FULL TEXT: INAUGURAL ADDRESS OF HIS EXCELLENCY, BERNARD KWAME DZAKPASU, ON THE OCCASION OF HIS SWEARING IN AS PRESIDENT OF THE STUDENTS’ REPRESENTATIVE COUNCIL OF THE 2019/2020 ACADEMIC YEAR
Thank you, Mr Bargbe. I am grateful to you for that warm introduction and for your unwavering enthusiasm and support for Wisconsin International University College Ghana.
I thank all my family, friends and colleagues who have travelled to share this day with us. All have contributed in different ways to provide me with the opportunity I have today.
It is an honour to stand before you today as President of Wisconsin International University College Ghana. I also want to recognize former President H.E Bridget Bonnie for helping to construct the platform we will build upon today and in the coming days. Please join me in a round of applause for our President.
Wisconsin feels like home to me. In many respects, my entire life has been spent in this community since 1993. So allow me to tell you a little bit about the trail that led me here.
Virtually all of my life has been spent in this neighbourhood. I know the streets and appreciate them – I draw strength from their energy and resilience and respect the hard work and determination of the residents.
I saw the dusty roads of Agbogba Junction now KFC to Agbogba Township, though little I saw the beginnings of Wisconsin International University College when I was enrolled in a pre-school 200 meters away from here, thus Eden School complex now known as North Legon school complex.
My first two jobs were all few meters away from Wisconsin including teaching in Child Time preparatory school just on the next street.
Over the years the campus has been home to many courageous and determined students refusing to let any obstacles come between them and their educational dreams many of whom were friends I grew up in this community.
A student like Aunty Lydia, a mother of five kids who is working her way through school to earn a bachelor’s degree and still cares for her home is a current example.
I am determined to blaze the path and to represent a symbol to the many within this vicinity and outside that there is a place for everyone in Wisconsin, regardless of your economic or social background.
It would be premature for me on this occasion to offer an overarching “vision” for Wisconsin International University College. It is my intent to continue to listen and learn, on this journey.
While I am very excited about some initiatives I will describe shortly, I intend to ground these ideas in more dialogue with all stakeholders.
But I am guided by certain principles. We will align our mission to reflect the needs of our students, lecturers, management and community.
Mr Chairman, reputable dignitaries, out-gone executives of the SRC, colleague members, invited guests, fellow wizzians, ladies and gentlemen, “We have got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I have been to the mountaintop and I have seen the Promised Land. I want you to know that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land!”
I borrow these words from Dr Martin Luther King Jr as I have been rendered speechless by the huge honour you have conferred on me today by giving me the opportunity to serve you as the next SRC President for the 2019/2020 academic year as Wisconsin turns 20 years.
Six months ago, I had a dream, a vision to make University Education easier for every wizzian where rather than complain and point fingers, every student is inspired to make an individual effort to help tackle the challenges confronting this institution at the student level.
It has indeed been a very long and difficult journey, fraught with numerous challenges. This day would not have been a reality without God’s special grace that has seen as through the winding paths of this quest. I want to thank my counterpart, the vice-president, Lareba Zakari, who has been instrumental throughout this journey.
Now to the most resilient and dynamic campaign team in student politics: You made this happen. You believed in my vision and made the immense sacrifice of time and energy to make sure that this vision of hope saw the light of day. Special thanks to Hon Stephen Aquah (TESCON VICE PRESIDENT), Baba Abdulla (TEIN PRESIDENT), Jessica, Patrica, Mabel and Fredrick Addo (Goza) who were the un-acclaimed heroes in this journey and to all faithful’s of TEAM KWAME RAJ.
I will like to thank the outgoing SRC president and her team of executives for the good work done and for cooperation throughout the transition process.
But aside all this, I will be forever grateful to you, the good students of this institution for your support, advice, prayers and the massive confidence you have posed in me. I will not let you down.
Mr Chairman, colleague students, in the just-ended election, we ran our campaign on a very simple message: that is to solve the little but pertinent issues confronting students. I’m not promising you heaven, neither am I promising you that all students problems will be solved in one year. NO! But at least I’m confident that after our tenure of service we will enjoy good quality internet service for research and entertainment as well as improved conditions in our washrooms. Next year by this time, you will be able to access the library till a least 10 pm with well-equipped security.
Our registration and fees payments will be improved giving students less headache and stress. As part of our campaign promise to ensure easy access to acquiring laptops, I am glad to announce sony PLC agents in Ghana are ready to partner the SRC to provide Sony tablets through the hire purchase scheme in all this, I assure you that there will be value for the money you pay. Under my watch as President, financial prudence, transparency and accountability will be qualities that will be upheld dearly in the next one year. We will not under any circumstance break the chain of communication between school management, the SRC and the student populace. I will be honest with you with the successes we chalk and of course, with the challenges we encounter as a council.
Mr Chairman, fellow students, the 2019/2020 academic year promises to be quite different from the usual years. This is because our colleagues from the Kumasi and city Campus will be joining the rest of the students on main to have sessions that bring the entire University body together as we celebrate 20 years as an institution. Our administration has plans and in due time discuss with management on how to make this anniversary a memorable one.
Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, if history has taught us anything, it is the fact that all extraordinary achievements were accomplished by ordinary individuals with a vision and an extraordinary level of commitment. Each day, Wisconsin continues to make remarkable strides because of the sacrifices and hard work of ordinary men and women who have a vision of one day seeing Wisconsin become the best University not just in Ghana, but in Africa. I challenge you this evening to take inspiration from these extraordinary men and women, by taking an active part in the running of the SRC. Do not, at any point in time perceive the SRC as being just the executives. We are all members of the SRC. Your talent and skills are all that Wisconsin needs right now to take it to greater heights. Barack Obama perfectly sums up what I am trying to say when he said: “Let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other”.
Fellow students, I made a first request that you vote me into office. You did, and I’m honestly grateful for that. Permit me to make one more request: a change of attitude and approach to matters of the SRC. I humbly request that you make conscious efforts to attend SRC programs, care for SRC property and that of the school and offer any form of support to the council.
Change is a continuous process and not an event. In some instances, the desired change will only manifest after a very dark night. In these difficult moments, I will be counting on you to maintain the faith and confidence you placed in me by the endorsement in the last election.
Now to the other SRC executives, we have been entrusted with the huge mandate of steering the affairs of the SRC for the next academic year. We have a responsibility to provide honest and inspiring leadership that will light the way and motivate the student populace to contribute the little they can to the development of this great institution. Let us not take this privilege for granted.
Onward we row in this struggle, to one day set our sail at the shore of a safe paradise. On this quest, many have captained and many have passed on. This struggle to see a positive advancement in our institution, on a boat that set sail since 2000. Would we ever get there? It is an individual responsibility as a junior member of this institution to get involved in this breeze of change. With a collective effort, we can make enormous strides towards development. Together, we stand as the stack of the broom that can never be broken, never be broken along faculty nor departmental lines. Let us inculcate this attitude of performing our responsibilities as citizens of Wisconsin. Without this spirit and attitude, we can only try. Past SRC Presidents have wielded this sail and rowed a few miles, chalking marvellous achievements. How far we can go as an institution depends on how much we make the love for Wisconsin our priority. Let’s show the world the power of HOPE. For we only achieve when we believe we can. Let’s walk the talk and cruise to victory. I believe that tomorrow would be better than today.
Nothing could be more important to this institutions future than the task that has been assigned to us, and we must not fail. From what I’ve seen and learned here, I have every confidence that together, we – students, staff and management – will all participate in leading the way to new ground.
It is with humility and a burning passion to realize the goals I have outlined that I accept the presidency of Wisconsin International University.
Thank you very much.