Delivered By Ishaque Suleman.
Date: Monday, 9th September 2019
Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen of the media. We have invited you here this morning to address pertinent issues affecting the growth of the University for Development Studies, Wa campus. We are very grateful to all of you for coming to cover this news conference.
We have been following with keen interest the Minister of Education’s support for the autonomy of the Wa Campus of the University for Development after H.E., the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa. Akuffo Addo’s announced the split on 10th November, 2018. We equally admire the Minister’s efforts and the subsequent processes the bill had to go through in Parliament till its maturity on 14th August, 2019. All the citizens of the Upper West Region are grateful to you and your team for the relentless support.
We can recount the Minister of Education, Mathew Opoku Prempeh and his Deputy in charge of Tertiary Education’s support in pushing the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education to sit and work on the SD-Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies (SD- Dombo UBIDS) Bill as you promised in December, 2018. The Minister ‘s instrumentality in facilitating the request for memoranda on the bill that was published on 27th February, 2019, the series of meetings the Education Select committee in Parliament held with various stake holders, the 2nd reading of the bill on the 12th July, 2019 in Parliament and laying it to mature within the 21 working days for H.E., the president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo to assent his signature are all memorable occasions that the youth and people of Upper West region would forever remember.
Ladies and gentlemen from the Press, while conveying the tremendous gratitude from the people of the Upper West Region, we wish to still plead for:-
1. Presidential assent to the Bill.
2. Setting-up and appointment of the interim council members as required by the transitional provisions of the Bill when it receives the presidential assent.
The urgency of this request is necessitated by the deliberate and continuously well rehearsed attempts to collapse the Wa Campus of UDS by the UDS Vice Chancellor and Management of central Administration in Tamale.
On behalf of the people of Upper West Region, we crave your indulgence to stop the move by the authorities of UDS to deprive the Wa Campus of the UDS from implementing programmes it has been mandated to execute in the name of realignment of programmes.
Section 3 of PNDC Law 279 (1992) on functions of the University state ‘’ the University shall pursue as its aims under Section 2 emphasize particularly studies in:
a. Agricultural Science
b. Medical and Health Sciences and
c. Integrated Development Studies.
The Integrated Development Studies component of UDS mandate has been ceded to the Wa Campus of the university. However, we take notice that, gradually the programmes of Faculty for Integrated Development Studies (FIDS) in Wa Campus are surreptitiously being moved out of the Wa Campus to Tamale Campus. The proposed realignment of the UDS in particular, instead of strengthening the institution, is tacitly dismembering and mutilating the Wa Campus of the UDS and moving its programmes to Tamale campus without the mandate to run those programmes as stated by the Act.
Our reasons being that:
1. The Department of African and General Studies currently running under the Faculty of Integrated Development Studies on the Wa Campus proposed under the collegiate system to run as a new Faculty of Arts with the following department,
1. Department of communication and Innovation
2. Department of Journalism and Media studies
3. Department of Public relations and Advertising
4. Department of Library and Information Studies
5. Department of Cultural and Heritage Studies
6. Department of Modern Languages
7. Department of Theatre Arts etc.
All these proposed Departments and existing programmes of the Department of African and General Studies in Wa Campus are now subsumed under a new Faculty proposed for Tamale Campus in name of realignment.
2. The creation of yet another New Faculty last week and the subsequent appointment of a foundation Dean (Dr. Edward Salifu Mahama) called Faculty of Communication Sciences and Cultural Studies is part of the court injunction placed in May 2018. Its creation was noted at an Academic Board as a duplication of FIDS programmes. FIDS through the Department of African and General studies pioneered Communications Programmes in UDS.
3. Again, per our checks a similar thing happened with the creation of the Faculty of Agribusiness and Information Sciences. According to the Laws of the University Management needed to have presented it to the Academic Board for approval but they dodged the Academic Board and unilaterally forcefully created it.
4. As the saying goes that we should be citizens and not spectators, some Landlords and concerned sons and daughters of the Upper West Region took the matter to court in May, 2018. Even though the case is in court and the University Council also refused to respond to the Petition FIDS wrote on the creation of the new Faculty. They want to illegally take advantage of the Transitional Period to frustrate and collapse the Wa Campus.
5. This year’s admission of new students to Wa campus is miserable. Many students who qualified and applied for programmes in Wa (BEd Social Sciences and BEd Business, Development Communication etc) were refused deliberately and given BA Development Education and Social Change Communication in Tamale and Nyankpala respectively.
6. As at now, the UDS Wa Campus Hospital that use to be an icon within the region and served many citizens has been brought to its knees through a deliberate and systemic rehearsed plan. Just last week the Outgoing Principal (Prof. Amin Alhassan) Who was appointed Director general of Ghana Broadcasting Cooperation (GBC) and scheduled to move to his new appointment sacked all the nineteen (19) workers who were working in the hospital.
We request that, the Minister of Education Hon. Mathew Opoku Prempeh commission an investigation into these matters and to unravel the under dealings and revelations.
We believe it is a ploy to weaken the academic capacity of the Wa Campus to make it difficult for it to run smoothly when it is given the autonomy whilst giving other campuses the advantage.
Our plea therefore is that, all Campuses should be allowed to develop faculties and programmes in which they have absolute and comparative advantage to start with and build capacities in other areas going forward.
We are alarmed and outraged by the sinister, calculated and deliberate plans to see the collapse of the Wa campus by the Vice Chancellor and Management of the University.
We can recall that the proposal for autonomy for the Wa Campus submitted initially by the Regional House of Chiefs dated 13th March, 2013 was hinged on two strengths of the Wa Campus; That is, students enrolments and the number of faculties and programmes.
Therefore, we sense a deliberate attempt the Vice Chancellor and University management to weaken these strengths of the Wa campus by reducing student numbers and moving faculties and programme away from the Wa Campus.
For instance, as at 2013, the students’ population of Wa Campus was over 12,000 but currently the students’ population is less than 7,000 representing a reduction of almost 50% and the recent realignment exercise comes to confirm the plan by the Vice Chancellor and university management to weaken the stand of the people of the region especially the chiefs in requesting for autonomy of the Wa Campus Bill that H.E., the president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo is about to assent.
Hon. Minister, we therefore wish to appeal to you to have the Wa Campus of the University autonomy bill assented as promised the people of the region to enhance the development of the region before the Vice Chancellor and his Management take further steps to weaken the existing capacities of the Wa Campus.
We will not give up the fight but will resist this oppressors rule with all our might and proceed boldly against the UDS Authorities autocratic rule by;
1. Organizing demonstrations frequently and pouring onto the streets within the next two (2) weeks from now until the UDS authorities listen
2. Locking up lecture halls and offices in the Wa campus
3. Fight these issues in court.
We want to take this opportunity to thank the Regional House of Chiefs for their show of leadership in this struggle. Our chiefs have been the lonely and untiring voice on this matter. It will be fair to commend the efforts of our two Council of State members and some two (2) Members of Parliament for their support.
Our gratitude also goes to the Landlords and elders who instituted the court case on this matter in Tamale.
To our other political and religious leaders in the Upper West Region, don’t wait to become mediators, speak NOW!
To the UDS authorities, we say “pacta sunt servanda”. The agreement made under PNDC law 279 (1992) where social science programmes were ceded to the Wa campus, must be kept.
We want independence for SD-Dombo UBIDS now.
Thanks for your time
God bless us all
Long live the UBIDS dream
Long live- Upper Region
Long live Ghana