CAUGHT IN A QUAGMIRE OF OUTRAGEOUS UTILITY BILLS- THE PLIGHT OF ORDINARY LEGON BOY AND LEGON GIRL

The ordinary student is entangled in a complex web of student activists and an SRC who claim to be fighting for the interest of the ordinary student. Several people have found the current proposed bills as an opportunity to pursue selfish interests.  There are people who want to play on the sentiments and emotions expressed by the ordinary student to win some cheap political points for their political grandmasters while some are working in a haste to retain their crown as activists of the year. Others are busily scavenging on the emotions of the ordinary student to register a good place in their hearts to enhance chances of being elected as president of the SRC come next year. Just like in the Game of Thrones, the ordinary student has become a wildling caught between the winter snows that come along with the white walkers and the Wall which is jealously guarded by the men on the nights watch. Who should the ordinary student turn to for help?
How will the ordinary student make it to castle black?

University management has a penchant for using students as bait to get government to kowtow to their demands. The university management has consistently held students to ransom while government has consistently shirked its responsibilities towards financing part of the cost of higher education in the country. The ultimate sufferer has always been young ambitious students who through the actions and inactions of the other major stakeholders are losing faith in the country.
This is the first time details of proposed fees have been shared with the general student body. Should we commend the SRC executives for being transparent or should we blame them for creating needles panic amongst students in a matter which they could have resolved considering the fact that the fees still remain proposed and not certified? Only time will tell.

Our nemeses are out there and are indefatigable in their efforts directed at compelling students to pay outrageous utility bills in order to get rid of the growing utility debts which are resting comfortably on their balance sheet. Students have been magnanimous and benevolent enough in lending a helping hand to the other stakeholders of tertiary education in solving our problems. Not too long ago, students painstakingly had to cough out one hundred Ghana cedis each to procure generator sets for the university-most of which are yet to generate  electricity especially in the traditional halls of residence.

Why have management and government decided to activate only portions of the infamous *UPSA declaration (March 25, 2015)* which is student unfriendly? What has happened to the other provisions of the declaration that that bothers on exploring other alternative sources of power like solar and biogas and also alternative sources of water like treated harvested rainwater?

Why is it that management of the university of Ghana  will still go ahead to propose utility bills despite the minister of education  coming out to assure students that government will not push the burden of the payment of the utilities to students? Have students now become bargaining tools to the university management? Is the action of management justified probably because government has shown bad faith in honouring its commitments to the university? Who is telling us the truth? Is it management through the SRC or government through the minister of education?

The SRC executives must take down their selfie sticks and shut down their phone cameras in order to maintain focus in their quest to resist successfully the introduction of those bills. Probably if we work harder than the number of times we take selfies and splash them on our facebook walls as well as other social media platforms as executives, victory should not be farfetched. The days of stardom and hype are over. Madam SRC president must stop being a celebrity SRC president and embrace the challenge her new portfolio throws at her. She must work hard to validate the trust that the majority of voters in legon have reposed in her. We must once again make the students the *FOCUS* rather than the selfie sticks and the front cameras.

Campus media has a role to play in the declaration of war against utility bills. The media has come to take its place as the fourth arm of government in any democratic dispensation. Radio universe has a role to play in this struggle. Radio universe should be the medium and independent referee that brings to light the truth and facts in this whole struggle. I believe that with a little effort, professional and ethical standards, we shall surely see the light. Radio universe can help enrich the discourse by contacting all parties in the negotiation process. Students are tired of the one sided nature of the reportage. Students would love to hear management’s take on the ongoing speculations and I believe that radio universe is well placed to do students that favour.

We can never have a fruitful discussion without talking about the broader students unions. There is only one question on my mind when it comes to our dealings as an SRC with NUGS and USAG. Are students getting value for their money looking at the huge amounts of money spent yearly on the external affairs committee of the SRC in the name of NUGS and USAG capitation and membership dues? This question is difficult to answer. Maybe we should follow *BREXIT* by having our *LEGEXIT* should NUGS and USAG fail to successfully ensure that management of the university restrains from imposing those bills on students.

Students certainly have a role to play. We must change our attitudes regarding the abuse and misuse of utilities in our various halls of residence. This is the only way we can eliminate wastage and reduce the skyrocketing utility bills which have become a headache to both government and the management of the university.

We can only resolve this impasse when we present a unified front as students. All student activists on campus should come under one umbrella and work in tandem with the SRC executives in order to reap the benefits of synergy and unity of objectives. The SRC executives should also make themselves easily accessible. They must run an open door policy. A leader who is not opened to suggestions from their followers is likely to fail. _Arrogance, pride and i-know-it-all attitudes_ are recipes of a failed leadership. It is never late to make amends. We have what it takes to win this battle.  Our fate still remains in our own hands!!!

*#THE ORDINARY LEGON BOY*

*#THE VOICE OF THE ORDINARY STUDENT*

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