The former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Ernest Aryeetey, has featured on the Y Leaderboard Series hosted by Ghana’s number one urban station, YFM. The Professor of Economics, in a conversation with YFM’s Rev. Erskine, revealed fascinating aspects of his life, his take on national decisions and his tenure as vice-chancellor at the University of Ghana.
The former Vice-Chancellor revealed that he ran a club at one of the university’s halls during his time as a student there. Professor Aryeetey revealed that he was a DJ at the Aboagyewaa night club at the Mensah Sarbah Hall, and he made some friends doing his job in the process.
Speaking on the country’s policies toward development, the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana remarked that per his observation, Ghana and most West African countries have short-term views on development.
“So long as you think short-term, every decision you take has risks embedded in it. You think about how to minimise the risk, and by so doing you focus on yourself and your small group of backers.
“When you think short-term, then you’re not going to think about transformation. Your short-term sense brings temporary relief to people; so if you come and fix the roads in my area, it’ll bring relief to me and I’ll be very happy short-term. There’s no guarantee that when those roads develop potholes in four or five years’ time, you’ll come back and fix it.”
He recommended that unless we are committed to having and making a change, each political party coming into power with a new national agenda is not necessarily the solution to Ghana’s developmental problem.
Prof. Aryeetey’s term as a VC at the University of Ghana has been described as the most eventful. From declaring curfews to introducing stickers for toll booths and banning religious activities at the Sarbah Field, Prof. Aryeetey has been at the heart of criticism from students, alumni, among others.
Addressing these issues, Prof. Aryeetey made known that his intentions while making these decisions was for the greater good of the university.
For example, explaining the rationale behind the ban on Christian activities at the Sarbah Field, he told Rev Erskine: “I was amazed at how every evening a large number of students congregated on the Sarbah Field to supposedly be praying – and they would go on and on past midnight, while you had the guest centre right across the field and the guests couldn’t sleep. If you walked around there, it was like bees humming. Imagine you are lying in your bed and bees humming behind your room all night in the name of praying”.
He noted that as Christians there is a need to set a good example, rather than ‘oppress’ people with religion.
“I am a Christian and I pray; but when my prayer is disturbing my neighbour, I don’t expect God to be happy with me because I am denying somebody sleep in the name of prayer. We should not use our Christianity to inconvenience other people. I thought as a university we should set a good example, showing people in general that we don’t use religion to oppress people,” he added.
Programmes Manager for YFM, Eddy Blay, noted that the interview with Prof. Aryeetey was an insightful one, as the Educationist proposed pragmatic solutions to Ghana’s stagnation despite the policies we have.
“Prof. Aryeetey has shown that education goes beyond the classroom. On the show today, he has educated both the old and young on how we can move our country forward. To him, nothing is impossible and we can only achieve what we plan to do if we think of it in the long-term. I have been enthused by his great insights on issues, and I believe the treasures he gave today will motivate young Ghanaians to think about development in the long-term.”