AUA Board gives President Mills standing ovation

Government has acceded to restore its assistance to the African Universities Association (AUA) and honour a four-year old grant "arrears" to the Association. The Ministry of Education is also in the process of renting a new office with adequate space, in addition to Government initiatives to provide the Association with a befitting headquarters. Ghana won the bid in 1970 to house the headquarters in Accra. Apart from refunding of money the Association paid from its coffers to pay rent for its Secretary-General, Government would also initiate action to restore the official accommodation to the Secretary-General of the Association. "I've acceded to all your requests, because they are legitimate," President John Evans Atta Mills told an appreciative Executive Board of the Association who gave him a spontaneous standing ovation for acceding to the requests. The Board, led by its President, Prof. Is-haq Olanrewaju Oloyode, paid a courtesy call on President Mills on Thursday at the Castle, Osu. The Association, a group of Vice Chancellors of noted universities in Africa, commended the President, a former Law Professor at the University of Ghana, Legon, for his electoral victory. Prof. Oloyode said: "We are celebrating because one of our best is the President of Ghana. We congratulate you for being elected, and we appreciate the people of Ghana for voting you into office. You are our Ambassador in the political arena." The Board expressed appreciation to Prof Akilagpa Sawyerr, former Secretary-General of the Association, now Member of the Council of State, for choosing to stay in a private residence rather than the official one. It, however, observed that there was the need to restore the official accommodation for its present Secretary-General, and said the present space at the Secretariat constituted just a quarter of what was needed. Prof. Oloyode said the Association was emotionally committed to President Mills and Ghana and appealed for a "befitting secretariat" for the use of the Association. Prof. Oloyode said Ghana's grant to the Association had not been honoured after 2005. He expressed regret that not much support had come from the African Union to support the Association and higher education in Africa and appealed to President Mills to sound his colleagues on the need to support the Association. Education Minister, Mr Alex Tettey-Enyo who accompanied the delegation, said Government was prepared to press for AU support for the Association. He said Ghana would raise the issue at the next Education Ministers Conference scheduled for Kenya.