Founding of UG; Akufo-Addo exaggerating J. B. Danquah’s role – Kweku Baako
Editor-in-chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako has described a recent comment by President Akufo-Addo on the contribution of Dr J. B. Danquah to the establishment of the University of Ghana as an exaggeration.
According to him, although Dr J. B. Danquah’s role in the establishment of Ghana’s premier university cannot be ruled out; the statements made by the President last Monday sought to distort facts.
President Akufo-Addo in his address at the launching of the University of Ghana’s Endowment Fund as part of the 70th Anniversary of the school stated that his Dr. J. B. Danquah is the founder of the University.
He said J.B Danquah inspired the British colonialists to build the University of Ghana when they initially planned to build a single university in Nigeria for the entire British West Africa.
“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,” President Akufo-Addo said.
But speaking on Joy FM’s Newsfile programme on Saturday, the veteran journalist noted that although the contribution of the late statesman should not and cannot be over emphasised, the President’s comment sought to undermine the truth.
“The president virtually made Dr J/B. Danquah more or less the founder of the University of Ghana, Legon. That’s what we heard but that’s contestable based on other records. Even those records still mention a role J. B. Danquah played. So it’s not a question of absolute exclusion of the role or contribution of Dr J. B Danquah. It’s a question of what the President said amounts to exaggeration of the role of J.B. Danquah. When you exaggerate a truth, the essence of the truth is destroyed or undermined.
“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,” he stated.
President Akufo-Addo’s comment has, however, been viewed by some sections of the public as an attempt to rename the University of Ghana after Dr J. B. Danquah.
The President since his swearing-in has renamed certain institutions, the recent being the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) after its founder, Nana Opoku Ampomah. The University of Mines and Technology (UMAT) has also been named after George Paa Grant.
But the Minister of Information, Dr Mustapha Hamid says the president’s comment about the role played by Dr J. B. Danquah in the establishment of the University of Ghana was only a presentation of facts.