For the first time since its establishment in the 1970s, the University of Buckingham (UoB) in the United Kingdom, will now have a duly constituted association of Ghanaian students.
Last Friday, Ghana’s Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, inaugurated the group, University of Buckingham Students of Ghanaian Origin (uBUSOGO), at a pioneering event on the sidelines of UoB’s 2019 graduation ceremony in the historic English city of Buckingham.
“I think this association is very welcome and I would presume that powerful Ghanaian alumni would be automatic members of it so that it will make me also a member outside campus,” Dr Bawumia said, drawing huge applauds from the group’s founding executives and Ghanaian officials who had gathered inside the UoB’s Vinson Building for the ceremony.
Richard Sky of Citi FM and Citi TV is uBUSOGO’s founding President.
Dr Bawumia, a distinguished alumnus of UoB, was in Buckingham on the invitation of the University’s top management to address the school’s 2019 graduation ceremony as an “Inspirational Speaker.”
“I can see, having just talked to the Vice-Chancellor, a lot of potential for increased collaboration…” he told executives of uBUSOGO at the inauguration ceremony, which was also attended by Second Lady, Mrs Samira Bawumia, Ghana’s High Commissioner to the UK, Papa Owusu Ankoma, staff of the High Commission, and some other top Ghanaian officials. Tino Santonocito, Head of International Recruitment and Development at UoB, also attended the event.
Alluding to discussions he had had with UoB officials on possible future capacity building and training opportunities for Ghanaian civil servants and officials serving in important public offices, Dr Bawumia stated, “We have very good opportunities to build stronger ties between Ghana and the University of Buckingham and we are going to work on it.”
After signing the group’s inauguration certificate, Dr Bawumia declared uBUSOGO officially inaugurated. He also used the opportunity to congratulate a member of uBUSOGO, Kwasi Nyame-Baafi, who has since started studying for PhD in Economics at UoB, for obtaining “First Class Honours in Economics [At UoB].”
Dr Bawumia, whom himself graduated from UoB some 32 years earlier with First Class Honours in Economics, told the packed hall: “It is not an easy field. This is one of ours, and he has made us proud, and I am sure that all of you will continue to make us proud.”
Already, the group’s President, Richard Sky, has won two examination related academic awards from the UoB School of Law, where he has been studying for a degree in law since January 2018.
Mr Sky, an award-winning Ghanaian journalist, was elected uBASOGO’s founding President a day earlier, having –– together with other Ghanaian students –– played a pioneering role in the establishment of the group.
“The group will represent the ideals of the Republic of Ghana –– The Ghanaian excellence which is global, the excellence that you stand for Mr Vice-President and the excellence that all of us as Ghanaians stand for,” Mr Sky said in his remarks at the inaugural ceremony.
The group, he said, will primarilyrepresent the interest of Ghanaian students at the university, adding that it will also “bring together people with Ghanaian parentage… people who are linked to Ghana in one way of the other” to help contribute their quota to make Ghana a great nation.
Mr Sky added that the group also aims to work hard to invite “people from the diaspora” to come and learn about Ghanaian culture and systems as part of plans to deepen global knowledge about Ghana, a small but influential West African country celebrated for its remarkable heritage and regarded as an oasis of peace, stability and determination.
“Colleague founding members, I am truly honoured to have been asked by the compelling force of your collective wishes to be the lead servant of our very young uBUSOGO,” Mr Sky said shortly after his election last Thursday. “I consider this invitation noble and will work with all of us to carve our names and that of uBUSOGO in the history of our University.”
He added, “All of us have made the dream of forming the first ever Ghanaian Society for The University of Buckingham a reality, and we can only be collectively thankful for all our efforts.
“Although I am very well aware of our busy academic schedules and private commitments, I humbly ask us all to work tirelessly together to make uBUSOGO the model for others and to leave a modest legacy for generations to come. I am very thankful for the confidence you have invested in me.”
The elected Vice-President of uBUSOGO, Allen Jackson-Davis, echoed Mr Sky in his own remarks after his election: “As our … President said, as we have been able to dream and birth this group, it means that collectively there’s so much we can achieve.
“What we’re embarking on is a journey with greater ambitions and goals. It is therefore right that we use every fibre of strength to harness our potential and strive for those goals.”
He promised to “continue to work tirelessly towards supporting … our society.”
UoB has students from around the globe who are attracted to its popular two-year degree programmes as well as its 10-month-long masters and 3-year long doctoral degree programmes.
Figures on the school’s official website show that at least eight per cent of the students are from “Sub Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean.” They include countries like “Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Djibouti, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.”
Apart from Dr Bawumia, other notable alumni of UoB are; Alexander Kwamena Afenyo-Markin, Member of Parliament (MP) for Efutu, Sandra Ankobiah, Lawyer and TV personality, Maame Ama Pratt, Chief Executive Officer of M.A.P Concepts Ghana.