Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Drama at UCC campus, students walk out during political debate


    There was a dramatic turn of events during a
political debate between representatives of the National Democratic
Congress (NDC) party and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) at the University
of Cape Coast (UCC) on Saturday during which a misunderstanding led
some students to stage a walk out amidst hooting and booing in protest
against what they termed, "unfair interference" by the chairman for the
      The debate which was organized by the local branch of the National
Union of Ghana Students (NUGS), on the topic: "My policy on graduate
unemployment", was to enable all political parties with representatives in
Parliament to outline their programmes on how they will solve the graduate
unemployment problem in the country.
      All went well at the programme, attended by only the two parties,
represented by the NDC Cape Coast parliamentary candidate, Mr Ebo
Barton-Odro and the NPP General Secretary, Nana Ohene Ntow who both
lined out the programmes their parties would address to solve the graduate
unemployment problem at.
    However, hell broke loose and things turned sour when the chairman, Mr
Michael Sekyi Darko, a graduate student asked Mr Barton-Odro to sum-up
before Nana Ohene Ntow took his turn.
       This did not go down well with Mr Barton-Odro who threatened to walk
out of the hall if the chairman insisted that he first took his turn, because
according to him, once the students had voted for the order of presentation
during the programme and he was the last speaker events should continue in
the same sequence and the students joined in his protestations, creating a
tense atmosphere ruing which some of them walked out.
      Obviously disappointed by the turn of events, Mr Darko used his 
powers as chairman and gave his closing remarks, denying both
representatives the opportunity of a summary.
     The close of the event could not cool down tempers as a student charged
on the chairman but was restrained by others.
      In his speech, Mr Barton-Odro had pledged his party's commitment to
make teaching so attractive with incentives like "professional allowances for
certificated teachers and "hardship allowances" for those in deprived areas
to attract more graduates to take up the profession.
      He said an enabling environment will be created for the private sector to
be more vibrant to absorb more graduates urging them against the over
dependency on the public sector for "non-existence jobs".
      He said the youth in general were the party's focus and under the
administration of Prof. Evans Atta-Mills a "Youth in Industry Programme"
will be launched to, among others, assist graduates who will exhibit
entrepreneurial potentials to set up their own businesses.
     Mr. Barton-Odro expressed concern about the inability of the
government to implement the ban on the importation of rice and poultry
products which had resulted in the collapse of the local poultry and rice
production industries.
     For his part, Nana Ntow said his party will pursue a policy that will
diversify and expand the economy base of the country to give impetus for
the private sector to grow.
     He said more emphasis will also be on the training of high calibre of
human resources for all sectors of the economy while agriculture will be
given a boost for it to absorb more graduates to help solve the problem.

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