The Chairman of the University Council of the University for Development Studies (UDS), in Tamale, Mr. Daniel Charles Gyimah, has finally broken his silence over the circumstances that led to the cancellation of the award ceremony to confer a honourary doctorate degree, on Former President Rawlings.
In an exclusive interview with JOY News Mr. Gyimah, said he called off the ceremony because of petitions he received from faulty lecturers, as well as 472 students, protesting against the citation of the award as well as the security implications of the ceremony.
He indicated that, besides the protests from sections of the students and the teaching staff, the political environment was not conducive for the holding of the function, because of the seeming political tension and polarization of politics in tamale, adding that, the District Security Committee also advised against the event, because of the obvious security concerns.
He noted in February this year, when the university held it congregation, a number of lecturers led by Prof. Gyan Boakye, approached him after the congregation to explain to him why they thought the ceremony should not come on or even, if it was to come on, then the venue had to be changed from Nyankpala.
“I received several calls asking that the function should not come on, because of the situation in Tamale”, he explained, adding that, he felt that postponement or cancellation would be okay, after assessing the situation himself.
He pointed out that he was not opposed to the award being conferred on Mr. Rawlings and promised that the former president will receive the award at all cost. He added that the decision to award the former president was a collective decision by the university council.
Mr. Gyimah was emphatic that the security concerns about the ceremony was arrived at by his own judgement certain documents.
He emphasized that neither the National Security Council nor the Northern Regional Security Council was involved in the decision.
According to him he is currently reviewing the situation, and at the appropriate time, Mr. Rawlings would be made to receive his award.
“At the appropriate time and venue, the degree will be conferred on Mr. Rawlings”, he said.
He hinted that he would soon present his findings and all information he has, to the district security committee for it to advise him on whether to hold it now, or postpone it for some other time.