The National Union of Ghana Students, NUGS, celebrates the Vision, Perseverance, Progress, Fortitude, and Courage of our dear Nation on the occasion of Her 59th birthday.
This 59th Independence Day is most significant as it portends among other significant metaphors, that were she human, Ghana would have reached an age of retirement and is expected to stay home while the good investments made in a lifetime pay off, and attention is given to raising grandchildren, where they exist.
When NUGS as one of the children, even grandchildren of Mother Ghana, considers the innumerable investments made in various sectors of our national economy, especially in Education in general- both physical infrastructure and administrative developments – from Independence up to this point, and what remains to be done, we can only incline towards hopefulness and bright optimism about the will and capability of Ghana today to continue on the development path with the same degree of confidence with which Dr Kwame Nkrumah, our Nation’s Founder addressed the people of Ghana that fateful night 59 years ago when Ghana was born.
We are reminded of the enormous roles played by students of Ghana as they marched hand by hand with Ghana’s first president, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah to wrestle this nation from the hands of the British. It is encouraging knowing that the students of Ghana paid their quota to the realization of the freedom and abundant opportunities we have currently. The gains of such sacrifice cannot be overemphasized.
To us at NUGS, ‘Education has always been a right and not privilege’. It is on this note that we commend the government for the gains made in the sector but also commend government for investment in the infrastructure development of educational institutions, even as more is yet to be done, and to also urge the timely release of stipends to Ghanaian students studying abroad, improved conditions of services for teachers and teacher trainees, a possible increase in the bursaries for Graduate students among others. For a nation that touts herself as the gateway to Africa, education must be and remain at the forefront of the national development agenda.
Today we are called to remember not only the day Ghana was born but also the day the symbolic Union Jack of Britain got lowered for our Ghana National Flag. We are also called to remember the insurmountable spirit of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah and his gallant comrades who worked untiringly until Ghana attained Independence from British rule.
While we show off our pride in the progress of our country, we are not constrained against admitting the challenges that exist. Challenges such as those with graduate unemployment, which is a subject without “credible statistics” to work with, a fact that in itself lends credence to the truth that not much attention is being given to the unemployment canker among graduate students and youth in general.
It is time the government revises its notes on the best way to deal with unemployment saga. It is time the private sector gets more actively involved in helping deal with the unemployment challenge.
Also, we ask that the Youth get actively engaged in decision making at all levels. NUGS is not constrained to not challenge the involvement of youth in decision-making- an involvement that remains at the moment scanty and cosmetic.
The journey of our nation is not all perfect. Today we see widespread cynicism in our country, surprisingly, and justifiably, the Judiciary has been a recipient of the badge of shame and more cynicism- all sapping the dynamism of our society.
NUGS would like to assert that we need a judiciary that gives justice without delays, and favours and fears. And we need leadership that will continue to show commitment to the nation and those values that made us a great Mecca for freedom fighters.
We need a state that inspires confidence among people in its ability to surmount challenges before us.
We need a media and citizens who, even as they claim their rights, are equally committed to their responsibilities
The journey has not been an easy one; we have gotten this far through our collective determination and we must not relent in our efforts to move forward in the right direction as we strive to build a Ghana is better than was handed to us; a Ghana we can be proud of, forever.
That we are a diverse nation is a matter of fact. Our diversity must be a source of strength and not a weakness. Our diversity should be harnessed and forged into a potent weapon for the realization of our national interests. They should not provide grounds for tearing ourselves asunder.
Today’s celebration will be meaningless if it is not linked up with our collective resolve to join forces in ensuring that nothing is done to wash away the, sweat, blood and toil of those who have made it possible for us to be where we are today.
The journey ahead of Ghana calls for wisdom, courage and determination and Heavenly guidance for all of us especially our leaders. We must work on across-the-board revival of our values and institutions.
To my colleague students I say as the President of the students of Ghana and Ghanaian students abroad, I am very optimistic about a brighter future for Ghana and this Independence Day celebration should be another time to prepare for the future. This is a time for us the youth and student to join together in a united front to fierce and fully wrestle with our conscience and judge each other on the basis of our hearts and actions. I have made a pledge and I have sworn an oath and a promise to lift artificial weight from the shoulders of students and I want to assure every student under my leadership that there is victory ahead. Let’s join hands and build our great nation Ghana.
As students, I know we are prepared to lead the way by showing that rights go with responsibilities and we shall work assiduously to re-discover the revolutionary vitality, the firm fortitude, the patient patriotism, the selflessness, and the courage that founded this blessed nation, our home, our Motherland Ghana.
God bless Ghana and make our Nation great and strong.
God bless our leaders
God bless NUGS.