Speech Delivered By The Acting President Of Upper West Region House Of Chiefs, Kuoro Richard Babini Kanton Vi To The Preisdent Of The Republic Of Ghana John Dramani Mahama On Wednesday December 17, 2014 At The Flag Staff House, Kanda
Your Excellency, Mr. President
We bring you greetings from the Chiefs and People of the Upper West Region. The peace, stability and harmony prevailing in the Region is conducive to our development for which we are grateful to your transformational leadership.
On behalf of the people of the Region, I wish to express our profound gratitude for graciously granting us audience today in spite of your heavy schedules. Sir, it is an honour and we appreciate you for that.
Our mission here is quite simple, but the outcome we hope could be HISTORIC. The presence of Namine and Kuoro here is mainly to solicit your support on some critical matters that bother our people. Key among which are:
1. An autonomous University for the Upper West Region,
2. The completion of Office Block for use by the Upper West Region House of Chiefs
We have come to respectfully remind you of our earlier request to you to convert the Wa Campus of the University for Development Studies (UDS) into a fully-fledged autonomous university.
We are making the proposal to you because it is easier to convert existing campuses currently making up the University for Development Studies into autonomous institutions than setting up new independent structures and facilities as universities for each of the three Northern Regions.
Your Excellency, we recall that the establishment of the UDS was based on the philosophy of integration, relevance for tertiary education and access to higher education with particular reference to deprived communities.
For us, in the Upper West Region, the Wa Campus of the UDS, when made autonomous, will have the capacity based on the region’s comparative advantages to design a curriculum peculiar to the needs of the region and also tailor specific programmes to deal with the environmental and ecological challenges within its operational area.
We believe this decision would go a long way to alleviate poverty and leverage the immerse human resources of the region, being the poorest in Ghana, for accelerated and an all inclusive development.
Your Excellency, of the three Campuses, the Wa Campus is the farthest (320km) from its central point of administration (Tamale). Thus, a meeting which could not have taken more than one hour to address a simple matter is now normally accomplished at the expense of three working non-productive days for the staff of the Wa Campus.
It is a fact that some members of staff have experienced accidents, many vehicular breakdowns and even armed robbery attacks while on their way to or from Tamale to perform their duties. We think this is inconsistent with the decentralization policy of your government.
Your Excellency, we the Chiefs and People of the region also know for a fact that the NDC Government has a philosophy to establish a University in every region in Ghana. It is in the light of this fact coupled with the foregoing that we would be most grateful for the upgrading of the Wa Campus of the UDS into a fully-fledged university.
Your Excellency, it will interest you to note that the Wa Campus currently hosts four faculties, namely, the Faculty of Integrated Development Studies, Faculty of Planning and Land Management, Faculty of Education and School of Business Law. Besides, two new faculties, the Faculty of Social Sciences and School of Law, are being envisaged.
The existing faculties of the University in Wa also host a number of programmes. These include; 5 Diploma Programmes, 18 Bachelor Degree Programmes, 4 Masters Programmes and 1 PhD Programme. The Campus also runs demand-driven Sandwich Programmes.
Your Excellency with a current student population of a little above twelve thousand and a Campus blessed with an unencumbered land area of 3,336 acres for future development, the Wa Campus of UDS has what it takes to function as an autonomous university with minimal investment.
Also, the land area of 3, 336 hectares is a great asset for the future development of the University with the potential of establishing satellite campuses in the region such as Bole, Bamboi, Tumu, Lawra, Nandom and Domongo.
Moreover ongoing projects on the campus by your government include a library complex, a residential complex, a lecture hall complex and the extension of street lights along the major roads of the campus. All these developments constitute a critical infrastructural framework to facilitate the smooth take off of an autonomous University with the stroke of your green pen.
Your Excellency, we believe that, with the massive infrastructure facilities on the ground, what we need now is a charter and the appointment of a Vice Chancellor.
Your Excellency, the chieftaincy institution in the region needs support in the area of logistics and human resource development to function efficiently and effectively. With your earlier support the Hon Minister for Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs has, to some extent, closed the staffing gap at all levels of the chieftaincy institution in the region for which we are thankful.
The challenge though for us in the Upper West Region has to do with the fact that the Upper West Region House of Chiefs is the only House of Chiefs in Ghana without its own permanent office facility to operate from.
Nanime and Kuoro have had to discharge our constitutional mandate under difficult conditions and in most instances have to rent facilities whenever there is a general or a judicial committee meeting. We therefore seek urgent assistance to complete an office facility that has been under construction since 1997, close to 18years now.
Your Excellency, it is obvious that without an office befitting our status, the chiefs of the region are losing their pride of place as they often depend on make shift venues to discharge their duties. Our humble plea, therefore, is that Your Excellency would appreciate our very difficult plight and support us to operate from our own premises.
Your Excellency, infrastructural development has been the flagship of your campaign promise to the people of the region. We would therefore like to remind you of, the deplorable state of the following roads for redress:
3. Wa- Walewale road and the
4. Wa- Han- Tumu- Chuchulga road to complete the linking up of the region with the rest of Ghana.
In conclusion, therefore, Your Excellency we have come here with the strong belief that you would give special attention to our request for the conversion of the UDS campus, in particular to an autonomous university in line with the NDC Manifesto as well as in your promise to the people of the region.
Let me, thank you for the many completed projects and ongoing projects, some of which include but not limited to: The near completion of the Fufulso-Sawla Road, the Construction of the Regional Hospital in Wa, the Wa Water Project, the almost complete connectivity of Electricity in the Region, many rural water projects, the many schools and facilities that have been constructed, Your excellency, we are grateful for them.
May the Almighty God who has crowned you President, continue to direct your footsteps, bless your efforts and instill in you the knowledge, understanding and, above all, patience to unite Ghanaians as one people in one nation with a common destiny. You can always count on our unalloyed support to enable you develop this country to the fullest.
Thank you for the opportunity to be your guests today.
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