The ruling New Patriotic Party in the Upper West Region has given a firm assurance to citizens of the region and students of the Wa Campus of the University for Development Studies (UDS) that government and President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo are committed to upgrading the Wa Campus of the University to an autonomous University.
The party which organized a press conference on the matter yesterday November 9, 2018 to address issues emanating from the decision of the authorities of the university to remove some courses from the Wa Campus to the Tamale campus, assured that the president will ensure that in less than two years, the appropriate legislative instruments will be put in place to make the Wa Campus autonomous.
The press conference which was addressed by the Assistant Regional Secretary of the party, Speratus Ongoh said ‘’Ladies and Gentlemen, in his last visit to the Region, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo, a visionary leader, a father and a man who has the Region at heart reassured the Chiefs and people of the Upper West Region of his resolve to upgrade the UDS Wa campus to an autonomous University status. According to him the UDS Wa Campus is the brain child of the NPP and so it is only appropriate that they be given an autonomous status. This commitment of the President to make the campus autonomous has found expression in the work done by the various institutions to give effect to this commitment’’.
Below is the full statement read at the press conference yesterday.
PRESS BRIEFING BY NPP, UPPER WEST REGION ON THE FUTURE OF UDS, WACAMPUS AND THE COMMITMENT OF THE NPP GOVERNMENT TO IMPROVEAND UPGRADE IT TO AUTONOMOUS STATUS.
Good afternoon, respected Ladies and Gentlemen of the press. We have invited you here this afternoon to brief you on some critical happenings in the University for Development Studies that have over the past eight years eroded the efforts and growth of the UDS particularly the Wa Campus.
We would like to begin by extending our heartfelt gratitude to His Excellency former President Agyekum Kuffuor for taking a bold step amidst resistance and opposition to give the people of Upper West a UDS campus located at the capital Wa. We must acknowledge the tireless efforts made by Hon. Shahnun Mogtari in establishing the Wa Campus of the University.
We wish to state that, at the time UDS was established, they had to start the campus from the premises of the Regional Coordinating Council located at Wa-Sombo. With commitment and determination to make the UDS campus a center of academic excellence, a site was acquired at Bamahu, where Lecture theatres, Hostels, Administration Block and other infrastructure were put up. This giant step was accompanied by an increase in the population of students and lecturers.Within a short time a number of programmes were mounted and these further attracted many students. Soon enough the Wa Campus of the University had grown to be a center of excellence,churning out competent graduates who compete favourably with graduates of other Universities in the world.
It is refreshing to note that before the Kuffuor administration brought this great institution to the people of Upper West, there were some notable elements within the NDC including former
Regional Ministers of the NDC regime who thought it was impossible to have a campus in the Upper West Region. They therefore refused to take any step towards bringing a campus to Wa.
The introduction of the UDS Wa Campus by Kuffuor impacted positively on the economic,social and political growth of the Region. Individuals invested into Hostels, market women hadgreat patronage, trotro drivers and taxi drivers were in business and other sectors of the economy flourished. Over the years the NDC have gradually supervised the reduction in the student population, there by shrinking the economy and other advantages that came with high numbers. From over 12, 000 in 2012, the campus now has a population of less than 7000 representing about 50% reduction in student population.
Not surprising, when NPP lost power in 2008, events at the Wa Campus of the University began to take a rather negative turn. It is sad to note that the UDS Wa Campus under President JohnDramani Mahama saw no single infrastructure erected on the campus. It is also embarrassing to state that, John Dramani Mahama who is our next door neighbor cannot point to a single project he personally initiated and executed .The only project that was initiated was the Library block by President Mills which could not be completed since his demise. Unfortunately the GUSS Hostel that was meant for the Wa Campus was relocated to Tamale Campus under the watchful eye of President John Dramani and the NDC. Interestingly the only massive project situated at the edge of the UDS campus is a massive hostel put up by one of the NDC big-wigs. This further indicates that the NDC Government deliberately refused to provide accommodation for students in order to compel students to use such structures put up by their big-wigs.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, under the Mahama administration there was a deliberate and diabolical move to run down the UDS Wa Campus. They began to operationalise this grand design by beginning a policy called realignment. You are all aware that the UDS campus in line with their area of study developed various development and social Science related programmes. Apart from the Integrated Development Studies, Planning and some Diploma programmes, the Education programme and Law and Development programmes were mounted. Some where in 2013, under President John Mahama, he began to supervise the movement of programmes toTamale. Over 8 educational programmes developed by the lecturers of the Wa campus were moved to Tamale under the watchful eye of the NDC government in 2012. This action attracted the indignation and displeasure of both students and lecturers.
Ladies and Gentlemen, in his last visit to the Region, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo, a visionary leader, a father and a man who has the Region at heart reassured the Chiefs and people of the Upper West Region of his resolve to upgrade the UDS Wa campus to an autonomous University status. According to him the UDS Wa Campus is the brain child of the NPP and so it is only appropriate that they be given an autonomous status. This commitment of the President to make the campus autonomous has found expression in the work done by the various institutions to give effect to this commitment.
Over the past few months, the Vice Chancellor and the management of the University have attempted in the name of realigment to relocate faculties, departments and programmes from the Wa Campus to Tamale and Navrongo Campuses. It is our believe that this action was to frustrate the autonomy of the Wa Campus. This action was resisted by the Chiefs and People of the Upper West Region. A lot of petitions were sent to the UDS administration but they remained adamant.This left the people with no other choice than to place an injunction on the intended realignment.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we again witnessed a demonstration by students and some concerned citizens of the Upper West Region protesting the realignment policy and the decision of the Central administration to hold the 19th congregation of UDS Wa Campus in Tamale. They also called for autonomy of the Wa Campus.
At this point we wish to acknowledge the efforts put in by the Regional House of Chiefs, Majority Caucus in Parliament, Regional Chairman (S. B Kangberee), Hon. Regional Minister(Alhassan Suleman), some MPs in the Region especially Hon. Ambrose Dery and some concerned individuals and groups for working hard to draw the attention of his Excellency of the need to make the UDS Wa campus autonomous to prevent it from collapse.
Whilst all these actors have one objective, which is to bring about fairness, equity and development it is clear that others will want to use this for their own selfish, parochial political ambition.
Ladies and Gentlemen, only yesterday, a press release was making the rounds where the Upper West Regional Communication officer for NDC sought to suggest that the NDC had gone through documentation and processes to make UDS Wa Campus autonomous. He sought to suggest that, the NPP administration was not giving enough commitment to the demand for autonomy and so urged the President to continue from where they left off. This statement is coming from a disingenuous propagandist who is seeking to cling to a credit he doesn’t deserve. His comments would have been ignored as usual, however his penchant for spewing lies, propaganda and dirty politics is becoming one too many hence the need to respond to him.
It is clear that the NDC have not yet learnt their lessons. The Ghanaian is now well informed and level headed than we think and so such propaganda can never work in the mind of any right thinking Ghanaian either than the mind of the propagandist himself. The question is what documentation and papers is he talking of? Will such documentation take eight years to complete? Even the creation of Regions which demands a referendum will be done in less than four years. The propagandist failed to mention at which stage they left off. If it is that everything was done by the John Mahama administration as he would want us to believe, why did he not go ahead to grant it?
We need to get serious and ask critical questions rather than engaging in such naïve and pedestrian propaganda. The questions to ask Ladies and Gentlemen are?
1) Who established UDS Wa Campus?
2) Is the student population of the Wa Campus reducing or increasing?
3) How many students are there now?
4) When did they begin the movement of programmes to Tamale and Navrongo Campuses?
5) Whether over the past 2 years any programme has been moved to Tamale or Navrongo?
6) Will we get autonomy and who will grant it?
7) Do we deserve it and why was it not granted long time?
Ladies and Gentlemen, we wish to assure you that His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo has a firm commitment to grant the people of the Upper West Region their desire to have the Wa Campus upgraded to an autonomous University. He is a firm and fair leader and will deliver on his promise. Whatever papers it is that John Mahama was preparing for eight years, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo will ensure that the right legislative instruments are put in place in less than two years to ensure that the Wa Campus is given an autonomy.
There is a new dawn of hope for the UDS under the visionary leadership of his Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo. Following the successful implementation of the Planting for Food and Jobs where farmers have had bumper harvest, the autonomy will bring about available market for our farmers leading to an improvement in the livelihood of the farmer. Market women, taxi drivers, trotro drivers, Business men, owners of Hostel facilities will smile again.
Finally, we wish to thank the President of Ghana for the commitment to restore UDS Wa from collapse. The Chiefs and people of the Upper West Region are grateful to you for doing what others failed to do.
LONG LIVE PRESIDENT NANA ADDO DANKWA AKUFFO ADDO
LONG LIVE NPP
LONG LIVE UDS
LONG LIVE GHANA.
(Reg. Assistant Secretary, NPP, UWR)