Last Monday, I made a few remarks about the University for Development Studies which have irked both current and past students alike. The Alumni of the University wrote to Joy FM, demanding an apology from me. That they will not get. So, first of all, let me make it clear that this is not an apology. It’s just a clarification.
If I had spent a little more time to explain my comments, I am sure they would be commending instead of condemning me. So that’s what I am doing now.
Bernard Saibu, who was hosting the ‘Super Morning Show’ had mentioned that Jerry John Rawlings could point to the establishment of University for Development Studies as one of his achievements.
“You call that a university,” I asked.
“Oh, it is,” Bernard responded. “They are churning out graduates.”
“UDS Indeed – University for Development Studies!” I said
Somewhere in the conversation, I made a reference to goats walking on the campuses and mingling sometimes with the students in the classrooms. Bernard responded by saying that since they study agric at the university, it’s alright for goats to be seen roaming the campus and that in fact, there are cattle roaming the streets of Accra.
“You win, my brother,” I said and moved on.
Then comes a major outpouring of grief – mostly from past students of the university. I have received a number of expletive laden messages from current students as well. I don’t get their point.
In that conversation with Bernard, my intention was to point out that the University for Development is so poorly funded and lacking basic infrastructure that Rawlings cannot beat his chest and point to it as a university he built. This is a point I’d stand by any day because whether the alumni and current students of the UDS like it or not, their university is the poorest among the poor universities in this country.
They may be proud of it. I am not. It’s also very clear that the man who built the UDS, Jerry Rawlings, is not as proud of it as he should be. If it was that much of a university in his eyes, he wouldn’t have educated all his children in proper well-equipped, well-staffed universities abroad.
I am quite disappointed, truly, that the past and current students of the UDS should misconstrue my comments and give them the most absurd of interpretations like they are ethnocentric, for example. What the heck? Who said the UDS, being in the north, belongs to northerners alone. Some of my taxes go into its meagre funds.
If the students and alumni of UDS want to behave like ostriches and bury their heads in the sand, they should go ahead. It’s their hypocritical choice but they cannot ask me to do the same.
If they are satisfied that after 18 years of existence, the UDS has no well-stocked libraries, laboratories and lecture halls comparable to even the poor ones on the campuses of the University of Ghana and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, they can go around rejoicing but I won’t join them.
I insist that the UDS deserves much better than what it has been provided over the past 18 years. I also believe strongly that the UDS is not something even Rawlings can point to as something he proudly built and that’s why he wouldn’t send any of his relatives there.
I have nothing against those who study and work at the UDS. But I insist that it’s a university only in name. I do have a lot against those whose actions and inactions have made the UDS as poorly resourced as it has been since its establishment. Elsewhere, for the lack of the basic infrastructure, it would be shut down. I owe no apologies for saying this. As one of the UDS alumni pointed out to me (as if I didn’t know already) I don’t know much. That’s a fact. I may be the most ignorant fool on this planet. But I don’t need a PhD before I am able to tell a university worthy of the name.