Despite the low attendance caused by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) parliamentary primaries scheduled for Saturday, June 13, debate on the University of Environment and Sustainable Development Bill (2014) which is at the consideration stage, generated a lot of arguments on the floor of parliament yesterday.
The bill had cited Somanya, capital of the Yilo Krobo District of the Eastern Region, as the location of the main campus of the university with satellite campuses at Donkorkrom, capital of Kwahu Afram Plains North District and other parts of the country as deemed fit, but the minority members, led by the deputy (minority) leader, Dominic Nitiwul, objected strongly to the selection of Somanya as the main campus of the proposed new university.
According to him, the choice of Somanya and Donkorkrom was made for political expediency since the two districts have been the ruling party’s strongholds since the inception of the Fourth Republic.
Mr Nitiwul argued that under normal circumstances, Koforidua, which is the regional capital, should have been selected for the main campus of the new university and satellite campuses sited in other major towns of the region.
“With all the public universities that the previous government had started, they all started in the regional capitals and satellites campuses spread across the regions,” he said, stressing that the choice of Somanya and Donkorkrom was just for political reasons and not any academic or administrative reasons.
He served strong notice that the minority would kick against the selection of the two towns during the third reading of the bill, by which time most of the minority members would be in the House.
“Mr speaker, we as minority will contest this strongly during the third reading because we think Koforidua, which is the regional capital, should have been the appropriate choice,” he emphasized.
The NPP Member for Sekondi, Papa Owusu-Ankomah, said since the new university is for the Eastern Region, the region’s name should be quoted in the bill for members to debate which town should best be selected for the main campus, adding that for the Committee on Education to name towns before the bill is debated is improper.
The MP for Okaikoi Central, Patrick Boamah, said that if the choice of Somanya and Donkorkrom were not for political reasons, Bonsu Aboretum could have been selected by the government and converted into the main campus since some infrastructure is already there.
A deputy minister of education in-charge of Tertiary, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, said it was a technical committee headed by Dr Christine Amoako-Nuamah which recommended the two towns to be used for the main campuses of the new university and that it was not for any political expediency.
Source: Daily Guide.