Some students of the Nalerigu Midwifery & Nurses Training College in the East Mampurugu District of the Northern Region have described the promise by President John Mahama to bring back the scrapped trainee allowance as deceit and vote buying.
The NDC administration scrapped all trainee allowance in the country, with the belief to give space for schools to admit more students.
But the president has recently promised to restore the allowance, particularly for nursing trainees, a decision that has been heavily criticised.
The students in an interview said President Mahama’s recent pronouncement about restoring the allowance at GH¢150 instead of GH¢450 is aimed at buying their votes.
One of the students, Cynthia Addah, told Al-miral News GH that President Mahama made the promise because he wanted students to vote for him come December 7, which, according to her, will not be possible.
“Saying he will bring back our allowance is just to buy our votes,” she mentioned.
The students said the taking off of the allowance has made living very difficult for them and they can’t forget the pains that the Mahama-led administration has put them through.
They said, “The president can decide to bring back the allowance or not, nobody can arrest the president or send him to court for that
“On the election day, it is we and the ballot paper alone, and we already know what to do when we get there. So the President can do all what he likes,” the students stated.
The withdrawal of the nursing trainee and teacher trainee allowances has become problematic for the Mahama administration, promising to restore the nurses’ allowances which the students say it is intended to buy their votes.
Recently, Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur was greeted with wild protest by students of Bolgatanga Nursing Training school on the issue of the allowance withdrawal.
The vice president had visited the school as part of his campaign visit to the Upper East Region, only to be greeted with placard-wielding protesting students to the embarrassment of their teachers.
Some of the placards read: ‘A hungry nurse is a potential killer’, ‘We are tired of promises; we want our allowances back’, ‘We can’t pay fees; allowance now’ and ‘Employ our Enrolled/Cert Nurse’, among other inscriptions.
“We are suffering, President Mahama. Without our allowance, we can’t pay our school fees. At times, we are sacked in the middle of an exam because we owe,” a student lamented from the crowd.
The matter got to a head when the agitated students chanted “away away” to Mahama Ayariga, Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, who wanted to explain the reason for the withdrawal of the allowance.
“We do agree with you that you need to be supported whilst you are in school. But the policy is that you will be given the same treatment as your colleagues in the universities and in the polytechnics. That process is ongoing and we want to assure you that it will be implemented.
“But the process of transitioning you from taking allowances to taking student bursaries and loans will take some time. And so, the Ministry of Health took a decision that they would restore the allowances in a certain form in the interim whilst we carry out the transition,” Ayariga said, with students chanting “away! away!”
When the vice president took his turn, they were not in any mood as they walked out on him, leaving him with empty hall to address.
FROM Abdul-Fatawu Adam Wunizoya, Tamale