UE/R: Chaos at NUGS emergency congress

An emergency congress of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) convened in the Upper East Region at the weekend was thrown into disarray following a disagreement among some 1,500 delegates with the authorities of the union.

The congress was called up to address some concerns within the union and to elect Ghana’s representative to the All Africa Students Union (AASU). Three aspirants, namely, Peter Kwasi Kodjie, Innocent Badasu and Mohammed Suparu vied for the slot.

But the event came to an abrupt end after some of the delegates openly kicked against an alleged attempt by the union’s vetting committee to disqualify one of the aspirants, Peter Kwasi Kodjie. The disturbance came up before the expected vetting results were announced.

UDS drove NUGS away
The chaos raged for about two hours, from around 5:00pm to 7:00pm, at the Navrongo campus of the University for Development Studies (UDS), venue for the congress.

A police squad dispatched to the scene to ensure order had it tough controlling the agitators. The police at a point drove everybody out of the hall and instructed that only delegates be allowed to return into the room for the elections. But as the NUGS executives were calling in the delegates from each of the schools one after the other, the fading chaos was rekindled with heckling, pushing and confrontations.

The Vice Dean of Students at the UDS, Maxwell Anim Gyampo, seeing that turmoil was on the brink of vandalism, grabbed a microphone and told the union to leave the campus. He is quoted to have said, “Since you cannot put your house in order, I’m sorry I cannot be sure of the safety of this facility in your hands.”

NUGS Executives torn apart
Many members of the union did not hesitate for a moment to leave the congress grounds. With examinations scheduled to begin in the week ahead, most of the members had wished for the congress to end well and without delay so they could return as soon as possible to their various campuses.

But the development took a turn for the worse when, after about 85% of the congress crowd including some of the NUGS executives and the aspirants reportedly had left the region entirely, a number of the delegates allegedly reassembled at another location, the catholic social centre at Navrongo, to continue with the elections with only one of the aspirants.

NUGS President, Michael Paa-Quecy Adu, is said to have made the sudden U-turn without recourse to some of his colleague executives. He is reported to have taken the decision with the Treasurer and the Financial Controller. The Coordinating Secretary, the International Relations Officer and the Programmes and Project Secretary were excluded from the late agenda.

NUGS Coordinating Secretary, Paul Gyan, expressed his shock and disappointment at the development in an interview with Ultimate news, accusing the NUGS President of spearheading an illegality. He affirmed that the union would not accept the outcome of the “illegal” election.

“We are running a union that has structures. We are ten in all at the national front. When a meeting came to an end, we ought to have met to decide whether we would continue with the emergency congress or not. The ten executives never met. We never had any meeting either online or even on phone.

“The notice we saw was the President issuing a release or a circular on social media that the leadership of the union, and the leadership of the union is not him the President alone, is organising a CC (Central Committee) meeting, an illegal CC meeting. We have not even explained to CC members what actually happened and the meeting came to an end. We have not even apologised. Eighty-five percent of the schools are gone. The exercise that is going on there is illegal. It is borne out of personal interests. We will not entertain it. We will not accept the outcome,” Mr. Gyan said.

NUGS disappointed in UDS 
The NUGS President in an interview with Ultimate news said he would not describe the development at the UDS campus as confusion but “trouble” and “tension” stoked up by observers seated at the back in the hall.

He also said the meeting held at the catholic social centre after the UDS congress debacle was only for the CC members to fix a new date for another congress and not to elect a representative to AASU as claimed by the Coordinating Secretary.

“I don’t want to talk about those people. I don’t want to talk about them. It’s sheer hypocrisy and untruthfulness. This is not a hidden [exercise]. When the CC was reconvened, the notice was sent around. If he (NUGS Coordinating Secretary) is not comfortable about sending the notice though social media platform, I wish you could ask him the CC meeting we started yesterday which platform did we use to circulate the message. Was it not the same platform he used to draft the message, sent it to me to approve it before he sent it out?” the President reacted.

Mr. Adu also took a swipe at the Vice Dean of Students for the manner he brought their stay in the hall to an abrupt end.

“The person who is hosting us came to announce that the time they gave us has elapsed and they cannot accommodate us any longer. I am the President and I have the responsibility to communicate to the members I have called for meeting that, looking at this or that condition we have to consider adjourning the meeting for us to take a decision. I thought it could have been better and prudent to look for the President and explain to him first. He’s the leader of the union. He did not even approach us. Before I realised somebody was holding the microphone, speaking. I’m not happy. That’s very unfair on his part not to me as an individual but the entire union,” the NUGS President objected.

A number of people who say they witnessed the second gathering at the social centre have disclosed that a fresh attempt to hold the elections ended in confusion again with some of the frustrated delegates reportedly suggesting strongly that the congress be moved to another region.

By: Ultimate1069.com/Ghana/106.9FM/Edward Adeti