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UG: Akufo-Addo envisions renaming, citizens strongly oppose the idea

President Akufo-Addo’s aspiration to eventually rechristen the University of Ghana, Legon as JB Danquah University is poised to encounter formidable opposition.

This anticipation is well-founded, given that certain Ghanaians have already expressed their discontent with the proposed name alteration, citing various reasons.

During the University of Ghana’s 75th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service on August 11, 2023, President Akufo-Addo unveiled his intent to rename Ghana’s premier university in honor of Joseph Boakye Danquah.

He hailed Joseph Boakye Danquah as a founding figure of the university, attributing this recognition to certain contributions he purportedly made prior to its establishment.

“In my view, one of the most significant memories revolves around the invaluable efforts of Dr. J. B. Danquah in galvanizing the Ghanaian populace to advocate for the establishment of this university. It was the visionary leadership of this eminent scholar and nationalist, often referred to as the doyen of Gold Coast politics during his lifetime, that steered the Ghanaian people away from accepting the initial decision by the British colonial government, which was based on the majority recommendation of the Elliot Commission, to establish a single university in Ibadan, Nigeria, for all of British West Africa. Through a series of impassioned interventions within the legislative council, and with the enthusiastic backing of Ghana’s founding figures, he successfully influenced the creation of a separate university for our nation, in alignment with his minority recommendation. This decision, which has profoundly contributed to the progress of modern Ghana, makes it entirely fitting and not at all implausible to designate Joseph Boakye Danquah as the progenitor of this institution. This truth, as we mark its 75th anniversary, should be vividly recollected by all of us who have benefitted from his endeavors.”

“Undoubtedly, in jurisdictions where political tempers are less heated and historical records are held in higher regard, it wouldn’t be out of place to name this university in his honor. Who knows, someday this might indeed transpire,” he articulated.

However, certain Ghanaians view the president’s initiative as misplaced.

An elderly man bitterly voiced his dissatisfaction, highlighting the marginalization of influential Ga personalities despite their significant contributions.

He contested that as long as the university stands on the land of the La Traditional Council, renaming it after an “Akyem” figure would trigger resistance.

“There are notable figures like the Ga personalities, Ako Adjeis, and Ashini Kois, who greatly shaped the Cocoa Marketing Board, and their contributions have been disregarded. Their names should be enshrined in the University of Ghana. Ashini Koi, Ako Adjei—these individuals hail from La. The University of Ghana occupies land under the jurisdiction of the La Traditional Council, and we will staunchly oppose such a change.”

“Perhaps the president is indulging in wishful thinking. It appears he is dreaming when he suggests this. There are notable figures like Justice Olenus and others from La. Why would we go to Akyem to find a namesake? We won’t consent,” he added.

A young man urged the president to focus on infrastructural development and employment opportunities.

“We must remember that the paramount goal is to enhance our infrastructure and generate job opportunities. Recent graduates are grappling with unemployment and striving to secure better employment prospects. Altering the university’s name does not yield any tangible benefits for us,” he emphasized.

A middle-aged man echoed similar sentiments. He remarked, “Changing the name will not stimulate economic growth. Past leaders faced their share of challenges, and none of them managed to resolve all the issues. Consequently, renaming the university will not provide solutions.”

A young woman, currently unemployed, implored the government not to allocate funds for renaming the university. Instead, she advocated using these funds for projects that would benefit Ghanaians.

“It would be wiser for him to retain the existing name. Numerous presidents have passed away, and their names have not been employed in this manner. He should refrain from this course. The financial resources earmarked for a name change could be better employed elsewhere. I have recently graduated and I’m seeking employment, so he should channel those funds toward endeavors that offer collective advantages.”


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