Member of Parliament for North Tongu in the Volta Region and a former deputy minister for Education, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa says there will be revolt if President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo dares rename the University of Ghana after his uncle, JB Danquah.
He says history would have been rewritten by the President.
Speaking on Okay FM's 'Ade Akye Abia' programme, he explained that a hall or faculty can be renamed after his uncle to recognize his contribution to the setting up of the university, but renaming it after him will be met with fierce resistance.
President Akufo-Addo told an audience at the launch of an Endowment Fund to commemorate the university’s 70th anniversary stated that: “It will be wholly appropriate and not at all far-fetched to describe Joseph Boakye Danquah as the founder of this University.”
In the President’s view, the British colonialists who built the university, were inspired by J.B. Danquah, because they initially intended to build for British West Africa, a single university in Nigeria.
“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.”
Samuel Okudzeto indicated that credit cannot be taken away from the agitations of Gold Coasters between December 1945 and July 1946 at which period the Colonial Secretary in Accra was bombarded with petitions from such bodies as the Advisory Committee on Education, Achimota Council, the Standing Committee of the Joint Provincial Council of Chiefs, Asante Confederacy Council, Gold Coast Bar Association, Old Students Associations, Rodger Club, Accra; Hudson Club, Kumasi; and Gold Coast Teachers Union.
It must also be emphasised that the Asantehene played a very special role in this noble endeavour. It was the Asantehene who agreed with the Bradley Committee to have the first University sited in Accra with funds largely from cocoa farmers from the Asantehene’s territory. This was on condition that a second university will be considered for Kumasi later.
However, confronted with this history, it will be near impossible to hoodwink Ghanaians that Dr. JB Danquah is the founder of the University of Ghana. Even if successful, it will amount to intellectual dishonesty of the highest order.
He also added that he does not see how the current Vice Chancellor and the University Council will permit President Akufo-Addo to rename the University of Ghana JB Danquah University when the university’s own commissioned work does not support this latter day distortion of history.
"Like most alumni of the University of Ghana, I have confidence that President Akufo-Addo’s hegemonic maneuvering will not see the light of day, we will revolt against it," he reiterated.
"Clearly, seeing how far some Presidents may go in pleasing their uncles and other relations as they distort our history and rename monuments, it is time for this country to have an independent commission which will be the only legal entity with responsibility for naming and preserving national institutions, installations, assets and commemorative events."
"We can do far better for the great University of Ghana instead of contemplating a needless change of name," he added.