Togbe Afede XIV, Agbogbomefia of Asogli State, has rallied University graduates to perceive opportunities within the present economic situation and seek to contribute to the development of Ghana and its parent continent.
He said University students should be able to lead development efforts of the country and the Continent and should consider that a means to justify the investments in higher education.
Togbe Afede was addressing the Seventh UHAS Congregation on Saturday as special guest of honour, where he called on graduands to resist the urge to abandon the motherland for perceived better opportunities abroad but take up the responsibility of nation building.
“There is the temptation to join the exodus to other countries for greener pastures. But you should consider that there are more opportunities in Ghana and Africa than elsewhere. Ghana presents a green field – an environment that gives us the opportunity to make an input and you can distinguish yourself.
“This you must not miss. You have a responsibility. The country has invested a lot in your group, and it is your responsibility to help develop your country.”
Togbe Afede who has dedicated his life to the development of Africa and concentrated his business interests on the Continent, said although the homeland of the black race retained a tag of poverty and underdevelopment, its dominance of the world’s natural resources should be viewed as an opportunity by its budding university population,
He said Africa’s graduates needed to therefore “think outside the box,” adding “the main essence of University education is to liberate the mind and create astute decision makers”.
Acknowledging the effects of the global situation on the Ghana and the Continent, the Agbogbomefia said “Change and uncertainty brings opportunity.
“With liberated minds we should be able to think creatively to change the situation. You should enter the world with courage. The nation is looking up to university students to come and contribute to solving challenges facing the country. With innovation you can work with minimal resources.
Togbe Afede spent close to an hour mentoring students, calling them to be ambitious, dream big, and aim high.
He called to eschew greed and corruption, and work hard with the aim of impacting the world positively.
The Agbogbomefia also advised the graduates to consider planning as an especially important component of human development and asked further to consider strong social values including empathy, respect for one another, and love.
The 1st session of the 7th Congregation of the University graduated 826, 799 of which were undergraduates.
The UHAS School of Pharmacy graduated its first batch of 30, and the School of Medical Imaging also passed out the first set of regular students.
Professor Lydia Aziato, Vice Chancellor (VC), said UHAS continued to show exceptional academic standing, and had registered 7903 students for 2022/23 academic year, and that 864 staff strength was inadequate.
She said infrastructural expansion within the University also remained minimal although a major need.
“The infrastructural needs of UHAS are crucial. Several of the schools are not available, and there are more than 3,000 qualified students for where we can only admit 150. Hostel accommodation only takes 2000, so we need support for hostels for our students. We have the land, but we do not have the money.”
Development of the over 700-acre land for the University’s main campus at Sokode Lokoe is within the second phase, completion of which is expected early next year to provide permanent structures for the School of Nursing and Midwifery and the central administration.
The University has no library and ICT complex, while a mega central laboratory complex is entering the tenth year of delayed construction amidst growing needs for advanced laboratory facilities for the prime health research institution.
The ceremony was attended by members of the university community and families of the graduates, and present were past leaders of the University, local and international partners, and members of the nation’s political leadership.
Togbe Afede said the Asogli State sought to “closely identify with programs of the University,” and there donated 50,000 to support the UHAS Endowment Fund.