Vice President of Policy think tank, IMANI Africa, Kofi Bentil has backed the decision of Former President Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings to decline an offer from government to have one of the country’s public universities; the University of Development Studies renamed after him.
The office of the ex-President last week released a statement indicating Mr. Rawlings’ disinterest in having any monument named after him for personal reasons. Though he acknowledged government efforts to honor him, he noted that he would rather his name was deleted as requested when the offer was communicated to him last year.
“When the proposal for the naming of the UDS was first brought to the former President’s attention by the Education Minister in 2017, he thanked the President and the government for the honour, but politely declined the offer because he had a long-standing principle not to have national monuments and facilities named after him”, he stated.
Speaking on Joynews’ Newsfile program Saturday, Mr. Bentil noted it is a rather ‘clumsy’ move to use very long names for Universities. Renaming in itself he maintained is not a bad idea if it is done in a more elegant way.
He further suggested that rather than universities which already have names, other equally important monuments could be named after dignitaries.
“I’m not surprised some of the people like Rawlings is saying no”, he said.
Adding, “The general perception is that public universities are geotagged, geographically named, so University of Texas, that kind of thing. The names become unwieldy; Nana Opoku Ankomah University of Professional Studies, why? It’s unwieldy. Do you know that the transition of University of Science and Technology to Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, it’s difficult even for some people today. What is the need for it. You can name other things or find a more elegant way to do it”.
Mr. Baako also clarifying issues surrounding his rejection said the new draft bill duely had Mr. Rawlings’ name omitted as requested when the offer was presented to him.
“I found something very interesting. If you look at the second schedule, the one I have, clause seven, it says University of Development Studies, the Rawlings one has been omitted and I’m told officially, reliably that Mr. Rawlings was contacted last year, it was communicated to him that the government decided to do something like this and he declined the offer and on basis of which government decided not to do it so in this one, his name is not here”.
“It appears that decision was taken last year, I’m told, this new draft bill, I’m not sure his name was included but whatever it is, Mr. Rawlings’ name is not here, the rest stands”, he said.
A draft bill from the Education Ministry named the former President as one of four others to have some public universities named after them.
In the draft bill, University for Development Studies was to be renamed after the first President of the fourth republic, Jerry John Rawlings, who has the university as one of his legacies.
Legon-based University of Professional Studies had its founder, Nana Opoku Ampomah proposed for the renaming, Former United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) and Convention People’s Party (CPP) member, Komla Agbeli Gbedemah, was to have his name for the renaming of University of Health and Allied Sciences, located in the Volta Region and the University of Energy and Natural Resources would be known as Kofi Abrefa Busia University of Energy and Natural Resources; in honour of the second Prime Minister of Ghana and the only one for the second republic.
Send your news stories to and features to . Chat with us via WhatsApp on +233 55 2699 625.