His Excellency Alhaji Aliu Mahama, Vice President of the Republic of Ghana
Rev. Dr. Kwabena Darko, Chancellor of Regent University
Faculty and Staff
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
Words are inadequate to express how grateful we are for you to set aside your numerous commitments in order to be part of this second ceremony today. We want to particularly register our profound gratitude to you, Your Excellency, for graciously putting up with our not-too-comfortable arrangement where you have had to shuttle between Mataheko and Dansoman in order to grace our matriculation and dedication ceremonies with your presence. We are indeed grateful to you.
Your Excellency, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, where will Ghana be in the next 50 years?
The research capacity of this nation is appallingly low. At the moment we spend fortunes to import things that we should be able to produce locally. Our import dependence ranges from the importation of industrial inputs like clinker to the importation of basic things like onions, tomatoes, toilet rolls, tooth picks, and toothpaste.
Where will Ghana be in the next 50 years?
We are still grappling with a disability that has shamefully exposed us to a cycle of seasonal gluts and dearth for our farm produce as our farmers helplessly languish in perpetual poverty and obscurity. The problems of illiteracy, poverty, filth, and disease are serious developmental challenges we are yet to come to terms with. Unless we are able to take the hard decisions, there will not be much difference in our circumstances 50 years from now.
To raise the research capacity of this nation, I have had the occasion of proposing the establishment of a Research Foundation and a Research Task Force without delay. The Foundation, I proposed, will provide or assist in providing funding to meet the research needs of our country. The Task Force will actually conduct research into the critical areas of immediate concern which should fall within selected priority areas for the development of this nation. The priority areas would have to be determined by the Governing Board of the Foundation and approved by parliament.
The responsibility of the governors of the Foundation will include, but not limited to, the raising of funds and support for the Foundation, and the giving of grants to the Research Task Force, groups of scholars and corporate entities like research institutions to undertake approved research considered to be critical for the development of this nation. Eminent Ghanaians like Kofi Annan and Sam Jonah, can be appointed to serve as members of the governing board of the Foundation.
To start with, the seed money for the Foundation should come from the GETFund. If we need to amend the GETFund Act to make room for this, we should not allow ourselves to be inhibited. We should quickly do that.
The Foundation will assume the responsibility for setting up the National Scientific Research Centre which will be equipped to take care of laboratory and equipment needs of our research institutions. The Centre should be run by the Foundation.
The second source of funding for the Foundation should be levying all residents whose income is above a certain level. This should be deducted before tax. All business entities operating in the country should also be levied. All churches should be made to make special contributions to the foundation. The likes of the Azuma Bandas, Ted Werners, Bill Gates, etc., should be enticed to show interest in the project and to support it.
Ghana as a nation has no business being poor. Though there are still challenges which we need to overcome, there is every indication that political leadership is making frantic efforts towards establishing Ghana as a prosperous nation. The challenge that all of us must address is the challenge to work together to achieve a knowledge-based, highly skilled, and technologically advanced society.
And to this end, our higher education sector and research institutions have a duty to make significant contributions to help the country gain a 21st century push in its social dream and economic development.
The facility we are commissioning and dedicating today is the third campus of Regent University College of Science and Technology, an institution that was born out of adversity. The success story of Regent-Ghana and other similar institutions in this nation is indicative of the fact that we can all help to develop our nation and that we do not have to travel to the western world in order to make it. We believe that given the right environment and support we should be able to successfully run our educational institutions with distinction.
The main building here was originally meant for a dwelling place but it was never used for that purpose because of its sheer size. Because of our emphasis on small class sizes, our existing two campuses soon became inadequate for our purpose. When the existence of this facility became known to us, we immediately expressed a strong interest to purchase it. The owner, Madam Florence Ntiamoah-Djan, graciously accepted to sell it to us. It has seen some remoulding since its acquisition to make it suitable for our purpose.
Currently the building has three lecture rooms, two computer laboratories, a library for our MBA and Master of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology programmes, a Board Room, several offices for staff, residential suites for our visiting professors, and a well-fitted kitchen, among others.
The foundation of this building was fitted to take at least two additional floors. As soon as the required funding becomes available, two more floors will be added to make room for additional lecture theatres, computer and engineering labs, offices, and a library.
The greatest challenge the campus is facing is low voltage. We are therefore forced to use our generator almost every day. The corporate offices moved here in October 2006. Before then, classes for the first two modules of our Master of Electrical Engineering programme had been conducted here by German professors.
Your Excellency, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the Bible says that “Except the Lord builds the house, the builders build but in vain, and except the Lord watches the house, the watch men watches but in vain.”
The need to put the building into immediate use was so urgent that we could not do any formal dedication before we moved in. The ceremony here today is, therefore, to have this facility commissioned by His Excellency as a significant institution for the realisation of the national dream, and also an opportunity to formally dedicate it to the glory of God, the King of the Universe, from whom comes every good blessing. The expectation is that this place will serve as the Centre of Excellence in fulfilment of the vision and mission of the University.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jnr. once said,
“If a man hasn’t discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”
The good Book, also says that “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov. 29:18).
I believe these two statements to be self-evident.
I firmly believe that every generation has the responsibility to make the present better than it met it so that future generations will inherit a world that is better than the generations before it.
Your Excellency, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, once again, thank you very much for coming and for your support.