... They are a hindrance to nation's educational efforts Majority of students of the University of Ghana, Legon whose views were sought on the first session of parliamentary vetting of ministerial nominees, which ended last Friday, were unequivocal in their contention that nominees who had no educational certificates must not be allowed to become ministers.
For most of the students who spoke to The Chronicle last Saturday, at this stage of the nation's development, with much emphasis on the need for people to invest in the education of their children, it would be most unfortunate and ridiculous to have ministers without educational certificates.
“How can we justify the call for people to educate their children if at the same time we are demonstrating to the entire nation that one could still hold no less a position than a minister of state, in this modern times, without having a certificate?” Michael Obeng, a final year Political Science student, queried.
Another student, Adu Kyeremeh, said, “ In fact, if Jake is allowed to become a minister, how can we convince someone who uses him as an excuse to drop out of school under the pretext that he could also become a minister one day, even if he does not complete school? I think at this stage of our nation, no certificate, no ministerial appointment. ”
Some of the students wondered why the Appointments Committee of Parliament, which vetted the nominees, did not ask them (nominees) to present their CVs together with certificates so as to avoid situations where certain contents of nominees' CVs were doubted.
It would be recalled that during the recent vetting, Mr. Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, minister designate for Tourism and Modernization of the Capital City, confidently told the 26- member Appointments Committee that he did not have even a single certificate.
The minister designate could not, however, explain with clarity why he did not possess a certificate, when asked whether he was a perpetual school dropout or attended schools that never awarded certificates.
The Greater Accra regional minister designate, Sheik I. C. Quaye, could not assure the committee of the existence of certificates to back his educational qualifications contained in the CV he presented.
The Sheik claimed that he could not furnish the committee with his Diploma certificates on Management Studies, as well as that on Journalism, which he pursued through distance learning, because his house was once razed down and he lost the certificates.
George Asibi Awini, a third year student, recalled how the former Deputy Minister for Presidential Affairs, Mocta Bamba, who had to shamefully resign his position after his indiscretionary acts in the Office of the President was exposed, could not produce his certificates to the Appointments Committee during his vetting in 2001, as an example of how messy a minister who could not produce certificates to authenticate his CV could be.
In a related issue, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Bimbilla, Hon. Mohammed Ibn Abass, has also urged the Appointments Committee to withhold the endorsement of the two ministers until investigations had been conducted into the matter.
According to him, the responses the two ministers provided to various questions on allegations, coupled with the information on their Curriculum Vitae (CV), suggested that they might not be telling the whole truth.
“I strongly believe that their answers to various questions need much to be desired, hence there is the need to investigate the matter to prove them wrong or otherwise. In the case of Hon. Jake, his involvement in the Castle renovation saga and his answers must be cross-checked to prove the veracity or the authenticity of the answers provided,” he told this paper in an interview over the weekend.
He continued, “The problem again is that it was an indictment on their part for not telling the whole truth and their integrity raises eyebrows to the effect that we cannot trust them. If investigations are conducted into the credentials they provided and their involvement in various allegations leveled against them proved negative, they can be endorsed but if it proves positive, it means that they have been using borrowing glory for sometime and needs to be rejected.”
Hon. Abass, who contested the Bimbilla seat in 2002 and lost to the NPP candidate, Hon. Dominic Ntiwul, and resurfaced in 2004 to win the seat for the NDC, was however of the view that ministers-designate should not be rejected on the basis of not possessing certificates.
According to him, though certificates were vital, the most pressing need was the nominee's ability to execute the assignment given to him or her.
Speaking on the conduct of Dr. Richard W. Anane, Minister Designate for Roads and Transport, the MP, said, “Dr. Anane is a good material. But my problem was the moral conduct, especially when it affects his official duty to the extent of abusing his office. Again, taking his answers that his ministry picked some of the hotel bills beside the indication that, there was a huge transfer of money to the lady, it suggested that there might be corruption somewhere. I also believe that Dr. Anane's tango was when he was in his official duty which clearly indicated that he abused his office. That was my problem,” he noted.
Hon. Abass, a 40-year old teacher by profession who teaches at Bimbilla Training College, dismissed the perceptions that his party was not a force to reckon with.
According to him, the surprises that the NDC pulled in the just ended elections, despite the conscious efforts by sections of the media to predict the party's demise would be more in the next elections.
When it was suggested to him that his party was on the decline, taking the number of parliamentarians it had in 1992, 1996, 2000 and the current administration and the percentage it got in last year's election as against 2000, the new face in parliament noted that, “if one looks at the absolute figure, then the person might get the accurate figure or the reality. Look, the NDC is not on the decline.”
He argued there were a lot of things that were done against it, “But we proved to them that the NDC is stronger than ever before,” he added.