MESSAGE ON THE STATE OF THE UNION BY THE SRC PRESIDENT TERRICK NII OBODAI TORGBOR, ON FRIDAY, 3RD MAY, 2019.
Speaker, am glad to be here with you again in this august house, the general assembly of the SRC, to perform, for the second time, the pleasant duty of fulfilling my constitutional mandate, by giving to my honorable members and the entire students body a message on the state of our union.
In accordance with protocol, it is good to see the Vice President, H.E. Theodore Godza Kwasi, the speaker, Rt Hon. Kumi Derrick, the deputy speaker, Hon. Kabutey Wisdom Jnr , the Chief Justice, SRC Executives, General assembly members, Judicial council members, Committee members , Departmental Executives, newly elected SRC Executives and fellow Professionals are all present.
Mr. Speaker, I hope the house will bear with me, as I have a lot to say, and I may take quite some time.
Mr. Speaker let me start by appreciating General Assembly members, for by far engaging in constructive deliberations the past months. Frankly speaking, their contributions again, by far have been one of the best ever in the history of General Assembly. The Latin statement, ‘cui multum datum est multum sperandum’ which simply means ‘to whom much is given much is expected’; to honorable General Assembly members your constituent gave you much, and Istand here today to let you know that, you have lived to expectations. On behalf of the Executive Council, I say Ayekoo. To the distinguished guests here with us today for this moment in our SRC, the second State of the SRC address after the passing of the SRC Constitution, I say, AKWAABA.
Mr. Speaker, some months ago I took office as SRC President with no legal document regulating the activities of the SRC. We were tested. There was no document giving the SRC a sense of responsibility as a union. For over two years we watched, for over two years we witnessed the struggle of our union without any legal document. Our Predecessors fought very hard, we were not left behind, we also fought very hard.
Despite all our parliamentary disagreements, our hesitations and our fears, we prevailed. Today we should be proud of the results. We have a constitution. It is for this document that we are all gathered here today. Our Constitution declares that from time to time the President shall present to the General Assembly information about the state of our Union, the Students’ Representative Council (SRC).
Mr. Speaker, the issues of welfare; spirituality, penalty on fees and registrations, security off campus, poor publicity, lack of study areas during examination, lack of street lights on and off campus, lack of research aids such as WiFi, lack of scholarship opportunities for final years, sports related issues, accommodation issues have caused a lot of anxiety among students. They are not new. These struggles I have witnessed over and over. These struggles are the reason I run for President. The most issues I receive regularly are WiFi and Penalty on registration.
For the many who voted for Progress were a bit disappointed because Progress hasn’t come fast enough. They were frustrated and angry. But I say to them, let us keep hope alive. Let us not give up yet for Progress is already here. We face big and difficult challenges as a union and the best we can do is stand together. I know for a fact that as a union, “we are strained but hopeful, struggling but encouraged”.
It’s because of this spirit, this great decency and great strength, that I have never been more hopeful about the future of our union than I am this afternoon. Despite our hardships, our union is strong. We do not give up. We do not quit. We do not allow fear or division to break our spirit. In this new season, it’s time our union got a government that matches our decency; that embodies our strength.
Mr. Speaker, the two semesters of the TERRICK – LED administration saw some progress in our union. The campaign last year gave rise to a Progressive Agenda, an Agenda that focused on Progress; progress in welfare, progress in security, progress in academics, progress in capacity building, progress in sports, arts and entertainment, progress in empowerment and general progress on students’ interest, hence THE 20 PROGRESSIVE AGENDA.
I thought I’d get some applause on that one.
Mr. Speaker, let me share with the house a few of achievements.
Let me start with spiritual
I will not say today that every student is spirituality sound, but I would say the many who understand and walk in faith and in truth are sound in spirit. The Executive Council in Collaboration with the Professional Christian Union the first week of last semester and this semester paved way for students to walk with GOD by organizing a week of fasting and prayers. Building faith and hope is what our administration stands for. There are a lot of things as a union we need to work on; and faith is one of those. It does not make things easy, it makes them possible. It has always been possible together. And God is the reason. To our fellow Islamic brothers and sisters, you weren’t left behind as we organized the Islamic seminars this semester to enhance your faith in the deep teaching of the Quran.
Mr. Speaker, place of worship for our Christian’s brothers and sisters has been one of our challenges since the 90s. So many deliberations went to council to get a place for our Christian union and by the grace of God Council have agreed to let the Christian union use the newly built auditorium for PCU services.
GLORY BE TO GOD!
Mr. Speaker, The SRC in collaboration with JCR organized an Akwaaba week celebration to welcome the freshmen to campus and also give them the opportunity to socialize and get acquainted with the school. The celebration was filled with activities centered on building the self-capacity of freshmen; startup conference which gave students a reason to become their own bosses and focus more on entrepreneurship due to the current state of nation in terms of job availability, the finance literacy day; which sorted to advising students on financial issues, such as saving and investing for the tomorrow, the chat room for freshmen ladies to understand the new environment they find themselves and how to cope, a cooking competition which was held at the UPSA hostel and finally crowned the occasion, with an artist night to properly welcome freshmen. These are a few of the activities and programs.
Mr. Speaker, under my leadership, the women’s commission has by far been exceptional in empowering women and ladies on campus. The commission organized The Chat room as part of the akwaaba week celebration. The women’s commission also organized the student entrepreneurship week which was dubbed “ignite your idea”. On the first day, we had the entrepreneurship master class to educate students on how to start their own business and also train startup owners. The business clinic which had persons coming from the media and investments for the students to consult them with regards to the business they had in mind. The last day was the business pitch in partnership with the UPSA business incubator where students with brilliant ideas pitched their business idea. 8 students picked up forms to pitch and out of these were 7 males and a female.
After the pitching and presentation of the business plans, 3 students were chosen as winners. The first person was given GHC 2000, the second GHC 1500 and the third GHC 1000. Aside from these monies, the business incubator agreed to give these winners 6 months of training and to give them another opportunity to present what they have achieved so far in the business.
Mr. Speaker, the welfare committee of the SRC was able to help about 93 students in the payments of their school fees last semester. They help included paying some penalties of some of the students and paying some part of the fees for some other students as well. It is under this leadership that saw 27 students writing exams even when they have not been able to register. This is the first ever that has happened on campus and I am proud to mention that this happened under my administration.
Mr. Speaker, under my leadership and that of the external affairs president, in talks with management were able to exempt about 200 students on the student’s loan from paying penalties last semester as the loan came at a much later time. With the help of the external affairs president, the loan was released after days and weeks of follow ups.
Mr. Speaker, last week we submitted a list of students on the student’s loan totally to 631 students to management for them to be exempted from paying penalties since the student’s loan delayed and penalty is at ghc 300.00 now.
Mr. Speaker, the external affairs secretariat under the leadership of H.E. Fuseini Abdulai, we are happy to mention that, the Ghana Union of Professional Students is finally united. This was made possible by the kind courtesy of the President of the commission. The school saw 4 of its students aspiring for the portfolio of the treasurer, financial controller, coordinating secretary and the international relations secretary aspiring for GUPS position of which emerged as Treasurer and the financial controller of GUPS.
H.E. Fuseini also organized a NUGS week to empower the union and to make known to students since most students had no idea about such a union.
Mr. Speaker, it is under my administration that the SRC was given a new SRC office fully air conditioned to enable us have the peace and the serenity of making decisions that will be of great benefit to the students.
It is also in my administration that I gladly say that the students ID card has been changed to an electronic ID card to enable the students have passage to the library and to prevent people who are not students to visit the library.
Mr. Speaker, I stand on authority and it is with pleasure that I announce to the house that the much awaited constitution of the SRC was passed. Now to our disposal is the SRC constitution and it has been made available to students on the SRC website with printed copies at the library.
Mr. Speaker, I was once the speaker for the General Assembly, but the constitution paved way for you to be appointed as the Speaker.
The internship and scholarship committee under the committees of the SRC organized a program in collaboration with DL&D Consult on 24th November, 2019 to provide scholarship opportunity to students as well as internship opportunities.
Mr. Speaker, my administration as part of our campaign promises promised to provide study abroad program for our colleagues students which to the glory of God happened; the first phase is study in china and the last one which happened this Tuesday at GH1 which is the study in Turkey and we were amazed at the huge turn up of students.
Mr. Speaker, we recognized the need for every student to have a laptop for the purpose of academic work. Research presentation, a key skill in the environment we find ourselves has made it possible for every student to get a laptop. Again, a necessary soft skill tool needed is PowerPoint and the various Microsoft office suits. My administration embarked on a sale promo where we patterned a laptop provider to make available laptops to our students at a very affordable price and on installment. We continue the service this semester to make studies friendly and convenient for students.
Mr. Speaker we also did our best as a union to support our sports boys and girls at the just ended GUSA games. We made available resources in terms of finance and other resources.
Mr. Speaker, the administration in partnership with DVLA TERT Drive, provided the platform for students interested in acquiring a drivers’ license to do so at a cheaper price and also at their convenience. We had the DVLA officials come over to engage the students on their activities. In all a total number of 29 students were enrolled.
Mr. Speaker, our annual SRC week celebration also came on successfully even though we experienced some setbacks. This year week celebration dubbed Empire; every boundary matters. The week celebration started on 1st April to the 7th of April 2019.
Outline of SRC week celebration.
Mr. Speaker, the week celebration was a success just that the artists’ night wasn’t all that encouraging due to some factors beyond control.
Mr. Speaker, the week celebration was crowned by face of UPSA which was held at Naptex auditorium. Fifteen students contested for this and at the end we had two winners namely Nana Aba and Micheal.
Mr. Speaker, it will interest you to know that these winners will go for a ten (10) day holiday tour at Dubai.
Mr. Speaker, under my leadership, management has agreed to run a shuttle service on campus to convene students after evening lectures to their hostels particularly the school hostel due to the insecurity nature of the road leading to the school hostel.
Mr. Speaker, our public address systems are well installed, our washrooms are still not in the best of shapes which is not the fault of the SRC but rather the irresponsibility of our colleagues students to take care of their immediate environment.
Mr. Speaker, the long awaited WIFI is in now after so much deliberations and lobby with management. We advise students to use it for academic purpose as they claim that’s the purpose they needed it for.
Mr. Speaker, place of study has always being one of our biggest problems getting to exams. By the grace of God, we spoke to management and we came into agreement to run a 24 hours, 7 days library which commenced yesterday.
I Think the SRC deserves some yeeeeeeh yeeeh for this.
Mr. Speaker, our tenure of office is almost over, last week Friday, we had a very successful and a very peaceful election ever held on UPSA campus despite the numerous court cases against us; we sailed through.
I must use this opportunity to congratulate the Electoral Commissioner, Hon. Daniel Nuku Kove, popularly known as EC Facebook and his team for such an amazing job done.
Mr. Speaker, our financial standing as a union is not bad, considering so many activities to be embarked on. My administration started with GHC 582,420.00 as dues from students and the current balance now stands at GHC 305,415.56.
Mr. Speaker, the house should also take note of the pass out of two of our dearest colleagues.
Mr. Speaker, currently, we have a student populace of GHC 10,879 which comprises 3,126 level 100s, 2,976 level 200s, 2,078 level 300s and 2,699 final year students.
Mr. Speaker, we will be donating 50 wall clocks to the exams unit on Monday to help in examination processes.
Mr. Speaker we are also currently working on some vital projects such as changing the Notice Board of the university and also providing shades at quadrangle to provide shade for our students during the day time. These projects will be completed before our handling over ceremony.
Mr. Speaker, these are a few of our achievements. Let me not leave out the reduction of penalty fee at Ghc400 to Ghc300.
Mr. Speaker, we have our challenges but I must say with authority that our union is stronger than ever before; our union is in good health.
I thank you very much for your attention.
May God bless our union, may God bless UPSA, and may God bless our homeland Ghana and make her great and strong.