The University of Education, Winneba (UEW) was treated to a celebration of diversity at the investiture and induction of its 4th Vice Chancellor (VC), Very Rev. Fr. Prof. Anthony Afful- Broni. The programme was highly patronized by a fine mixture of people from a cross section of society. There were representations from government, academia, traditional leaders, the clergy, civil society, staff, students (past & present), the media and ordinary citizens from all corners of the country.
Suffice it to note that apart from the President, his ministers and legislators, other important dignitaries present at this grand celebration of diversity were the first Principal of UEW then UCEW Prof. Nathaniel Pecku, 1st VC, Prof Jophus Anamuah-Mensah, the 2nd VC, Prof Akwasi Asabere-Ameyaw and other Council Chairmen and members notably Prof. Richard T. Awuah, the immediate past Council Chair of UEW under President John Mahama’s administration as well as VCs from sister Universities. As Ghanaians, we are a people from diverse background and so naturally you find that the University community is very cosmopolitan.
What has taken place in UEW is more or less a reform of the leadership triggered by the actions of a private individual. Thankfully we have had an authoritative resolution to the matter as provided by the Act 672 which established the University. Why is Okudzeto trying to distort the facts and give the University a bad name? Is it because he feels no association to the University? Why has he and his cohorts resorted to targeting certain individuals rather pay attention to the issues and institutional processes?
One would have thought that if there are some aggrieved persons, they would have resorted to due process. That is the essence of the rule of law. It so happens that the Very Rev Fr. Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni happens to occupy the position of Pro-Vice Chancellor and that, per the rules put him in an acting role in the absence of the VC. Indeed he would go on to excel at that position for which reason the University Council in its wisdom would find him competent not only on this ground but also as a very well qualified, the senior most, experienced, tried and tested candidate for the position of substantive VC.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa unfortunately alludes to the work of Council’s Search Committee with the intention to malign the newly appointed VC and to suggest that since 2015 when Prof. Avoke was appointed, there had been attempts to torpedo him and Dr. Ackorlie. It would serve Ablakwa and those he seeks to defend’s interest to keep the Pandora box perpetually locked. However, it remains absolutely critical to point out certain inconsistencies in his own assertions.
If the Very. Rev. Fr. Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni placed a distant 2nd as he claims, then why did the committee break for one week before deciding on who becomes the new VC. Was it difficult to take this decision if indeed his claim was true? What happened in the intervening period? Did Prof Avoke and his team visit the Flag Staff House led by a son of Effutu for the President to intervene in the decision of the Search Committee? Who visited a prominent politician at Cape Coast at the depth of the night with presents and a plea for him to lead them to the President?
These are opened secrets. Why did the Council Chairman contrary to the practice of Council failed to give copies of the Search Committee’s report to members of Council for their perusal before such a major decision? What at all in the report were they hiding? How did members of Council without the detailed report approved the then VC? Why did they go round after the so-called unanimous approval of Prof. Avoke as VC to persuade the various unions to accept the appointment as it was? Even the announcement was shrouded in secrecy.
One should have been on the various campuses to gauge the mood of staff upon the announcement. He should let his people tell the world how many members of staff had their salaries frozen without any just course? Is Ablakwa inferring that people suddenly began targeting Dr. Ackorlie when Prof Avoke was appointed? For the records, Ackorlie was appointed in 2013 under Prof. Asabere Ameyaw. The questions are endless but that belongs to the past. Let’s make progress.
These people have never focused on the issues but have rather turned the whole thing into personal vendetta and playing on the emotions of members of the unsuspecting public in an attempt to sustain their very bad case. They have played all manner of cards from tribal, to political, to academic, to judicial purely to set tinder on the emotions of people in an attempt to incite them against the management and Council of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW). It is therefore not surprising that Ablakwa has waded into this ubiquitous and baseless tactic deployed by Prof Avoke and collaborators as a life support to cover up their chronic corruption, procurement breaches and graft.
They have told all manner of lies to keep their heads above water. The point is that the University Community is and will always remain cosmopolitan thus; any attempt to try to break the front of the University from this perspective will suffer a still birth. The use of the tribal card is repugnant and quite honestly I shudder talking about it in the manner Ablakwa is inviting us to. It is a well known fact that some issues arose which occasioned the need for facts to be gathered to deal with such. Consequently the Governing Council duly set up a fact finding committee to look into the issues in order to inform Council on its future actions on the issues.
The truth is that some people were found culpable of certain infractions and were accordingly subjected to internal disciplinary processes which culminated into their dismissals. What’s tribal about this? Does Ablakwa want to suggest that crime now has tribal colours and if it’s true why target such a small number? Are all the affected officers from a particular tribal extraction? I want to put on record that the University has a good number of staff from the tribal extraction alluded to by Ablakwa serving in senior teaching and managerial capacities who are discharging their duties with distinction.
The University has no cause to interfere in their work. Ablakwa should come out to prove that those who have replaced the affected officers are from a particular tribal extraction as he alludes. The substance of any informed argument on the UEW issues should be based on the issues rather than ethnic and sentimental grounds. Is it not surprising that Markin who has been openly accused of being the orchestrator of the UEW rumpus traces his origins to the so-called ethnic extraction he seeking to torpedo? Prof Avoke who Ablakwa argues is being victimized for his tribe has some connections to Winneba himself? What a paradox? Ablakwa should not extend his political ignorance and dishonesty into the world of Academia.
Cast in the typical mood of a baby with sharp teeth, Ablakwa at the investiture of Prof. Avoke in November, 2015 spewed ferocious venom of insults, ridiculed and ran down everybody with the exception of his pet officers at the occasion. I am bemused he’s claiming he drew the applauds of the gathering. What he actually earned for himself with his sponsored speech was the disdain of the majority of the people at the ceremony.
I am sure that cast in that mood he cared the less to measure the sentiment of the gathering because he actually came to dare them to try anything contrary to the wishes of he and his collaborators. Ablakwa should come out to tell us the names of the petitioners and all the issues they raised. I dare him to provide evidence if they were any such petitions. How are these petitions, if any connected to the Very Rev Fr Prof Anthony Afful-Broni? If Ablakwa has nothing to offer on the substance of the issues, he should shut up and stay in his political arena.
The University was faced with administrative crisis which needed prompt resolution. Thankfully, Council working within the confines of the law has been able to peacefully resolve the crisis with the appointment of the Very Rev Fr Prof Anthony Afful-Broni who has been widely accepted by staff, students and other stakeholders of the University. Anyone who doubts this should have been at the investiture and induction ceremony to verify for themselves. Better still the doors of the University are open to all for independent verification.
The University has already been making massive progress in the past year or so. For instance, the University is the largest populated University in the country currently. This year alone over 45,000 applications were received. Expansion of infrastructure is receiving unprecedented attention. Staff, Students, the Communities and all stakeholders are happy that life is back to the University and that is, all that matters. In any case, the avenues for redress are not closed on any aggrieved person(s). If they so wish, they should use due process but not tribal and trivial matters to waste our time.
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