Some student leaders in the Ghana Institute of Journalism(GIJ) have rallied behind the management of the institute in its fight against a suit served them by some ousted SRC executives for dissolving their leadership.
The leaders believe that even though every student has a legal right to seek justice, their reason for going to court is baseless.
Over the week, some denounced SRC executives filed a lawsuit at an Accra High Court challenging the institute for interfering in students affairs and for dissolving their leadership.
The plaintiffs are Alimatu Quaye (President), Edinam Adoboe (Vice President), Bryan Sarpong (Gen. Secretary), and Esther Dorman (Women Commissioner).
But according to a student leader Abdul-Lahie Naa Ninche “the letter from the lawyer of the plaintiffs to the defendant referred to Alimatu Quaye and her colleagues as Interim SRC executives but Alimatu Quaye and the colleagues were never interim SRC executives since they were declared illegally by the Joseph Agbezuke administration as SRC executives thus their claim has no basis”.
Also, a former presidential candidate Haviliah Obour Bright have expressed amazement at the ousted executives move to go to court because “they were illegally appointed and that they had no idea about the day to day running of the SRC”.
The President of Echoes of Leadership (GIJ-Chapter) added that, “running to court with the attempt to halt the impending SRC elections is a clear proof that they came not to serve students interest but their personal ill-conceived agenda, and to loot students treasury at the expense of the general welfare of students and the SRC”.
However, the lawyer of the ousted SRC executives Naa Djamah Ayikoi-Otoo has advised GIJ management to direct the Interim SRC Committee to put a halt to their activities pending a suit served them or might risk being cited with contempt.
Reacting to this, a member of the Interim SRC Committee, Efo Korku Mawutor says he sees no reason behind the lawyer for the plaintiff’s move to advise GIJ management to put on hold SRC activities since the court is the only one with the power to serve an injunction.
Despite that, GIJ- SRC General Secretary aspirant Patrick Anyebuno Abesiyine says although the plaintiffs have the right to seek legal justice “management also has the discretionary powers to determine the next line of action thus there should be no cause for alarm since the court case will soon be resolved”.
What do the plaintiffs want in court?
The plaintiffs want to be reinstated as legitimate SRC executives.
“A declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 30 of the GIJ SRC Constitution, the action of the SRC President in suspending Article 20(1)(b) of the constitution and getting the Plaintiffs appointed as Interim SRC executives were a lawful exercise of authority and therefore the Plaintiffs are the legitimately appointed Interim SRC representatives and ought to be recognized as such”.
They are also seeking an “order setting aside the 15 member Interim Management Committee for students of the school, as unconstitutional, null and void and of no legal effect”.
The plaintiffs also want “a declaration that by the provisions of the “GIJ Undergraduate Students Handbook” Management of the Defendant Institute has no mandate to interfere in the affairs of the Students of the SRC to assist in resolving a dispute arising between students and their leadership in extreme cases which threaten normal academic work.
On the 8th of February, management of GIJ declared its decision not to recognize the current appointed leaders spearheading the affairs of the SRC as SRC executives.
This was because of a petition submitted to the office of the Dean of Students and other principal members of GIJ to intervene in student governance since the current leaders were not legitimately selected by students through elections as required by the SRC Constitution.
However, after a submission of a report by the Dean of Students to the Rector of GIJ Professor Kwamina Kwansah- Aidoo, management came to a conclusion not to “recognize the unlawful appointment of SRC executives and advised the appointed leaders not to hold themselves out or allow themselves to be held out as representatives of students of GIJ”.
Adding that, “students shall elect a minimum of ten (10) and a maximum of seventeen (17) students representing the various constituencies of the student body to act on an interim basis to put in place structures, institutions and a timetable for the conduct of elections. The elected students shall liaise with the office of Dean of Students to ensure a smooth transition from an interim student body to the election of permanent leaders by the SRC Constitution”.