PRESS CONFERENCE ADDRESSED BY THE SRC VICE PRESIDENT-NII ADOKWEI CODJOE AT THE SRC UNION BUILDING ON THE 22ND OF APRIL,2008 AT EXACTLY 9.30AM
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, colleague students, ladies and gentlemen, kindly accept my appreciations for honouring this invitation at a relatively short notice. This signifies your interest in the problems of the University of Ghana Students Representative Council (SRC) and a commitment to be part of the solution.
The Students' Representative Council of the University of Ghana has been infiltrated by the ruling New Patriotic Party. The SRC President in concert with the University management is continually handing down to students inhuman policies. Reckless and unbridled looting of student funds, total lack of transparency, abuse of office for personal gratification, disregard for the SRC constitution, total neglect of due process in the running of the SRC and the commercialization of the student leadership at the expense of core duties by the Executive officers is the purpose of today's press briefing. I have accepted to use this medium to raise awareness of these issues and a subsequent solution found thereof with much hesitation and pain. But to the extent that all internal means of arbitration has broken down, owing to the arrogance of the SRC President and her total lack of commitment to be part of any process that further the interest of students, then the bull must be taken by the horn.
The SRC of the University of Ghana is dead on campus. Indeed, to the rank and file, it is the worse ever in history and am very sad for the students whose mandate we have grossly abused. Policies which are inimical to their interest have received our endorsement and their views have never been respected on matters that affect them. However, the failure of this administration is largely due to the successful infiltration of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in every facet of student governance. The example of my partnership with Ms Louise Carol (SRC President) during our election may be useful.
I have come to the known that the ruling government, the NPP administration has spent or rather invested over ¢100,000,000 (one hundred million cedis) in our campaign aside monies that were used to bribe our way and rigged for our eventual victory. The SRC leadership has not only continually justified this investment by using its influence coupled with the help of party agents on campus to affect smaller elections such as nominations to the General Assembly but has also maintained complete silence on legitimate concerns of students and policies that are unfavorable to government. No wonder the widely known fact the General Assembly of the SRC has not been able to take a single, concrete, resolution or a student based decision amidst several seething student concerns and problems. This is because of its present composition of strong political party presence, which ultimately makes it subservient to external interest. The effectiveness of this once noble institution is thus ridiculed. As Vice-President of the SRC, I can say on authority that there is no single office, committee, commission, council, or board of strategic importance to the SRC that has not been crippled by infestation of political party interference and infiltration.
In this light, the investment of the NPP in our campaign has paid off. Under this SRC President's tenure, she has consistently collaborated with University administration in pursing policies inimical to students' interest. Not only has she failed to support students in their quest to advocate for their rights but she has consistently acted to frustrate those student initiations. The introduction of IN-OUT-OUT-IN Residential policy was bad enough but it was worse when students were beaten in their thousands when they protested against it and our President disassociated herself from it. The 74% upward adjustment of academic facility user fees last year and the current proposed 24% and 20% increment in Residential Facility and Academic Facility User Fees respectively has gone on with her endorsement. Student have been compel to pay what has become known as predictive breakages fee even after fully paying their residential facility user fees (200,000.00cedis) yet the SRC is silent. 1Ghana cedi was taken if not extorted from as many students as were interested in Jubilee hostel yet they were neither allowed to ballot for the rooms nor were their monies returned to them.
The recent external audit (Visitation Panel) report of the University is very reveling. The corruption in the finance office and the need to fire the finance officer, the irrelevance of our programmers' of study, non-proportionate in student lecturer ratio, the total run down in facilities for academic work and the hazardous nature of our halls of residence are but a few concerns in the said report. However, every attempt to organize a mass student discussion on the report has not been pursued by our leader though a white paper is in the often.
By this tactics, the University administration and government have also lived up to their side of the bargain, such that, Ms Louise Carol has succeeded in being the most travelled SRC President to date. Her travels are for reasons best known to her and least known to even myself the Vice President. The why, the who, the how and the when of such trips are still a mystery. But one thing is certain: they had nothing to do with students' interest; yet they are mostly entered in the name of students' welfare. The USA, INDIA, UGANDA, SOUTH AFRICA as well as those across the country. Contrary to constitutional dictates, we are yet to receive any report of any trip and its associated relevance to students and I can be sure that we will never have it as such reports do not exist.
Financial transparency is not a practice of the SRC. The marginalization of the Finance Committee Chairman to enable the SRC President and the Treasurer become sole signatories to the students' accounts can amount to fraud of a kind. The abysmal flop and the disgrace which characterized the SRC Week celebration have everything to do with corrupt practices that sought to put square pegs in round holes and the maximization of profit for individual benefits. The circumstances surrounding the Miss Intellect show and the likes would be given further emphases when the audit report is out. The over 100 million cedis spent within the first three months in office have very little to show for.
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, in trying to effect changes, and in trying to question the status quo, I have arrived at a brick wall and earned an unenviable title of an outcast in this administration. There have been occasions where clandestine executive meetings have been held without my knowledge whatsoever. There have been occasions where I did not know the whereabouts of the SRC President until she is on board a flight.
This is a particularly reflective moment for me because when I proposed the campaign message last year during our elections which was also accepted by Carol, I believe we had big dreams. The Rescue Mission implied an urgent sense of duty; however as I speak, I must say regrettably that we have rescued nothing; because before we can rescue anything we must first rescue ourselves. We must rescue ourselves from that poor leadership mentality that seeks the self rather than service and that sacrifices shamelessly our collective interest for personal convenience.
As a commitment to making sure the right things are done from hence, I wish to declare that the appointment of the SRC ELECTORAL COMMISSIONER DID NOT FOLLOW DUE PROCESS AND THEREFORE CAN BE THE BASIS FOR CONFLICT AND MASSIVE ELECTORAL IRREGULARITIES. I WILL immediately petition the court for the right things to be done.
Full accounts of the SRC including all contractual agreements should be rendered as constitutionally required.
THE STUDENT MOVEMENT HAS SUFFERED. AND WE HAVE BEEN OUR OWN ENEMIES. THE ISSUES ARE NOT PERSONAL. IT IS MY REQUEST THAT THE SRC PRESIDENT AND HER COLLEAGUES WILL HEED REASON AND HONORABLY APOLOGIZES TO THE STUDENT BODY AND TAKE STEPS TO REDEEM THE LOST IMAGE OF SRC. HOWEVER I CAN ASSURE THEM THAT IF THEY FAIL ON THIS LENIENT MEANS, THE WORSE IS YET TO COME AND I WILL PERSONALLY LEAD A CAMPAIGN TO THROW US OUT.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION.
NII ADOKWEI CODJOE
SRC VICE PRESIDENT-