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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
I read the protest news report of the Brong-Ahafo Youth Association (BAYA) against some dead-on snarky, albeit apt, comments by some leading members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) about the “propaganda universities” being established by the Mills-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Brong-Ahafo and Volta regions with mournful amusement (See “BAYA Not Happy With NPP Leaders’ Comments On Proposed University” Peacefmonline.com 2/16/11).
“Mournful amusement,” precisely because Mr. Charles Baffour-Diawuoh, the Interim-Secretary of BAYA, appears to misguidedly believe that President John Evans Atta-Mills has, indeed, “established” a University of Energy and Natural Resources “on the soil of Brong-Ahafo.”
Even more presumptuously unfortunate is Mr. Baffour Diawuoh’s rather grossly misinformed assertion that “the NPP government was in power for eight years and could not establish any university in any part of the country.” And also that: “They [NPP leaders] have no moral right to chastise President Mills for establishing a university in any part of the country.”
First of all, we are compelled, against our better judgment, to point out to Mr. Baffour-Diawuoh and the association of which he serves as Interim-Secretary, that Ghana’s premier institution of higher learning, the University of Ghana, of which President Mills is an alumnus, was established through the critical instrumentality of Dr. Joseph Boakye-Danquah, the putative Doyen of Gold Coast and Ghanaian politics.
And also that, indeed, both the now-Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and the University of Cape Coast, were directly created out of the original departments of Science and Technology, and Education, respectively, of the University of Ghana!
Needless to say, it is largely for the foregoing reason that I have vehemently criticized former President John Agyekum-Kufuor for egregiously failing to champion the ongoing campaign to have Ghana’s flagship academy renamed after the de facto founder of Legon.
Anyway, what also needs to be pointed out to Mr. Baffour-Diawuoh and BAYA is the fact that the proposed Brong-Ahafo University of Energy and Natural Resources which, of course, sounds far more progressive on paper than its achievement or reality on the ground, even as I write, comes after a whopping 21 years of National Democratic Congress rule in Ghana, and not just some two years into the incredibly lax tenure of the Mills governments, as the BAYA Interim-Secretary would implicitly have his audience believe.
We must also quickly point out that nowhere in the President’s most recent State-of-the-Nation Address does any specific budgetary item for the Brong-Ahafo University of Energy and Natural Resources appear. Thus, if the President, by this obviously desperate and cheap vote-getting ploy of sod-cutting cleverly intended to fool Brong-Ahafo residents like Mr. Baffour-Diawuoh and the well-meaning members of BAYA, then, needless to say, “Tarkwa-Atta” has almost definitely scored a major coup. The same observation, of course, goes for the proposed “propaganda university” that is to be established in the Volta Region.
Then must also be pointed out the glaring fact that absolutely nowhere in even the most advanced economies are sods cut for the construction of “Universities” which are then readied for the admission of students in less than eight months! Definitely not in the postcolonial history of any African country, least of all Ghana!
And, by the way, did anybody ponder and/or wonder why the Koreans were not shipped in to undertake these two unarguably monumental projects this time around? Something is definitely not adding up here!
Now, let’s get a bit more serious here: The fact of the matter is that President Mills, as most Ghanaians ought to know by now, became commander-in-chief by default. Else, how would “Tarkwa-Atta” have earmarked funding for the private use of Members of Parliament (MPs) in his last State-of-the-Nation Address and absolutely nothing for the veritable mushroom universities of Brong-Ahafo and Volta regions?
Ultimately, Mr. Baffour-Diawuoh and his Brong-Ahafo Youth Association may, once again, need to be reminded of the fact that so apocalyptically ramshackle was NDC economic legacy to Ghana – Did I hear somebody scream “Cash-and-Carry” legacy? – that an inventive President Kufuor and the New Patriotic Party had to humbly and tactically enter into a HIPC program in order to resuscitate a DOA – Dead-On-Arrival – economy.
And does Mr. Baffour-Diawuoh suppose that the NPP-minted comprehensive National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), for example, is of far less significance than the Mills “propaganda universities” of Brong-Ahafo and Volta regions? And just how educable is a medically uninsured student? Come on, think up, BAYA, look at the bigger picture! Are any adults home?
*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is a Governing Board Member of the Accra-based Danquah Institute (DI) and author of “The Obama Serenades” (Lulu.com, 2011). E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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