“After consulting my family, close friends and other people, I have come to the decision that I qualify and I’m ready to serve the great students of our department, ABAS. This is a well-thought-of decision and it is my belief that availing myself to serve ABAS is a step in the right direction. I am confident that I have the needed abilities and qualities to be the leader of our department in the next academic year. I look forward to being given the mandate to carry on the good works of the great ABAS. (Dave Norkplim Lumor- ABAS President Hopeful 2020/21)”
The paragraph above was supposed to be my declaration of intent to contest for the position of President of the Association of Business Administration Students (ABAS) in UPSA. After weeks of engagements, back and forth, waiting for intel on who might be contesting in the election, I decided I had to take a big leap in leadership and put myself out there in a student election.
How did we get here? It all started with a conversation about who would contest the departmental election scheduled for late March or early April. All the “big guys” in our department were angling for SRC positions leaving many scratching their heads about who could be the next ABAS President. On the back of this discussion, my name was thrown into the mix and I found out many people thought I could contest and win an election in the department. I actually found it funny because it hadn’t crossed my mind even though my leadership qualities had been highlighted by a number of people who believed in me.
My course rep and close friend, Peter Ofori, called me aside one day after class and told me he believed that I should contest for President of ABAS. I spoke to many people, asked their opinion and indirectly requested their support, because at the point when I spoke with them, I only needed to confirm that I had the qualities needed.
In the course of these engagements too, I was approached and asked if I had any ambition to contest for President of the UPSA. I responded that I had no intention to contest for an SRC position even though I had nursed ambitions of being SRC Electoral Commissioner the year before, but that was no longer on the table for me. The conversation made me consider an SRC role, but I also knew that people were ready to support my ABAS Presidential run. In the end, my focus was on ABAS and what I could do to continue the stellar works done by the previous Presidents.
The period from mid-February into March was a period of constant engagements, putting strategies in place and getting people on board. All this was going according to plan and I now had to be more visible in the department without giving anything away, considering I had not made any official declaration. Per the ABAS constitution at the time, elections were supposed to be held in the third week of March so with three weeks to go, it was GO time.
The week of 9th – 13th March 2020 was a pivotal one and my team was ready to scale up. Earlier that week I officially made my intention known to my course mates in Admin Group 4 and it was a welcome declaration. In the end, we had a total of four people declaring their intention to contest for various positions in our department from Admin Group 4.
During that week, Ghana’s first case of COVID-19 was recorded but that didn’t have an immediate impact on our plans. I had a photoshoot scheduled for Saturday, which went on as planned and those are the source of the images that people keep questioning me about. After the photoshoot, I packed a bag to head home for the weekend with a return to campus planned for Monday morning.
On Sunday night, everything took a very interesting turn! The President’s first address to the nation on COVID-19 outbreak had some information no one expected. “…………….all basic schools, second cycle schools and universities are to close effective 16th March 2020 until further notice.” What did this mean? This wasn’t something you could plan for! Would elections still come off regardless of the situation? It was constitutionally required to hold elections in the second semester.
At this point there were more questions than answers!