Attempted to have national security cover for award cancellation without success On a sweltering afternoon almost a fortnight ago, a well dressed man, whose moments of ignominy was soon to catch the attention of Ghanaians, walked into the National Security Secretariat near the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium, Accra. Mr. Daniel Charles Gyimah, boss of the National Investment Bank (NIB) and Chairman of the Council of the University of Development Studies (UDS), then demanded to see National Security Advisor/Coordinator, Mr. Francis Poku, with a request. Unfortunately, the Security Advisor was out, so he was ushered in to see two top officers of the Secretariat (names withheld). At that meeting, sources say he informed the officials that he wanted national security cover for his intended cancellation of the award ceremony to bestow a doctorate on former President Jerry John Rawlings. His reasons were that there were security threats to the event. His evidence: Same claim he was to make later that 472 students have petitioned him over the award ceremony and that some officials of the university were up in arms against the event. Nice story, he was told. But sources say he was also told that there was no intelligence to support his claim, and none to suggest that the event would pose a security threat at the national, regional or district security level. No security cover could be granted, he was told. With his visit recorded, he left with a promise to come back to see the Security Advisor. Hours later and sitting in his office at the NIB headquarters, Accra, Mr Gyimah issued a directive on the bank's letterhead, reference No MD/F/BD.5) to Prof. John Kaburise, Vice Chancellor of the UDS (read). “Please you are requested to cancel the upcoming Special Convocation scheduled for Saturday, March 19, 2005. This is because of national security considerations which l have been made aware of.
“Further, it is being suggested that you avoid being taken on by the electronic and print media…,” he wrote. Now, evidence emerging suggests that Gyimah, a card carrying member of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and brother of Ms Cecilia Johnson, General Secretary of the 31st December Women's Movement (DWM) might have done what he did to placate the leadership of his party and to warm his way further deep into the heart of hawks within the ruling party. Unfortunately, deep throat party sources have suggested that Gyimah may have failed to take into consideration the thinking of the leadership of the party, as well as public opinion on his scandalous attempt to scuttle the ceremony and doctorate award to Rawlings. With public opinion against the cancellation of the convocation, and with national security officials distancing themselves from the act, the Chairman of the UDS council emerged after a five-day hiatus to explain that he cancelled the ceremony mainly because of a petition he received from 472 students protesting against the citation to accompany the award to Rawlings. He also indicated that that he ordered the cancellation on his own assessment of security, which he translated into the nation's security. But Mr Gyimah's explanation has not gone down well with students of the university, who have suggested in various radio interviews that their chairman is telling a tall tale. In a statement issued Friday and signed by the SRC Secretary, Mr Salifu Shiraz and NUGS Secretary, Mr Gawu Ebenezer Mensah, officials of the Student Representative Council of UDS expressed shock and dismay at their Council Chairman's assertion that almost 472 members of the student body petitioned him over their misgivings against the convocation to honour the former president. UDS Nyanpkala Campus NUGS secretary, Anyiam Aloysius and SRC Secretary, Kansaki K. Joseph were heard on radio over the weekend indicating their suspicion over the accuracy of Gyimah's claims. The respective leaders of the NPP and NDC tertiary education units, TESCON president Mr Samuel Frimpong and TEIN president Agbele Abdul-Wahab have both also expressed disbelief at the claims of the UDS Council Chairman. Interestingly, both men, as well as a number of students interviewed by some radio stations in Accra indicated that they had never met, seen or written to the UDS Council Chairman. Their denial came after the National Security Co-ordinator and regional security head and Minister of the Northern Region, Aljhaji Boniface Abubakar Saddique, said there were no security concerns over the event. Credible but unconfirmed reports suggest that he was labelled a 'buffoon' by the usually reticent, cool mannered Security Advisor, who was up in arms over the fact the NIB MD wanted to create a mess for him to manage. Vice President Aliu, who was also accused by both the former president and his aide, Mr Victor Smith of being the mastermind of the cancellation, also went public with an interview last week in which he denied any link to the cancellation of the award ceremony. He also denied ever meeting the Chairman of the Council of the UDS on the day he was alleged to have, by both former President Rawlings and his Special Aide. Meantime the authorities of the UDS and the student body intend to hold a news conference on the issue today. Meantime, Mr Smith's deadline to the Vice President to come clean on the issue or be exposed as the mastermind of the cancellation expires today. Observers would be looking forward to the revelation, which he insists connects the Vice President to the cancellation. He gave the deadline on JOY FM Friday, when he insisted that the Chairman of the University Council on orders from the Vice President wrote to the Vice-Chancellor of the University to put the award ceremony on ice for security reasons. “I want the Vice President to swear on the Quran and tell Ghanaians that he did not make a phone call to some prominent person of the university advising him to cancel the event. He put in a phone call; I put it to him that he called a highly placed person to cancel the event. I want to give him time actually tell the truth, the truth has to be told, there is no good reason for what happened because what the chairman is saying now is untenable” he said