The ultimate responsibility of political or leadership in general is that of stewardship that pursues the general interest of all. Student politics is therefore expected to champion the interest of students. However, this purpose is gradually going down the drain as national politics is eroding grass root student politics. Students’ leaderships like NUGS, SRC and USAG had stronger voice when these groups were independent and free from national political affiliations. Even though student politics has produced national politicians over the years and political parties have campus groups, student leadership such as NUGS, SRC among others should be seen pursuing the interest of students.
Unfortunately, most student leaders nowadays do not seek to serve and promote the welfare of students but rather seek the interest of political parties with the ambition of transiting to national politics. This is as a result of the sponsorship they had from the said political parties during their campaign. Due to this, student leaders such as the Student Representative Council (SRC), National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) and University Students Association of Ghana (USAG) are being regarded as “STOOGES”, thus people who are just figureheads with no real authority to take decisions on their own. As a result, school authorities and national politicians do not respect their views and opinions as student leaders. Personally, I do not see the reason why student leaders will use their position to protect and promote the image of politicians to the neglect of their core mandate as student leaders. Such student leaders have no business in student leadership and should bow out to have a field day with their political parties.
Until student leadership become focus on its core duty of promoting the interest of students within the law, students’ rights will be in jeopardy and school authorities and national politicians will continue to have their way ahead of the best interest of students in this country. The need for a strong and independent minded student leadership that will champion the course of students without compromising with external pressures is therefore needed.
First and foremost, any student who wishes to vie for a position in SRC, NUGS and USAG etc. should be ready to use his or her scarce resource in financing the campaign or equally seek assistance from fellow students who share in his or her vision. This will lead to the true reflection and the ability of the leaders to serve the students. This in no small way will absolve student leaders from external pressures that is associated with seeking support from political parties and other king makers out there.
On the other hand, students should desist from high demands from candidates for student’s leadership. Students must come to the realization that, those aspiring for the various portfolios in students politics are not different from them hence the need for them to demand less from them in terms of banners, posters, and material items before exercising their franchise for them. The high demand sometimes forces them to fall on national politicians for help since the only means to get the funds to print and distribute items including money is to pledge their commitment and allegiance to these political parties. If students expect the best from their leaders, then they should not put too much pressure on them for personal gains as this practice deters many aspiring student leaders to stay away from student politics leaving only few to contest. As a result some incompetent and corrupt people get into leadership positions while the right people are often left out. This menace can be curtailed when vying for student leadership becomes a contest of ideas rather than that of riches.
Furthermore, students themselves ought to resist the temptation to be divided on partisan lines since it does not help in national development. Student leaders must fight for the common good of their colleague students and not for their parochial and political party interest.
In conclusion, student leadership ought to be seen as service to students even though it may prepare one for national political leadership. The way to national development is not partisan politics but selfless service to mankind and mother Ghana.
WRITER: ADANYA EVANS KOFI
Concerned student of University of Ghana