The University of Education, Winneba (UEW), has condemned the recent statement made by a group known as the Concerned Staff, which called for the removal of the Governing Council Chairman, Nana Ofori Ansah I. Describing the statement as unsavoury and reprehensible, UEW asserts its commitment to the Chairman and denounces the group’s accusations.
The Convener for the Concerned Staff, Professor George Kankam Senior, accused Nana Ofori Ansah I of violating the principles of the university by attempting to nominate a candidate who was not shortlisted for the position of vice-chancellor.
However, UEW dismisses these claims as a diversionary tactic aimed at pressuring the Chairman to comply with the group’s desires, even if it contradicts the university’s mission and vision.
In a strongly worded statement, UEW clarifies that there is no heightened tension or chaos on campus. On the contrary, the university emphasizes that there is absolute peace among students, faculty, and other stakeholders who are diligently carrying out their normal activities. The statement highlights a renewed sense of energy and purpose among workers in their pursuit of the university’s mission and vision.
UEW attributes this positive working environment, in large part, to the wisdom of the Council under the leadership of Nana Ofori Ansah I. The Council established a reconciliation committee to address grievances and subsequently implemented the committee’s recommendations. This approach has fostered a spirit of collaboration and unity at UEW.
The university reaffirms its commitment to maintaining a conducive atmosphere for teaching, learning, and research. UEW encourages all stakeholders to remain focused on the institution’s core objectives and to contribute positively to its continued growth and development.
Below is the full statement by UEW
RE: STATEMENT BY CONCERNED STAFF OF THE UNIVERSITY OF EDUCATION, WINNEBA (UEW)
A statement by certain concerned staff of UEW signed by Prof. George Kankam, which he later followed up with an interview on Eyewitness News of Citi FM on Thursday, 1st June, 2023, in connection with the above-mentioned subject, has come to our attention.
The contents of the release are unsavoury, unfortunate, reprehensible, and targeted at running down the reputation and the relentless effort of the Council Chairman in his leadership to bring lasting peace to UEW.
Since his assumption of office in August 2021, the Chairman, apart from the numerous responsibilities of his office, which he has efficiently delivered, has been pivotal in unifying the various factions of UEW to advance the mission and vision of the university.
We view the statement as a diversionary tactic to coerce the Chairman to submit to their whims and caprices, however inimical it may be to achieving the mission and vision of the university. Be that as it may, we wish to respond as follows:
1. Contrary to the impression that there is heightened tension at UEW and that the community is tipping towards a state of chaos, we wish to state unequivocally that there is absolute peace on campus with students, faculty, and other stakeholders going about their normal business.
In fact, workers feel a renewed sense of energy and purpose in pursuing the mission and vision of the university. It is trite knowledge that this resurgent working environment at UEW has to a great extent come from the Council’s wisdom, under the leadership of Nana Ofori Ansah I, to constitute a reconciliation committee to hear aggrieved persons and the subsequent implementation of the committee’s recommendations. This fact can be verified by any media outlet interested in reporting the truth.
2. It is important to stress that the said 2021 Search Committee’s report was never received or tabled before Council at any point. The Chairman of the Council, therefore, has no idea where the said report is, let alone its contents.
Given the situation, how could the Council Chair accept or assume liability for the implementation of a report that he hasn’t seen or has any idea of its whereabouts? Critically, the said report was meant to look for a qualified candidate for appointment as Vice-Chancellor to assume office from 1st October 2021 (i.e. replacement for Prof. Afful-Broni), but as rightly pointed out by Prof. Kankam, an injunction was placed on the university, thus curtailing the then existing opportunity to consider the said report. With the reinstatement of Prof. Avoke, the report in question became moot, necessitating a new process to find the successor to Prof. Avoke, effective October 1, 2023.
3. On the allegations relative to the appointment of a new Chancellor, it is worthy of note that Council established a Search Committee in accordance with the UEW 2020 Statutes to find the new Chancellor. It was up to the Committee to do its work. We must stress that neither the Chairman nor the Council ever interfered with the Committee’s work.
The Search Committee alone made the decision to extend the deadline. It is also important to note that, contrary to the claim that the ultimate person appointed as Chancellor was not shortlisted, the Search Committee’s report presented to the Governing Council indicates that the now-appointed Chancellor was duly shortlisted.
4. It is a complete fabrication to claim that the Council Chairman introduced Prof. Mitchual as the incoming Vice-Chancellor to the President of the Republic of Ghana. To be clear, no one has been introduced by the Chairman anywhere as the next Vice-Chancellor.
5. The assertion that, barely seven months into his tenure, the local branches of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) and the Ghana Association of University Administrators (GAUA) issued a joint press statement calling on the appointing authorities to withdraw Nana Ofori Ansah I’s appointment as the Chairman of the Governing Council falls flat in the face.
The key is that the said statement was discredited as unilateral, and as a result, the authors of the said statement have since retracted and apologised unreservedly to Nana Ofori Ansah I. One is therefore at a loss as to why that statement can be used as the basis to lay claim to anything.
6. The allegation that the Council Chairman disregarded statutes and established procedures, for instance, in the appointment of the Chancellor for the university, is a red herring relative to UEW 2020 Statute Four (4), which provides for the appointment of a Chancellor.
The provisions of UEW 2020 Statute Four were accorded full legal effect. It would, therefore, have been better for appreciation if the specific provision(s) breached were stated. In the absence of the aforementioned, it is our considered view that the frivolous claim should be disregarded with the contempt it deserves.
7. Over the years, the university has always assigned a vehicle to the Council Chairman’s office for official engagements. The vehicle is kept in Winneba and released as and when necessary.
8. It is impossible and inappropriate to compare the circumstances surrounding the appointment of a vice-chancellor at UEW to those at the University of Ghana. The University of Ghana did not wake up one day to find a rightfully appointed officer thrown out of office because of the selfish and wicked agenda of some individuals.
So situations or challenges that may appear similar may have different underlying causes and therefore require different approaches to resolving them. It was very ingenious on the part of a professor of his calibre to comfortably make such a blind comparison.
9. Ironically, Prof. Kankam is on a post-retirement contract and acted as the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies for at least three years under Prof. Afful-Broni, contrary to statutory provision. Isn’t it also interesting that he claims to represent convocation on the search party when the statutes make no provision for convocation representation but rather academic board representation? In any case, why go to town with the details of a search party report when the Council is not apprised of its details?
10. It must be indicated that Prof. Kankam is known to spew lies. About two weeks ago, he wrote to the Chairman alleging the award of two contracts at the university at the cost of GHS100 million each to “pre-determined National Democratic Congress (NDC) contractors and asking the Chairman to give the said contracts to New Patriotic Party (NPP) contractors” when, in actual fact, it was an open advertisement in the national dailies for pre-qualification (expression of interests).
He has for some time made unsuccessful overtures to win favours from the chairman, hence his hatred for the Chairman and the subsequent spewing of lies. His actions come from none other than a frustrated and mischievous retiree (pensioner) who is desperately seeking an extension of his post-retirement contract and does not see his way clear.
On the basis of the aforementioned information, we implore the general public to treat his press statement and subsequent interview with the disdain they merit.