RESPONSE TO HONOURS BY DR. HAKEEM WEMAH.
11TH APRIL, 2015
Chairman of Council
His Excellency Dr. Joaquim Alberto Chissano
Distinguished invited guest
Ladies and Gentlemen.
My colleagues and I have witnessed many conferment ceremonies. Today, however, we are participants and beneficiaries rather than witnesses.
It is a humbling experience, yet it fills us with great happiness and pride.
Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen, kindly permit me to take this opportunity to make a few remarks.
While on Council, we interacted with all Regional Co-coordinating Councils, Houses of Chiefs and Members of Parliament from the three northern regions with the view to get them to buy into and take ownership of UDS.
It is unfortunate, however, to note the paucity of numbers of our leading politicians especially Members of Parliament, DCE’s, Traditional leaders etc who attend regular UDS congregations. I suggest that these leaders together with the intelligentia etc all adopt the UDS regular congregations as a period of getting together once a year to take stock and then plan and strategize for the future of the north. We might begin this year to hold a major forum entitled “The Relevance of UDS to you and the Northern Development Agenda”. This could be co-sponsored by the Northern Development Forum, SADA and UDS.
Ladies and gentlemen, you are all aware of the reasons for the establishment of this unique University, UDS.
It was set to help correct a long standing injustice that had been perpetrated against the north and to help narrow the gap in education. However, of late this gap is rather widening.
It is estimated that in all the rest of the universities, both public and private, students from the three northern regions hardly make up 5%! UDS thus offers the best opportunity for students and must start an outreach programs that will get northern students to enter UDS in numbers.
The status quo is alarming and causing more disparity and inequality. Inequality is an injustice that breeds dissatisfaction and acrimony and even causes national instability. We all need an affirmative action to avoid this.
Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, from the above observations it is obvious that UDS is more than just a university. It must play a central role and be an integral part of the development of the north-educationally, socio-culturally, socio-economically, etc.
Inter alia, therefore UDS should develop the means, possibly a centre –dedicated to studying, compiling and propagating northern, history, tradition and culture including folklore and oral tradition before all our senior citizen die off and deprive us of their knowledge.
I believe if our people knew more about their common origin and heritage, there would be less inter-ethnic acrimony and indeed be a vehicle for mutual respect and peace building.
At this juncture, I wish to salute all the founding fathers of UDS. I acknowledge and pay tribute to the following:
- The late Brigadier General Dei of blessed memory and his team of the Interim Council, which steered the affairs of the nascent institution for nearly eight years.
- E Kofi Annan for helping to put UDS on the World map by visiting us.
- HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Saud, an alumnus, who was highly enamored by UDS and promised material and financial assistance. UDS has only itself to blame for not following up and benefitting from his offers.
As a lesson therefore, I implore UDS to regularly contact these august personalities and regard them as part of the larger UDS family. Keep them abreast with all developments in UDS.
Finally, on behalf of my fellow graduands of to-day I wish to express our sincere thanks and appreciation for these honours done us.
In addition, on behalf of my loyal and dedicated wife Sala and the rest of my family on whose behalf I accept this honour, I wish to thank Dr. A.B Salifu, Chairman of Council, Prof. Haruna, V.C, both my respected younger brothers and all within the UDS community who contributed to make this occasion such a success.
I also thank everyone else who have sacrificed your time, energy and money to be present here this morning to witness this occasion.
Long Live UDS
Long Live our beloved country, Ghana,
May Allah bless you all.