rumours. Show your results and they will speak louder than words for you.

DEVELOP CKT-UTAS NOW!!!

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