The President of the National Association of Graduate Students, Kwame Alorvi, at the weekend expressed regret at the current politicization of the National Union of Ghana Students, describing the situation as unhealthy for the natiion's socio-economic and political development.
He observed that the infiltration of political parties into the core leadership of NUGS had negatively affected the Union's relevance in the nation's current development effort.
According to Mr Alorvi, the Union has lost its independent identity, consistency in policy "as well as its bite” because it has allowed itself to be remote-controlled and manipulated by the major political parties in the country.
“A National Union of Ghana Students which sees national issues through a blurred political spectacle cannot be taken serious by its own affiliates or members, much more by other citizens of Ghana,” he bemoaned.
The NAGRAT President was speaking during the launch of an emergency Congress held by the Union at the University of Cape Coast at the weekend. The theme for the Congress was, Transforming NUGS to Contribute Better to National Development.
He challenged the students to re-position NUGS to resume its role as an independent pressure group championing the cause of the down-trodden and articulating the views which are national in character.
Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, Member of Parliament for New Juaben North, who gave the keynote address, urged the students to put their political tendencies aside and pursue a common agenda that serve the interest of the Ghanaian student and the nation at large.
He noted that for the Union to regain its relevance there was the urgent need for its rank and file to remain united and speak with a common voice, instead of the current situation where the creation of factions has become the order of the day in the Union.
The former NPP presidential aspirant, who was the General Secretary of NUGS in 1963, sent the students down the memory lane as to the vibrancy of the Union in the era of authoritarianism in the country.
“In those days we worked in the interest of the nation, there was no division even though we were from different political backgrounds. There was nothing like CPP or UP even though we stood up against Nkrumah's one party state concept," he recounted.
Mr Owusu-Agyemang challenged the students to make useful input into the nation's political and development agenda "since you are highly regarded as major partners in development."
He also urged them to see the collective interest of the nation as supreme and refrain from all negative tendencies that have the potential to draw the nation's clock of development backwards.
Stephen Asamoah-Boateng, Minister for Tourism and Diasporan Relations, urged the students to be inbued with a high sense of patriotism and nationalism and refrain from the pursuit of personal aggrandizement.
Describing NUGS as a major think tank in the nation's political and socio-economic development, Mr Asamoah Boateng challenged the students to take keen interest in the development agenda of the nation, adding "you need to monitor how the resources of the nation are being utilised by those at the helm of affairs."
The Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee of Education, Balaadu Manu, appealed to the students to employ dialogue in seeking redress to theie grievances, adding that the days when confrontation was the major tool of receiving attention is now over.
The Dean of Graduate Studies at the University of Cape Coast, Naana Opoku Agyeman, who chaired the event, urged the students to make concrete contribution to the nation's development effort, adding "the physical presence of NUGS must be felt on our University campuses."