It was quite bewildering to have seen and heard the plethora of accolades and praises showered on the Electoral Commission (EC) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Students Representative Council (KNUST-SRC) without any given to the same Commission at Ghana’s premier university, University of Ghana (UG).
Read Also: GESA-KNUST Honours SRC EC, Akwasi Nti Awuah For His Outstanding Student Leadership
What was so different of the KNUST Students’ Representative Council’s (SRC) elections from that of the SRC elections at University of Ghana?
Is UG gradually losing the premiership to KNUST in terms of the conduct of students’ elections?
These are the questions that have taken the center stage of discussion in all talks among students in various tertiary institutions in Ghana.
In this article, I will tell you why UG-SRC’s EC must learn (rob) from the EC of KNUST.
Even though UG took the lead in the conduct of the 2019 SRC elections, KNUST is successfully done and the final determination of who has won in UG is still unknown – not just unknown, but it has become a legal banter.
Wait a moment! Let me take you through what Mr. Akwasi Nti Awuah, the Electoral Commissioner of KNUST SRC did so different from his counterpart from Legon, Mr. Roland Eyram Tettey.
First, Mr. Nti Awuah and his vetting panel “failed to disqualified” any of the seven (7) presidential aspirants, let alone aspirants of the other portfolios.
Read Also: Master Adu Baah Charles salutes from the top of a V8 Land Cruiser as he wins the polls with an overwhelming support from students.
Let me be quick to state that, the Vetting Committee after its work disqualified some aspirants.
But the question then is why were they all qualified later?
The answer to this question perhaps shows maturity on the part of the Commission.
The Commission made it known to the Committee why they cannot disqualify any candidate even though they didn’t meet the pass mark; he, the Commissioner, has no nerves for legal battles.
In UG, one out of the two presidential aspirants were disqualified as well as one of the three aspirants for the treasure position.
Was our EC interested in encouraging legal battles or they never saw it coming?
On this score, ‘proactiveness’ as a principle of good leadership has failed in UG.
Again, the role of the media was instrumental in the workings of the KNUST elections.
The Commission understood the essence of the media and rightly engaged them as such.
Read Also: Ghanaian Excellence: 3 KNUST students develop gas leakage detector that operates SMS alert
Focus FM, the official mouthpiece of the school, together with some individual bloggers were never left out in the process.
John Essien, the Editor of Focus Radio, KNUST, noted that, “the Electoral Commission met all media persons and had a press conference with them and explained to them what he intends doing and he asked for their cooperation… and expected that they put out the right information”.
He further stated that, “…on the day of elections, there was a whole media team and they all had official accreditation”.
This UGSRC EC failed to do. At a point, they even failed to speak to the media. Incredible!!
Let us talk about the training of presiding officers (EC’s at the various polling stations).
Mr. Eyram Tettey and the entire UG SRC failed to do this.
It cannot be said that, the Commission never met.
This will be unfair to the independent body.
Several meetings I believe went on, but were they meant to train and educate presiding members?
In KNUST education and training of ECs for halls and faculties started way back in February.
It was surprising to know that, less than 12 hours to the commencement of the elections in UG, a new presiding officer (EC) was introduced (not even sworn in) to steer the affairs of the elections in Kwapong Hall.
In furtherance of the above, in his famous “For the First Time” Speech given to Universnewroom by the Electoral Commission of the KNUST SRC, Mr. Akwasi Nti Awuah elaborated what his outfit did for the first time to contribute to the success of this year’s elections.
He said, “For the first time we didn’t go to court. For the first time we were able to hold our presidential debate. For the first time those who picked nominations did so online.
For the first time also we started elections on time and ended on time. For the first time the Electoral Commission created a website where students can have access to all information about the EC and the elections.
For the first time results were declared before six o’clock, and for the very first time also the SRC president elect was paraded around campus led by the Electoral Commission”.
Did we have some of these initiatives implemented and displayed at the seventh best university in Africa?
Maybe, a question for the gods!
What is more, when Mr. John Essien told me the KNUST elections results were declared forty-eight minutes after the close of polls, I was tempted not to believe him.
But I had to finally gave in and let my doubt flee.
At exactly 5:48pm, according to the editor, the final elections results were known to the public.
They have a genuine reason to let it out as early as that because they used the electronic system.
That is fine but why will it take more than a week to know who has won elections in UG?
Even the provisional results were declared eleven (11) hours after the close of polls. Wowwwww!!!!!
One of most dump founding statement Mr. Nti made which I think is recommendable to his colleague at UG is what he said about his team.
In an unequivocal statement, he said, “…I had a strong team. When I came to office first, what I did was to put together the best people…and it has been a collective effort, everybody had a role to play. They were dedicated…we had a sleepless night planning here and there. You should love your job first of all and be dedicated to it”.
Not just that, but he also mentioned that, “…you should be firm and that is one thing people are praising us for”.
This is the hard truth, but let’s face fact, were any of these attributes and skills seen in UG’s electoral processes?
Finally, on what I say is outside the jurisdiction of the EC, do political parties in Ghana have no grounds in KNUST?
I believe they have – like it is in Legon. Why then is our (Legon) SRC elections always politically infiltrated by NPP and NDC?
Certainly not because we are the premier University.
No! The massive involvement of political parties has cost us this price.
There seems to be little or no infiltration from political parties in the just ended KNUST elections.
The future still looks loose in UG.
KNUST seems to have left us behind.
Our ECs must learn from KNUST.
We all need to mature politically and ‘attain’ or maintain the premiership we have been priding ourselves with for all these while.
Our Commission must learn from KNUST’s own – I mean they should “legally rob” them of some, if not all, of the new policies they implemented.
I just want to believe our ECs are ready to learn so they can lead us into the “promise land”.
Author: Daniel Osei Wereko (Be-Great)
The writer is a Level 300 student of the University of Ghana. He was an aspirant in the 2019 University of Ghana SRC election.