Mr Ahmed Ibrahim, the Deputy Majority Chief Whip of Parliament, has cautioned students to resist attempts by politicians to use them as political thugs to cause violence towards the November General Election and thereafter.
“The youth must say no to any form of election violence; it is an ill-wind that must be eliminated in society in order to sustain and strengthen democracy in the country,” he said.
Mr Ibrahim, who is also the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for the Banda Constituency, in the Brong Ahafo Region, gave the caution in Accra at a seminar on Peaceful Elections, organised by the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA).
The seminar, which formed part of the SRC Week Celebration, was on the theme: “Ensuring Peaceful Elections; The Role of Students”.
The MP said ahead of the forthcoming general election the role of students was to engage themselves in issue-based debates, and not in personality attacks.
He cited an instance during his school days, where they were asked to vote against the NDC over the introduction of school fees.
He said they voted at that time for a new government but the promise was never fulfilled, hence there was the need for students to interrogate issues and push to establish a logical conclusion.
He said researching into policies and ideologies of political parties would enable students to debate and analyse issues prudently.
He said as budding intellectuals, they could contribute, and propose alternative policies, subject politicians to debates and convincing arguments.
Mr Ibrahim said the culture of the youth involving themselves in violence were mostly attributed to unemployment, however, the challenge had always been that most universities in the country were not concentrating on building entrepreneurial skills.
He suggested that in order to manage the rate of unemployment, as a measure to discourage youth involved in violence, entrepreneurial development should be a core subject across all universities.
He explained that the missing link between academia and industry was that the academia was not able to produce students with the practical know-how who could occupy the critical positions in industry.
He suggested that to manage this missing link, academia should research to know the needs of industries.
He cited a case where Ghana was into Oil and Gas, but still needed the services of expatriates, saying, “We need the engineering aspect, we need oil and gas engineers who will be doing the drilling”.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency, Mr Frank Antwi Frimpong, the General Assembly Speaker for GIMPA SRC, said the seminar, which was organised to climax the SRC Week Celebrations, aimed at sensitising students to involve themselves in constructive arguments, rather than insults.
He said all and sundry, particularly students, should speak against election violence, stating that, “Intellectuals must not engage themselves in electoral malpractices, by snatching ballot boxes and causing mischief”.
He urged the youth across the various tertiary institutions to come on board to ensure that the principles enshrined in the 1992 Constitution were adhere to in the conduct of the elections.