By Prof Avea Nsoh, College of Languages Education, University of Education, Winneba, Ajumako.
Colleagues, friends, relations and particularly my students, I have been home since August 17, 2018. That is nearly two months. That is a very long time in the life of a senior academic and a university administrator. I wish to thank you sincerely for your unflinching support. I owe you an update on the state of affairs and I sincerely apologise for the delay. I want to once again, assure you that I have done nothing administratively or financially wrong whether as lecturer or as Principal. More so after I received the allegations against me by the then Ag. Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Afful-Broni. When I received those allegations against me I could not fathom that even those who have been specially trained to respect and protect the 10 commandments could still so blatantly and viciously “bear false witness” against me. Whiles I sit at home on very frivolous and trumped up charges, I am expected to shut up, whiles my accuser moves from meeting to meeting, one Sunday service to another, person to person and campus to campus trying at all cost to justify his actions and in some cases restraining me from meetings and my lectures that I am legally bound to be present. After all, he has the President and his government’s full support and the support of his spiritual leader. Why will anybody else believe me or any of my colleagues? TIME definitely will believe me because TIME is the twin sister/brother of truth and God is truth. You see what I mean? But you see truth can only be told by the one who knows it so that time can validate it. That is why I should not shut up in the face of intimations and the curtailment of my rights as Principal/lecturer. Because after all, truth can only be told by truth.
In the last one year or so, silence, respect for the courts, trust in the sanctity of the Church, believe in the freedom and independence of the universities and a strict adherence to non-partisanship have cost some of our finest and dedicated staff their jobs, ranks/titles, their life time contributions, their reputations and particularly their families. I intend to continue to respect all these but I am the only person who can tell my own story and contribute to the story of the University of Education, Winneba, so I should tell it.
Therefore, I want to bring you to speed on developments so far since I was asked to step aside and to assure you of my innocence. On Monday September 3, I was invited to a Council Investigative Committee meeting but since they refused to provide the allegations and I insisted on seeing them, I declined to speak. For some reasons, the allegations were sent to me after about a week together with an invitation to attend another meeting. I wrote to ask for some time to prepare my responses, and for them to provide the exhibits attached to the allegations. I also asked to come with a lawyer. There were others I asked for. Again, they turned down my requests. Again, I declined to continue with the meeting. They decided to report back to Council because they had run out of time according to them. I pioneered this University with other colleagues in very trying times and paid my due to the University and Ghana, and I am not going to allow myself to be manhandled by those who do not deserve to be where they are especially when I am very sure that I have done nothing wrong.
Any staff member of the University or any member of the public who has followed the happenings in the University and especially if s/he has seen the allegations against me, knows that the ONLY reason why I am being persecuted is because I have and still stand against the illegalities and culture of silence being perpetrated on the campuses. For instance, an outsider and his accomplice, the MP of the area, Hon Afenyo Markins sue the University. Some individuals within Management and Council collude with them and succeed in suspending/dismissing/or terminating the appointment of about 14 senior members including the Vice Chancellor. A critical part of the suit is the claim that the Vice-Chancellor was appointed by a defunct Council which according to the applicants, infringed on the Statutes and Act of the University of Education, Winneba. Then, in an attempt to appoint an Ag. Vice-chancellor and subsequently a Vice-Chancellor the same Statutes have been RUTHLESSLY beached. Most senior members of the University members including myself caution the authorities to be circumspect so that we are not in breach of the Statutes or Act to forestall future suits. Notice that the person who levelled these charges against me is the very same person who has schemed all this while to be appointed Ag. Vice-Chancellor and now Vice-Chancellor. If you recall, the Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education, Prof. Kwesi Yankah who himself was a Pro-Vice-Chancellor and later a Vice-Chancellor spoke against the processes adopted in the choice of the Vice-Chancellor in the University of Education on CitiFm in Accra. He has since gone silent for very obvious reasons. Interestingly, no media house including CitiFm who interviewed him is interested in finding out the reasons for his silence.
But those who are perpetuating the illegalities and the culture of silence in University of Education know that what they are doing is wrong. So, they take refuge in politics and ethnicity. So, for instance, a person like me who is a Farefari from the Upper East region and a former Minister of State in the previous government is painted in the corridors of government and party as working against government and some ethnic group at the University of Education as if I was employed with an ethnic (Frafra) certificate or a party card (certificate). Quickly, some party gurus, government officials and some inward looking ethnocentric propagandists swallow the bait. The main issues suddenly disappear and ethnicity and politics become the major determinants of decisions in the University of Education. Even appointments to Head of departments, Deanship etc positions and transfers are informed by these criteria. To give you a vivid example, nearly all persons transferred to my College (ie College of Languages Education) are not just people that the Ag. Vice-Chancellor does not want to work with but they are either Ewe, or are from one of the northern ethnic groups. You may also wish to check the list of persons who have been dismissed/suspended so far. I am speaking REALITY here not FICTION!!! What is interesting is that throughout my comments on the University’s case, I have not for once talked about ethnicity or politics until today. Yet in spite of the several security institutions available to government, I am still viewed through political and ethnic lenses. Again, this is also in spite of the fact that I have a non-partisan record in the regions that I worked as Minister of State.
Nonetheless, I am unfazed about the charges against me. Indeed, I am ready to clear my name. What I need is a fair committee and a fair Council. But the Council chair had told me at two different meetings that I was going to be the next to be expelled when there was no basis for such an open attack. All other Council members were present but none of them commented. I have told this story to the media a number of times.
Unless the managers of the University in government and institutions such as Parliament, Amnesty International and civil society organisations spend some time to understand the real issues and the situation in the University of Education, the situation could get out of hand even though a “new” Vice-Chancellor has just been inducted. For instance, the appointment of two more staff have been terminated and others on the execution list since the last time the President asked the managers of the university to go down the reconciliation path. Again, one is Ewe, the other from another ethnic group in northern Ghana. Two colleagues were openly embarrassed only a week ago at a general staff meeting and their Head of Department positions revoked, there and then.
Colleagues, friends, relations and students you need to join me to tell the truth and the embarrassing situation in the University of Education. Please, don’t fight anyone. Just tell the story as it is. It is not about whether I remain Principal or even lecturer or that another staff is dismissed, it’s about the image, credibility and respect not just of the University of Education, Winneba but for tertiary education in general. We also need to protect families, careers and reputations of colleagues and for the students, your lecturers and administrators.
Thank you reader., please tell it!
Prof Avea Nsoh
College of Languages Education
University of Education, Winneba