It is often said that we can not control the behavior of others but we can choose how we respond to it. We can not always control what happens to us but we can control the way we think about events. We can either choose to be positive or negative in our approach bearing in mind that which ever one we choose will determine the way forward and in the long run change a lot of things. The administrative part of Ghana’s educational system is generally divided into different bodies and levels of authority. Belonging to this hierarchical system is the mother body of all student associations known as the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS). NUGS is a democratic, non partisan and progressive mass movement comprising of students in Ghana and Ghanaian students abroad with the primary aim of protecting and safeguarding the rights and interest of Ghanaian students. This definition of NUGS is the ideal situation and may seem a bit far off to people who are in the know of what is currently going on in the Union. NUGS is made up of 6 blocs namely, USAG, TTAG, NAHSAG, RSRC, GUPS and GRASAG. So technically, all Ghanaian students and Universities are found under this mother body. Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology is one of the vibrant, responsive and most active institutions under both USAG and NUGS being present at every senate,central committee meeting and congress for the past 10 years. The involvement of KNUST over the past few years in NUGS cannot be underestimated.
Recently, due to some brouhaha and controversies emerging from the Union, some people have advocated for the withdrawal of KNUST from NUGS. For the sake of readers who might be lost as to what the brouhaha is, I will give a brief background. Apparently, our very own Union, which used to be the most vibrant and most recognizable student union in Ghana has now turned into a platform for some ‘unscrupulous and perfidious people’ to run their own parochial agenda while hiding behind political parties at the detriment of the Union. Student leaders that are supposed to reason and move the union forward are acting as blind as bats to the woes of the Ghanaian student.This is barefaced in the massive division in the leadership of NUGS. Every congress that has been organized has produced more than one set of executives, going as far back as the 49th congress. Currently we have two set of executives claiming to be the leadership of NUGS thus the Tinkaro fallout and the Gombilla end product. The negative effects resulting from this can not be belittled. As a good book says, you can never have two masters on one ship, as such different set of executives would only render the union aimless, object-less, purposeless, confused and eventually drive the whole union into a ditch. It has become visible now that the old homogeneous union that led the institution of GETfund has become a toothless bulldog that can hardly bark. What used to be one of the finest platforms and preparatory grounds for the production of the most amazing human resource that the nation can boast of has now become the realm for individuals to declare themselves presidents after losing elections, disregarding the constitution and blatantly disrespecting the ideals and visions of the Ghanaian student . The main vision and mission have been distorted and the union is now sitting on a time bomb with no clean bill of health. This is the background story that influenced the KNUST Students Parliament House (KSPH) and the KNUST Students Activists (KSA) to advocate for the withdrawal of KNUST from the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS).
Let us analyze this issue from two perspectives. From the perspective of the ‘pull out advocates’ – the union has now lost its relevance and integrity, it is not making any relevant impacts and thus the SRC should not use student dues to support their activities, making it enough grounds for KNUST to pull out of NUGS. This is a choice that can be made considering how the union is going downhill. KNUST can champion the course of forming a temporary group of politically unbiased, objective and open-minded leaders who will take the helm of student affairs until the whole contention is resolved, as proposed by the ‘pull out advocates’. Probably, that will help stabilize the administration a bit, just until the union is back together. But the question is, if KNUST should break out and as such end up influencing other Universities and stakeholders to also break out, which people will fix the union? The various Student Representative Councils in the Universities are major stakeholders in the Union and we are advised to be the change we want to see but if KNUST should pull out, who then is expected to stay and fix the union? A question the gods and ancestors of my hometown will have to help us answer. Unless mysteriously there is a way we can pull out and still work to fix the Union we have already rejected. Or just maybe KNUST plans on borrowing Harry Porters magic wand to fix the Union even after the rejection. This option is only valid if the proverbial camel can pass through the eye of a needle. Your answer is as good as mine.
On the other side of the coin is the decision for us to sit back, analyze and fight for our union. NUGS is not going to be great again if we just sit and watch other people annihilate it. It is supposed to be an all hands on deck affair. Then again, KNUST can champion the course of influencing and rallying like minded people who want to make NUGS great and work on it together. With the type and kind of intellectuals coming out of our Universities today, there is a 90% certainty that together, we can work out a solution to this catastrophe. From educating students on pertinent issues about the Union, leaders choosing selflessness over selfishness to rejecting juicy proposals from political parties that will only taint the image of the Union. Also, considering the vision and mission of the union and what it can become if students should rise and fight in togetherness, it makes it worthy to consider the option of fighting for what belongs to us. This can only be done if KNUST decides to stay and fight for what is rightly hers – ours – our union.
We are what we are today because of the decisions we made yesterday and there is a time in life where you have to choose to turn the page, write another book or close it. The multi million dollar question is, with the agitation and frustration rising and the relevance and impact of NUGS gradually going downhill simultaneously, what decision or stand will KNUST take? Will KNUST opt out of NUGS because some conscienceless people have decided to run our mother Union as just another cheap branch of a political party or KNUST will stay against all odds and fight for the Union that was formed on its campus?
Whichever way this goes, we must remember that our greatest glory never lies in our fall but in rising every time we fall.Will KNUST live up to its slogan? KNUST definitely has a role to play in determining the future of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS). What is it going to be? .Alea iacta est
My name is Raheem Awaafo, KNUST’s best male writer and I believe the masses matter. One day we may find what we are looking for; just maybe; or we will find something greater than that. In the words of my good friend King Midas Amoateng ” we have DUTY” to make sure that our student union and Ghana becomes greater and stronger than individual interests.
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