Dr Emmanuel Osei Sarpong, a former President of the University of Education (UEW) alumni led a gang of hoodlums last Saturday to disrupted the much anticipated UEW alumni elections at the the Jophus Anamuah-Mensah Conference Centre of the University.
The Alumni has been challenged in recent times after the previous executives failed to organise elections for new executives to be elected to stir the affairs of the association. The absence of executives had caused the Alumni some embarrassments in the immediate past with some disgruntled individuals using it as a platform and symbol of protests and demonstrations amidst strong repudiation of the legitimacy of the purported alumni by yet some other sections of the association.
This was after Management of UEW had committed resources to helping the alumni organise the elections to enable it reorganise for the ultimate benefit of the University, sources have revealed. University authorities according to the sources consequently advertised the elections on the University’s website, in the Ghanaian Times and Daily Graphic, and worked with Dr. Emmanual Osei Sarpong, Ms. Dorothy Adentwi-Hayford and Joshua Upoalkpajor as the immediate past President, Treasurer and Organiser respectively of the alumni to develop the guidelines for the elections and same was advertised at the University’s website for all candidates and delegates. The Minister-of-State-in-Charge of Tertiary Education at the 2nd session of the 23rd Congregation also expressed worry about the image of UEW alumni and urge them to reorganise in order to contribute meaningfully to the growth of the University
Voters, upbeat with the prospect of exercising their political rights as bona fide alums of UEW to elect their executive who will stir affairs traveled from far and near across the country to perform this sacred obligation to the promotion of their alma mater.
Registered voters started arriving at the venue for the elections as early as 7am though Congress was scheduled for 9am with the polls also planned to kick start at 10am and end at 2pm.
Though the programme delayed, it eventually got underway with the Registrar of the University addressing Congress on the purpose of gathering followed by an address from the Vice-Chancellor’s representative, Prof. George Kankam who is also the Dean of Graduate school. Candidates in the elections were given the opportunity to address the registered voters who had been waiting patiently to exercise their democratic rights as alums of UEW. Indeed delegates were so eager and committed to discharging this obligation of electing their leaders to the extent that they called for the speeches to be cut short so that voting could commence immediately. In all 14 candidates were vying for 5 positions in the alumni elections.
Little did the enthusiastic voters know that their high hopes of electing executives were to be derailed by some hoodlums who operated under the tacit instructions of Dr Emmanuel Osei Sarpong to disrupt the voting process after he sensed defeat and this was to be confirmed by the wild jubilations from his supporters greeted the eventual announcement that the elections had been called off.
The grounds for his unconscionable action was on the flimsy excuse that some people were being registered after the close of registration and that the register had some names such as Kofi and bounty mobile money which in his view did not make the register fit for the elections.
This prompted the Director of the Office of Institutional Advancement (OIA), Prof. Samuel Asiedu Addo whose office compiled the register, to explain the processes used to compile the register. According to him, nobody was registered after the close of registration.
He explained that the Alumni Relations Office went for the list of all those who had paid through MTN mobile money and Vodafone cash from the telcos and that he could vouch for the authenticity of the register.
He also added that there were few people who came to the office with evidence of payment before the deadline but whose names had not been captured in the register. He indicated, however, that with such people, they vetted the evidence presented before including them in the register.
The explanation by the Director of OIA then set the stage for the commencement of the election but Dr. Emmanual Osei Sarpong instructed his hoodlums to evade the arena for voting and make sure that nobody voted.
This caused the Vice-Chacellor’s representative, the Registrar, Paul Osei-Barima Esq., the Director of OIA and a senior alumnus, Prof. Samuel Hayford who is also the Dean of the Faculty of Educational Studies to invite the all the candidates into caucus for a peaceful resolution of whatever challenges there were for the 2nd time running. That meeting resolved that the elections be carried on but once again Dr Sarpong instructed his men to ensure that no one voted even though there were many alums who were eager to cast their votes by responding to the call to join a queue for voting to commence.
According to sources at the Congress grounds Dr. Emmanuel Osei Sarpong did not use the electoral system to raise any official protest before or on the day of elections for the electoral management team to address.
It would be recalled that Dr Sarpong was one of the lecturers who was recently granted pardon and subsequent reinstatement by the University Governing Council after mobilizing students and some outsiders to destroy the University’s properties upon their dismissal or termination of contract.
This incident has caused many people in the University community wondering and asking why this gentleman is unrepentant.
According to some votes this was an otherwise very well organised Congress with about 1, 000 registered voters in attendance.
The Registrar of UEW explained that the current executives’ tenure of office expired December 2017, by which time they had failed to organise elections hence the University had to help the alumni organise the elections.
Dr Sarpong came to the Congress with a well built body guard dedicated to him with other hoodlums who tried to intimidate and cow everybody into submission. Dr. Sarpong was heard on several occasions telling these hoodlums not to allow the elections to come off after all candidates including Dr Sarpong himself had agreed to proceed with the elections. The police looked on helplessly as these hoodlums had a field day.In the circumstance the organisers were left with no option than to call off the elections indefinitely.
Many of the delegates expressed their dissatisfaction about the conduct of Dr. Sarpong that eventually led to the cancelation of the elections. Their disappointment was on the fact that the alumni missed out on this big opportunity to build on the interest and momentum that had surrounded the Congress and elections to build the structures of the alumni for proper functioning, to make it attractive to both members and outsiders, and to help it contribute meaningfully to the growth and development of the University as it is being done elsewhere.