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17.09.2013 Commentary

The State Of National Union Of Ghana Students (nugs)

By George Sarpong
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\By an ordinary Student The National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) was formed with the Vision of championing the interest of Ghanaian Students; among these were the institution of the Ghana Education Trust Fund(GET Fund) which the Leadership of our Union then played a key role. The NUGS then, is not the NUGS we see today. NUGS no longer bites and even barking has become a problem because of the polarization of our front. I sometimes wonder if our corporate interest as Students should be subject to the whims and caprices of self-seeking leaders of today, who are best at proclaiming selflessness whenever they mount a platform.

It all started in Wa at the 44th annual Delegates Congress 2010 of the National Union of Ghana Students that was organised by the Wonder Madilo led Administration of our dear Union. The Wa NUGS Congress was characterized by a lot of Confusion, Controversies amidst political heat. The presence of the Police and the arrest of an Executive officer raised a lot of suspicion and for the rumours; I need not talk about them.The election was keenly contested since it is the highest one can think of with regards to the Student's leadership front of our Nation. There were several Aspirants for the Presidency but the names Abotsi Afriyie Anthony and Hamza Suhuyini stood tall. As a first year student and a novice in this trade, I could barely cope with the level of politicking I was exposed to. The stakes were high, to the extent that Vice President and other ranking members of SRC KNUST were denied their voting rights just to safeguard an interest.

I do not know exactly how to describe the living conditions at the Wa Congress but I sure remember being served tuo-zaafi at about 11:30pm on the first day of Congress.There were rumours of candidates getting their funding from certain party Headquarters and the two big fishes, Abotsi and Hamza were said to have been connected to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) respectively. I was taken aback when the last Central Committee meeting turned into chaos and one Student resorted to throwing of chairs which was quite pathetic if you ask me. In the end, Abotsi Afriyie Anthony was elected President and Patrick Adonoo being Secretary of the National Union of Ghana Students.

The internal wrangling was still alive even after the election. One thing led to the other and Abotsi was impeached at an Emergency Congress held in Accra. Patrick Adonoo then became the leader of our Union until another emergency congress elected Hamza Suhuyini as the leader of NUGS. The numerous constitutional blunders and the conspiracies were a complete recipe for anarchy. This ensured the sharp division of the front of our Union and a lot of people are of the opinion that all these activities were politically motivated and I must confess that I share that view too. The law suits followed and NUGS kept losing her credibility with the passing of day. The two factions of the National Union of Ghana Students, the Abotsi faction and the Hamza faction could not do much to harness the welfare and protect the interest of the ordinary Ghanaian Student and this was largely attributed to the division of our Union and the much talked about ''political infiltration''.

In 2011, it was time to pass on the Mandate of leadership to a new set of leaders but the question most Students across the length and breadth of our Nation asked was, what is the real NUGS(our official representation)? I kept wondering where we were heading as a Union with this kind of division.

The Hamza Suhuyini led NUGS held their congress in Ho and this Congress had some big names. The likes of Rauf Adam, Stephen Adingo, Osman Ayariga, Sammy Obeng and others competed for Presidency. Osman Ayariga was elected President and Tafhim Gbonta his Secretary.

The Abotsi led NUGS on the other hand held their congress in Accra and Peter Kodjie was elected President and Courage Nobi his Secretary.

The brouhaha went on for another year until the leaders of the two factions decided to join forces for a Unity congress in the spirit of making up for the patches and strengthening our front. The first step was a joint Central Committee meeting (CC) that was held at Garden City University College, Kumasi. The CC was not all smooth but I must say that it was successful. Next was the infamous Unity Congress that was held on KNUST soil in Kumasi. The conspiracies as usual remained present even though the leadership of the two factions sought to promote an impartial election that would help rebuild our Union, but in their closets, they knew the agenda they were pushing. There were a lot of constitutional breaches during the period but not much was said in the name of Unity, something most of us had been yearning for

On the day of voting, the voter register was not displayed at least six(6) hours before the start of the voting process as stipulated in the NUGS constitution coupled with other issues of concern led to several agitations at the 2012 annual Delegates ''Unity'' Congress. Shockingly, the Unity Congress was all about disunity, individualism, violence and our leaders putting their parochial interest ahead of the Students interest. It was even alleged that a National Executive Officer had his car filled with cutlasses on the Election Day, this was absolutely preposterous and it took the intervention of the Police to save him from the crowd that was boiling with fury. If these same people are going to lead our Motherland in the near future, I think it's time we wept for Kwame Nkrumah's Ghana. I sometimes wonder if NUGS hasn't lost its essence of existence

For how long shall we continue to sell our birth right??? It's a pity that Students of today have no sense of remorse selling their conscience for some few coins. After roaming and touring the various tertiary institutions in the country to bring to the fore of Students your Vision for office,it is sad that what interest most delegates at Congress on the contrary is the purchasing power of aspirants and not what they have to offer as potential leaders for our Union. It happened in Wa, Ho, Kumasi and even the emergency Congress that was held in Accra on 8th September 2012 was no different. One's ability to make the cash flow and play the right political party card is the surest way one can secure a place in the leadership of our dear Union.

In all these, my guiding principle has been my father's favourite lines, 'the good that men do, live after them''

We are the CHANGE we seek!!! Aluta Continua, Victoria Ascerta . GEORGE SARPONG KNUST

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