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Insist on Your Right to Education

Uneducated citizenry is like a pitch any game can be played on it. Illiteracy is what has given the politicians in Ghana the chance to fool so many people for so a long a time.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Author, Hassan A. Hannan
Author, Hassan A. Hannan

The recent outburst of praises showered on the country for its democratic credentials, partly as a result of our two smooth transitions and largely due to OBAMA’s visit, should not be a spur for complacency but rather a gadfly that must awaken us to the reality of the youthfulness and fragility of our democracy. Consequently, this call for an inner reflection on the very ideals and values that seek to consolidate the process as well as those that have the detonative potential to ignite chaos thereby derailing our democratic path must be listened to.

It is almost a cliché to say that the last election left the country more divided than before, if not ever. Visible gully-like crevices had resurfaced on our social fiber along ethnic, political, geographical and somehow, religious lines. Ethnic colorations have become more pronounced and we are prone to petty prejudices than was the case.

Closely on the heels of the afore-described dire situation is the subtle lost of confidence by the citizenry in the political system and its key players. For the power-for-power-sake tendency of the politician was exposed to all. If phrases like: ‘politicians are all thieves’; ‘NPP or NDC the value is the same’ are common then I stand firmly vindicated.

This said, whereas accusing fingers are easily pointed to politicians and political parties, it is imperative for us to embark on the pursuit of futuristic and enduring remedies to these adversities that engulf us as a nation.

In my continual quest for these remedies, the prominence of party youth wings on our campuses becomes a must-comment hence this piece. Let me be apt in stating that my contempt and attitude to these groups aspire to be a self-confessing lamentation by us (students) on a problem that persists to please few but hurt more. It takes just a conversation with two discerning but hypocritical students to corroborate my contention.
As Machiavelli notes: ……I have thought it proper to represent things as they are in real truth, rather than as they are imagined........the gulf between how one should live and how one does live is so wide that a man who neglects what is actually done for what should be done moves to wards self-destruction rather than self-preservation.

In the same vane, therefore, I accept our collective guilt in this regard and would forgive; if one reads this piece as do a congregation listening to a Pastor or an Imam espousing a virtue that he is conspicuously Niles away from. Of course, the difference is that my admission is borne in the light of an understandably sweeping generalization where one finger soils all others.

The decision by the political parties to erect youth branches in our tertiary institutions was informed, or so I think, by genuine reasons. These include to recruit the youth into their political ideologies and folds; create avenue for a kind of political socialization aimed at sustaining the national political arena and to find readily available disseminators of information on party and national policies.

As good, though not without objections, as the motivation was, it is sleep- depriving to come to terms with the roles these bodies have arrogated to themselves today. They have become bigoted kingmakers, weapons of mass of division and suppressors of students’ interests and rights!

As I always contend: the greatest bane to the progress of humanity has never been and will never be Politics, Religion, Ethnicity or the Seeming insufficiency of resources, but that which is, is the unceasing rivalry between private and public interest. The activities of some individuals and institutions in recent times have sort to make the continual existence of these branches harmful and injurious to both the state and students.

Self-seeking students who lack the rubrics and rudiments of leadership are able to buy or bribe their way into leadership on the backs of these institutions. It no longer requires of a student to be courageous, intelligent, master orator or even genuinely concerned, to ascend to leadership portfolios. What matters now is the relationship between you and either TEIN or TESCON president of your campus.

Where is the cherished bet-on-the-best that gave us student leaders like Haruna Iddirisu, Mustapha Hamid, Dan Botwi and the likes? Has it reached its zenith in America but slipped into its nadir in Ghana. Garbage In, Garbage Out (GIGO) as a common adage in computing states; these leaders have no business about what the ordinary student goes through but are primarily concerned with what to do to better their lots financially and in the national political arena. Where lays the quest to make history and bequeath legacies?

To add insults to injuries, these situation-permitting leaders have gained the notoriety for embezzling funds and flirting with the most beautiful ladies on our campuses changing them like underpants -leaving genuinely loving ones likes us effectively gnashing- but are quick to seek protection under these groups whenever the whip of accountability is raised at them. These better- than-worse lead-asses often prove intelligent enough to convert individual guilt to collective guilt.

Juries across the globe are unanimous in acknowledging the difficulty involved in dealing with syndicates. In ordinary oratory we say there is safety in numbers. Ever wonder why Warren’s work was woefully wastage on American economy and failed to find the faces behind Kennedy’s assassination? Can’t you see why student leaders these days are rarely impeached despite the disquieting scandals that inundate our campuses?

Like student groups catching on the ignorance of freshmen and women to make a lot of monies in our institutions, some institutional authorities have been so cunning enough to use this division to implement inhumane policies as well as perpetuate unthinkable illegalities. How about the head of an institution summoning the President of TEIN and saying to him: if you allow this demonstration to take place it would blot the image of your government. How did LEGON attain an electoral feat unparrelled by any in the entire universe? For those readers (delegates) who are not up to speed though parades themselves as students leaders, the information is that there was a tie after a run-of between two candidates. Incontestably unprecedented!

That when two elephants become entangled in a tussle for turf it is the grass that suffers, though it is being a divine intervention to some somewhere, the cumulative effect of these are repugnant and repulsive symbolizing the tip of the iceberg. Below are the manifestations:

One, loss of nationalistic and patriotic consciousness resulting in the youth becoming so biased towards their parties when indeed we are suppose to be objective and dispassionate about national issue. A good number of us are unable to see anything good about other political ideologies. The snowballing effect of this is that the already charged and polluted political atmosphere at the national level becomes worse.

Another is the increasing irrelevance of student movement in the country. One becomes frightened and disheartened in an attempt to reconcile the actions and deeds of the present student leaders to those of yester years. Is it the same institution that fought for GETFund? Was it that cried for democracy? Can we say no to a government policy and ask it be repackaged? Where are the HARUNA IDDIRISUS?

The organization that kept governments on their toes; helped in bringing our highly hailed democracy; fought for the GETFund and was largely responsible for rejecting and shaping unpopular government policies is now a walking paradox existing in the name of one thing and doing the reverse.

The inactivity of student movement, which is effectively becoming an extinct appendage, is helplessly defended in certain quarters with the contention that the present democratic dispensation leaves them with very little or virtually nothing to champion. To this claim, a readily reachable response is that the movement’s roles runs through a wide spectrum of areas some of which are still begging and beckoning for attention.

The commitment of governments to education is depleting rapidly with time as evident by the unremitting reduction in its budgetary allocation year after year. Education, especially at the tertiary level has sadly ceased to be a right but a rare privilege; a privilege that is a reserve for the few rich relegating the majority poor into the doldrums of dooms and despise. Access to Accommodation and other basic necessities of life that inexcusably must be provided to aid teaching and learning in our institutions are acutely inadequate and represent the microscope that magnifies severally this inequality mentioned above. Bitter and draconian policies- openly dressed in satanic garments- are still being imposed on us with impunity whiles we watch and wail like does a cripple at the mercy of a falling tree.

Even today-at the national level- ruling parties, with their praise-singing media empires, are in a habit of initiating policies that are inimical to national integration and catalyst to chaos. In such situations it is often not practicable for dialogue to reach consensus between government and the opposition and this has been where the buffer function of STUDENT MOVEMENT, out party, is cogent. What made VAT better after a second coming? Why was ROPAL signed and nearly implemented?
Again, colleague students let us bear in min that: ‘when a state is at the crossroads the silence of patriots is akin to treason and the voice of traitors vile and vulgar’

From the adumbration afore, it is crystal clear that there is still indeed a billion reasons for us to be active but not as passive as were are. Why this state of quagmire then?

In conclusion, therefore, I would want to live us with this advice: the memory of the past is a treasure to those who wish to learn and tragedy to those who refused to learn.

Credit: HASSAN A. HANNAN (LEGEND) Editor-in-Chief, Sociological PERSPECTIVE University of Ghana, Legon. Culled from the Students' Voice

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