Arthur Tony Henry, known in student political front as De-hope is the Local NUGS president of the University of Cape Coast for the 2013/1014 academic year. Henry is a down -to-earth person who was able to bulldoze his way to become the Local NUGS President against all odds, and is an affiliate of ATL Hall.
This interview was conducted by Abdul-Karim Mohammed Awaf (Fayar) with Arthur Tony Henry, on the 2nd of October, 2013.
Choicsm.com: Can you please tell us something brief about yourself?
Henry: (smiles) Alright I’m Arthur Tony Henry, the current local NUGS President. I had my basic education at Good Shepherd School and my secondary school, the first year at Aggrey Memorial and then completed at Methodist High School, Saltpond. I proceeded to IPS to do B.S. Accounting, but we were there and I was asked that the B.S Accounting was not possible for me so they had changed my programme to marketing. In fact my parents didn’t want me to do marketing so I had to do ACCA. I left there in2010 and continued here at the university of cape coast. So I’m now a final year student and reading Social Science with Economics as a major.
Choicism.com: Are you the only child of your parents?
Henry: No, I have three siblings.
Choicism.com: Are you single or married?
Henry: Hahahaa! I’m single.
Choicism.com: what are your hobbies?
Henry: I love listening to music and reading.
Choicism.com: So now tell us something about your campaign that saw you become the Local NUGS president?
Henry: In fact, campaigning in UCC is not an easy one because UCC is more than some constituencies. So campaigning in UCC to me is like campaigning as an MP in a constituency. Actually i have been guided with the principle of determination and i always do or achieve success through that principle.
Choicism.com: How were you able to fund your campaign?
Henry: Oh actually, my campaign was based on personal funding, because I had made up my mind of vying for Local NUGS president, I prepared myself well even though it wasn’t easy. I also got support from some friends who helped me.
Choicism.com: what have you achieved so far?
Henry: As I said, when we assumed office, the highest amount that a student could get as a student loan was 600. During the vacation, we were able to meet the Student Loan Trust Fund officials and the amount that any student can obtain has shot-up to 1200. Because from the economic sense, inflation is going higher and the value of money is depreciating so we cannot continue to maintain the old amount that student could access.
Also, I’m part of the Board of Trustees of the Student Emergency Relief Fund which we are trying to give in the form of support to some students who are in deep financial crises especially in terms of fees.
Again,you will realize that lack of funds for the Local NUGS Secretariat has become albatross at the neck of Local NUGS. We are not in good financial standing, so the current executive during the vacation went to seek sponsorship from Corporate Organizations to help us raise funds in order to supplement the little amount we have in our coffers. In all, we were able to contact forty-two Companies and even though not all of them have given us any assurance of giving us support, we are praying that most of would come to our support for us to achieve our goals.
Choicism.com: Many students hold the opinion that, Local NUGS has been overshadowed by the SRC, and that NUGS is not visible. How do you respond to that?
Henry: Actually, the visibility of NUGS is overshadowed by the aforementioned, which is lack of funds to organize programmes. Now if NUGS should organize many programmes, we will be in financial incapacitation, and the more you organize programmes, the more you deepen your woes.
Also, because we all want to safeguard the interest and welfare of students on campus, sometimes we have a conflicting programmes and if we don’t have the money to organize the programme, then of course the SRC will take it over and organize it. You can dream, you can initiate programmes, but because of lack of resources you will not be able to execute them, and this has being the bone of contention between the SRC and Local NUGS, but I must say on record that during my time, all the bottle necks have been cleared and both parties are functioning effectively without any conflict.
Choicism.com: So far, what programmes do you have in stock for students especially the fresh students?
Henry: Although this year the university’s orientation was abnormal due late admissions and other problems. The Local NUGS organized a trade fair which brought together many companies who exhibited and sold products that students need on whole sale prices. So this was our welcome initiative programme for fresh students and this was to prevent exploitation that many fresh students are often subjected to by the local retailers who over the years always want to capitalize on the vulnerability of fresh students.
Also, we have had the ladies week launched and we are hoping to have students’ loan mass registration next week so that all freshers who would like to access the loan, would come and register.
Choicism.com: what are you inspiring to achieve by the end of your administration?
Henry: I believe in good name rather than riches, so I want to live a legacy which will be my ability to speak for students and then my ability to avoid exploitation and misappropriation of funds by some student leaders.
I also want to achieve by the end of my tenure, a vibrant NUGS and NUGS that can stand for the welfare of students, and also NUGS that stand on its feet in terms of its financial status.
Choicism.com: Time is fast spent, what would want to tell students?
Henry: I want tell students that in the midst of challenges, we can still make headway out. Local president or position is a very critical position in UCC especially due to limited funds. I want advice that anyone who aspires to become a Local NUGS president that he/she should not think of running a competition with the SRC, because after elections, it is left with action, and all your campaign messages must be amalgamated into one word, safeguarding the interest of students. It will therefore be a tragedy to compare and try to be in competition with the SRC.
I believe that everything is possible, and the Local NUGS president is doing well to safeguard the interest of students.
I must also state that, we areall part of the SRC because the SRC encompasses every student. The Local NUGS office and the SRC office all have one ultimate goal, and that is to safeguard the welfare and interest of students and so we must not be seen to be in competition.
Choicism.com: Thank you Mr. President for making time for this exclusive interview.
Henry: it’s a pleasure talking to you and I must say that you guys are doing great and keep it up.
Interview by Abdul-Karim Mohammed Awaf (Fayar)