Editor's note: In his message to YEN and Ghana's higher education institutions, Anamoah Alex Kofi talks about the still unresolved issue of needless violence on student campuses across Ghana. Kofi is a graduate nurse and a former public relations officer of the National Union of Ghana Students at the University of Cape Coast secretariat.
The Ghanaian student life is rich and tradition-based, with the strong sense of brotherhood uniting graduates and those still studying.
The lives of Ghana's students, as well as the dignity of student population, are also in danger because of some questionable, violent and riotous practices that go on year after year with no real attempts to stop them.
Over the years, the fight for supremacy among sections of students on the various university campuses in Ghana has been a headache and a shame to the institutions they belong to.
In Ghana, the most highly celebrated university halls are: Casely Hayford Hall (CasFord) – the UCC, the University Hall (Katanga) – KNUST, Mensah Sarbah Hall (Okponglo) – UG Legon, Unity Hall (Continental) – KNUST, Commonwealth Hall (Vandals) – UG Legon, to name a few.
These halls have produced key and prominent personalities in Ghana that have occupied great leadership positions and played political as well as non-political roles in the development of this country.
Leaders like Mustapha Hamid, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Abraham Amaliba and Seth Terkper spent their school days in the Casely Hayford Hall of UCC. President John Dramani Mahama, Tsatsu Tsikata and Honorable Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa hung out at the Commonwealth Hall of UG – Legon. P. V. Obeng, Abubakar Ahmed (Blakk Rasta) and DCOP Kofi Boakye spent their days back in school at the University Hall (Katanga) of KNUST.
Just to mention a few.
One would expect that inhabitants of these great halls will rather not engage in vandalism but encourage academic excellence among themselves through healthy academic competitions.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.
On March 17, 2017, a section of students from the University of Ghana and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology stormed the University of Cape Coast campus as part of their sister hall’s week celebration and ended up vandalizing properties of Oguaa Hall of UCC. They stabbed a student in the process, an injury reported to possibly paralyze the student permanently.
Prior to that, a group of students believed to be from the Casely Hayford Hall had also attacked their colleagues in the Atlantic Hall when Casely Hayford Hall embarked on their usual procession through the University of Cape Coast.
Many more examples of such attacks on the various campuses can be cited. The results are scary, gory and bloody.
Such occurrences have led to the postponement of the 2017 Hall Week of Oguaa Hall and the near-cancellation of the 50th Hall Week of CasFord.
But the question is, will the cancellation of a particular year’s Hall Week permanently solve this problem that has existed for almost 50 years?
This has long been an inheritance from one year group to the other of the halls involved, and remains an issue whose impact must not in any way be taken with a pinch of salt. Rather, a serious attention ought to be given to it to ensure its eradication in the shortest possible time.
To deal with this problem, authorities of the various universities are first of all to liaise to ascertain why these students behave the way they do when visiting sister halls, and also the timing for this visits.
Two main hall alliances exist in this country: the UNICASSAR, made up of Katanga, CasFord and Sarbah halls), and the PAWA, made up of Vandals, Continentals and ATL halls.
During the Hall Weeks of these halls, sister halls visit to participate in their singing and drumming (morale), in most cases on Fridays. It will therefore be prudent on the part of the various universities to draw up their calendar for the Hall Week celebrations in such a way that Katanga, CasFord and Sarbah halls celebrate their Hall Weeks at the same time on their campuses, with Vandals, Continentals and ATL halls also celebrating at the same time on their respective campuses.
This will go a long way to prevent sister halls from visiting during Hall Weeks since they will also be busy with their own activities.
This may just be one of the many options. Inasmuch as it may not completely do away with the rivalry, it will surely present some light at the end of the tunnel. This solution will ensure that the very visits that keep igniting this rivalry each year will be curbed.
As students, our aim should always be learning in order to impact on our country positively, and we must do so in unity even as we have fun on our campuses. Let’s value the lives of our colleagues and desist from inflicting injuries that may damage them for the rest of their lives. Let’s say NO to hooliganism and vandalism. May God help us all.
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