UDS STUDENTS BOIL UP ... say Gyimah should tell story to the marines ... dare him to name 472 petitioners
Chronicle -- THE controversy that has surrounded the honorary doctorate degree to be conferred on the former President, Jerry John Rawlings, by the University for Development Studies (UDS), is refusing to die.
Like the ghost of Banquo in Shakespeare's Macbeth, it is refusing to vanish into thin air.
According to the students, the University Council Chairman's assertion that 472 students have petitioned him, was clearly a figment of his imagination and that his story should be told to the marines.
Mr. Joseph Kamsaki, secretary of the Students Representative Council (SRC), in a telephone interview with The Chronicle last Friday, said it would be better for the chairman, Mr. Daniel Charles Gyimah, to honorably resign from his position, adding that the reasons he asserted as underlying the cancellation of the award have angered the students.
The secretary, who indicated that they would be holding a press conference today, to demand the authenticity of the 'so-called 472 petitioners', observed that the chairman was economical with the truth, stressing that Mr. Gyimah should resign honorably because he does not deserve that position any longer.
“If we found out that he has impersonated us, we shall not hesitate to call for his removal. We shall seek advice also on what to do next, because his action has peeved the students. We shall therefore call on him to provide evidence to substantiate his claim. In other words, he is impersonating us,” he charged.
He continued, “We have no hand in the cancellation of the ceremony. It is therefore ironical for the chairman to associate the students with the cancellation,” he declared.
This remark came in the wake of Mr. Gyimah's justification on the special congress to award the former president with a doctorate degree for his role in establishing the school.
Mr. Kamsaki observed that even if there was a problem with the citation, which described the former president as a staunch believer in equity and justice, the suggestion should be brought for consideration.
When asked about the position of the lecturers of UDS on the present developments, he said he received unconfirmed information that the lecturers who were dissatisfied with the chairman's latest move, would soon issue a statement to state their stand.
On the situation on the campus, he said, “The place is boiling serious!”
Mr. Gyimah, an NPP stalwart, last week caused a stir in the country when he cancelled the honourary degree award ceremony and eventually went into hiding.
He resurfaced and cited in a Joy FM interview, pressures from some lecturers and a petition from students as underlying his decision to cancel the event.
Speaking on Joy F.M, Mr. Gyimah said the cancellation came as a result of a petition signed by about five hundred students contending the citation on the award to be given to the former president, after he had had two meetings with the members of the Council.
“Some lecturers of the university came to see me in my hotel, and expressed misgivings about the entire ceremony. My whole idea was to dismiss it as useless assertions that I was not going to follow. However after the congregation on the 12th, another group of lecturers came to see me. This time, I engaged them in discussion for more than an hour and they did explain the reason why the function should not come on. After they left, later on in the night, another group came to see me, this time in the presence of Prof. Joe Boakye, one of the Council members, and we discussed with them at length, and they said if the function should come on at all, it should not be on campus or should not be in Tamale or Nyankpala, for that matter.
According to Mr. Gyimah, on Friday, March 11th, he had received a petition from 472 students protesting against the citation, which was to accompany the award, indicating that it was wrong.
Meanwhile, the former president last Wednesday told the people in the Volta Region that he treasured this award very much, adding that the current award has actually exposed the truth that most people are afraid to talk about.
He said it took the boldness and courage of the authorities of the UDS to observe what people fail to say, that he (Rawlings) stands for justice and equity.
Addressing a large crowd of supporters of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and members of the 31st December Women's Movement (31st DWM) last Wednesday at Klikor and Agbozume in the Volta region, the former President said, “I treasure this particular award from the UDS, because it has exposed the whole truth to the world, the truth that nobody knows. The truth that people are afraid to talk about,” adding that, “Even though, I have received various international awards I treasure this particular one,”
The former president, who was in the Volta region, accompanying his wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, who is also the president of the 31st DWM, to commission two Early Childhood Day Care Centres, said it was unfortunate that the Special convocation was cancelled.
Our Upper West Correspondent, Clement Boateng reports that a group of students calling itself 'Direct Beneficiaries of Rawlings Contributions (DBRC)' of the Wa campus of the University for Development Studies (UDS), has called on the university authorities to reconsider their decision to postpone indefinitely the date to confer a honorary doctorate degree on the former President Jerry John Rawlings.
This was contained in a statement issued and signed by a spokesperson of the group, Bismark Adongo Ayorogo.
The group discarded the suggestions by a section of the media and the public that the venue of the ceremony be changed to UDS campuses other than Nyankpala campus because of security reasons.
It was of the view that Nyankpala is the main campus and it was only fair that an august event like that would take place there since according to the group, it would not in any way disturb the prevailing peace.
“The foundation stone of UDS was laid by the former president in Tamale, the capital campus of UDS campuses, therefore there is no other campus that is more appropriate than a campus in Tamale,” the group noted.
The students stated that to mention Rawlings and peace is tautology “because he is peace and peace is Rawlings.”
They therefore appealed to the authorities to as matter of urgency arrange for the award ceremony to come off at the Nyankpala campus.
The dream of setting up a university in Northern Ghana over three decades, according to them, came into fruition through his initiative and that it was appropriate for the ex-president to be recognized as such.
The statement added that as if the establishment of the university alone was not enough, the former president went further to donate a hunger award of $50,000 he won to the university, which was used to purchase books to stock its libraries.
They mentioned that the UDS has produced well-grilled graduates who are scattered across the country working in various sectors of the economy, all to enhance the development of the nation.
These positive achievements made by the university, they said, are attributable to its founding fathers, like the former president.
The statement described as unfortunate an attempt by some dignitaries and a section of the public to watch the issue with political lens.
The students expressed profound gratitude to the university's authorities on their decision to honour the former president and urged them to resist external manipulations.