General News of Saturday, 12 May 2018
Journalist Abdul Malik Kweku Baako has weighed in on the controversy churned from President Nana Akufo-Addo’s recent comments about the contribution of JB Danquah in the establishment of Ghana’s premier University, the University of Ghana (Legon).
The President earlier this week was reported to have suggested that Legon was founded by his uncle Joseph Kwame Kyeretwie Boakye Danquah, who was a pan-Africanist and a member of the big six.
According to the President, through the inspired vision of JB Danquah, Ghanaians were able to reject the original decision of the colonial government of establishing a single university in Ibadan in Nigeria for British West Africa in getting to agree to establish a separate university for Ghana.
“How felicitous was that decision and how greatly it has contributed to the growth of modern Ghana, it will be wholly appropriate and not at all far-fetched to describe Joseph Boakye Danquah as the founder of this University. The fact which on the 70th anniversary of the university’s existence should be vividly recalled that all of us are the beneficiaries of his work,” he said at the launch of the University of Ghana endowment fund.
The President’s comment generated wild speculations that he may be considering changing the name of the school as he recently announced the name change of the University of Professional Studies (UPS) to Opoku Ampomah University of Professional Studies in honour of the founder, Nana Opoku Ampomah.
Kweku Baako during a panel discussion on MultiTV/Joy News’ news analysis show, Newsfile, said although Dr. JB Danquah played a role during the schools’ commencement, it was an exaggeration to give him all the credit as the sole founder of the school.
“J. B. Danquah from all the accounts that I have read including what is on the University of Ghana’s website, if you put all together, bottom line, I think what the president said amounted to an exaggeration and an exaggeration that if you are not careful destroys that truth of a certain role played by Dr J. B. Danquah. That is one side of the coin,” he noted.
He went on to clarify that, although the President has suggested JB Danquah be given credit for Legon, he did not say he was going to name the school after him.
“The other side is an invitation into the realm of speculation. Does he intend to encourage the renaming of the University of Ghana, so as to call it JB Danquah University of Ghana? That is speculative. I believe because of recent developments. The University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) has been named after the great Paa Grant, and the UPSA which was named after the founder and there’ve been some agitation for the University of Development Studies to be renamed after Former President Rawlings.
So within the contest of this people tend to see a certain drift and then believe the speculation could end up being a reality. The President hasn’t said he is going to rename the University of Ghana as JB Danquah University of Ghana. He hasn’t said that. So if we want to interrogate that then we may be doing a purely speculative analysis,” he explained.
This statement addresses the rising concern of most Ghanaians concerning the sudden change of names given to tertiary institutions in the country.
The President since his tenure has changed the names of at least three prominent Universities in the country such as the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) now George Grant University of Mines and Technology, a situation some students of these institutions are not very happy about.
Many are finding it difficult to come to terms with what some may describe as the ‘name changing spree’, considering the fact that the Flagstaff House we all once knew has now been renamed as the Jubilee House, another situation many are still getting used to.