I have read a letter, signed by Prof. E. N. Abakah, the Chairman of the Governing Council of the University of Education, Winneba and circulating on social media platforms, and would want to give my take on the said letter. I am doing this knowing very well that Counsel for Prof. Mawutor Avoke will definitely respond appropriately if and when he receives the letter.
My first reaction, after reading this rather unfortunate letter, was to conclude that Prof. Abakah, if he indeed wrote the said letter, has no business sitting on the University's Council let alone being the Chairman of what is supposed to be an august body.
If on the other hand, he did receive legal advice before writing the said letter, then that person lacks the basic understanding and appreciation of the law and thus have no business making his/her services available to the unsuspecting public.
The reason being that all the purported legal arguments are so fundamentally flawed that they can definitely not stand the critique of a first-year law student. Perhaps it is these patently flawed and weak arguments that made Prof. Abakah, in spite of his position, to rather raise invectives and cast aspersions on people he obviously does not agree within an official letter. I am personally not surprised by this behaviour because that is his stock of trade.
In fact, everything stated in the letter by Prof. Abakah are either outright lies, baseless and concocted to give what he has led the Council to do so far a semblance of legitimacy or display of double standards. I will now proceed to respond to the said letter, point by point, as follows:
1. ALLEGED UNPROFESSIONAL CONDUCT OF PROF. AVOKE'S LAWYER
Prof. Abakah in his letter accused the Lawyer for Prof. Avoke of circulating his letter to the Council on social media platforms before he received his copy without any shred of evidence to prove his allegation. He rather, behaving like the proverbial pot calling the kettle black, has done exactly what he accused the Lawyer of. I can say on authority that Harold Atuguba, the Lawyer for Prof. Avoke and co has not received the letter Prof. Abakah has decided to circulate on social media. In fact evidence, I have gathered rather points to Prof. Abakah as the one who has always been in a rush to go to the media with issues surrounding this whole matter at the least opportunity. He, for instance, declared Prof. Avoke and co guilty in a paid advertisement in the Graphic, using public funds, and later purported to set up a committee to investigate them.
2. CASE TO BE SETTLED IN COURT AND NON FILING OF RESPONSE
Prof. Abakah also claims in his letter that the case will be settled in the courts of law and not in the court of public opinion. I find this to be both interesting and disingenuous. Interesting in the sense that it is he who has rather been courting public sympathy, by always rushing to the media with concocted stories about the individuals involved in the case (there are many newspapers and other media publications to this effect and same have been attached as evidence in a Contempt application against him and three others at a Cape Coast High Court).
It is also disingenuous in the sense that the Council, through its lawyers, have not filed any response to the applications in Cape Coast, since they were filed way back in February 2018, but have rather resorted to several unholy means to ensure that the case is not heard. This proves that his statement that the University is ready to fight the case in court is false. Let me also point out that it is rather refreshing that the Council Chairman now acknowledges that the case is still in court and yet to be settled, when he had already lied to the President of the Republic that the case has been settled by the Courts (courtesy, per the statement made by the President when he addressed the illegal Induction and Investiture ceremony of Prof. Anthony A full-Broni).
3. DISMISSAL OF OFFICERS
Here again, the chairman spewed plain lies on how the officers were dismissed, and by so doing also displayed his lack of appreciation of legal procedures and principles. In the first place, the Winneba High Court's judgement in contention was given on May 2, 2018, long before the Council purported to have dismissed the officers on August 13, 2018. As indicated in Mr Atuguba's letter to the Council, the judgment in itself made the appointment of the officers null and void, and thus they could not have been considered officers of the University to be made to face any disciplinary proceedings of the sort. What is in this simple fact that Prof. Abakah is finding it difficult to understand? In fact, as soon as the Winneba High Court gave its ruling the University quickly moved to remove the officers from their positions, and their payslips are there to show as evidence. Is Prof. Abakah saying he has forgotten about this too?
Prof. Abakah must know that a ruling of a superior court becomes a position in law until such ruling is overturned or reviewed. Ignorance of the law does not exculpate one from being held responsible for its breaches. Therefore whether the Council was aware of the ruling or not, those declarations were effective and enforceable and thus the University was obliged to abide by them. In fact the University was the first respondent in that case and actually went ahead to file appearance at the court, but refused or forgot to file a defense, and had in at least one of its propaganda releases, which was carried by many media houses made reference to the Winneba HC ruling as the basis of their actions.
4. COURT CASES
The Chairman was, as usual, being disingenuous in claiming that the case in the Cape Coast High Court is about the dismissal of the officers. This is an absolute lie, as this case was filed in February 2018, long before the dismissal in August 2018. I am tempted to pardon him at this juncture, because he seems to be exhibiting apparent signs of senility, perhaps as a result of his very advanced age. The case in Cape Coast is rather seeking to dismiss the decision of Council to ask the officers to step aside and also subject them to disciplinary processes at a time when they were already out of office as a result of the first ruling of the Winneba High Court in July, 2017 and which was quashed by the Supreme Court on December 20, 2017. Since the Council's decision to ask them to step aside was otiose then, it was expected that with the quashing of the High Court's decision by the Supreme Court, the officers would have been allowed to resume their positions. This simple thing the Council refused to do, even upon prompting from the Counsel of Prof. Avoke, hence the certiorari application to the High Court in Cape Coast. This is one of the things they have flouted, against all odds, to a total disregard and disrespect for the administration of justice in the Country. They do these things because they think they have political power behind them and therefore the law does not matter. This they do openly, flaunting their so-called power base and lawlessness.
In the case of the injunction application that went to the Accra High Court, the judge only refused jurisdiction, erroneously though, and never determined the merit of the case. This ruling by the judge, I know, will soon be a matter of certiorari application to the Supreme Court to quash it, as the judge committed patent errors in law, by denying jurisdiction. It is therefore unfortunate for Prof. Abakah to say that it was dismissed for having no merit. This is disingenuity in the highest order, and unbecoming of no less a person than the Chairman of a University Council.
5. DECISION TO DECLARE PROF. AVOKE AND CO AS PERSONA NON-GRATAS
It is also rather unfortunate and unbecoming of a Council Chairman to decide on his own to declare some people persona non grata, just because they are seeking to enforce their rights. For the information of Prof. Abakah, Prof. Avoke and co are peace-loving persons and being aware of the already precariously fragile situation in the University would not want to exacerbate issues by invading the campus in a "Rambo" style, as he perhaps anticipates. Being law-abiding persons, I know they will continue to pursue the legal option, as they have always done, because of their respect for the rule of law. Prof. Avoke and co will definitely proceed to court to seek an order and go to the University with a bailiff and the police to enforce that order. I want Prof. Abakah to be rest assured of that.
I know for a fact that both students and staff are excited to have Prof. Avoke back, as the legitimate Vice-Chancellor of the University. I, therefore, want to use this opportunity to assure them that that day shall surely come, no matter what the usurpers say or do, for evil shall never triumph over good, no matter how long the battle rages on. Prof. Avoke and co shall surely overcome and victory shall be theirs once more.
I want to conclude this unofficial response, I elected myself to write, by stating that the penchant for lies by Prof, E. N. Abakah, the Council chairman, is becoming nauseating. He is an old man, and thus need to strive to leave a befitting legacy for his children and grandchildren. Certainly, the penchant for lies and disingenuity, at this riped age, cannot be a desirable legacy for one's descendants.
Cyanide Estates, Tarkwa