Flagstaff House renaming: We can’t continue to impose on ourselves a ‘colonial’ name – Arhin
Communications Director at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin has said that the renaming of the government seat from ‘Flagstaff House’ to ‘Jubilee House’ was among other things necessitated by the fact that the name ‘Flagstaff House’ was prior to this, assigned to a separate building which served as the residence of persons in the colonial era.
The building he explained on the Morning Starr show Thursday, was put up in that era to serve as a residence for one colonial military officer who was at the time commanding the West African Frontier Force with four British colonies which Ghana happened to be part of. This structure he further stated, served as a home for the Commander of Ghana’s Armed Forces after independence and subsequently as home for Ghana’s First President; Dr. Kwame Nkrumah before he was ousted in 1966.
According to Mr. Arhin, a new edifice needed to be constructed by the then-Kufour administration to serve as the seat of government after the first building; Flagstaff House was deserted when Heads of State began to use the Osu Christianborg castle as the state residence after Dr. Nkrumah’s overthrow.
The newly constructed structure put up by the Kufour-administration he clarified, was duly named ‘Jubilee House’ in 2007 and was occasioned to serve as the official seat of government from that time.
“If you take a look at the name Flagstaff House, that building; Flagstaff House was the residence of the then colonial military officer who was commanding the West African Frontier force with four British colonies of Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Gambia. That particular residence; Flagstaff House was also the residence of the commander of Ghana’s armed forces immediately after independence. When Ghana became a republic in 1960, that residence became the residence of Kwame Nkrumah.”
“Immediately after his overthrow in 1966, almost all the Heads of State went to live at Osu Christiansborg castle which all of us know was a state fort. It was for this reason that then President Kufuor constructed the new seat of government in the year 2007 and named it jubilee house so it is for these two reasons; firstly that the building constructed by President Kufour was named as Jubilee House and subsequently the fact that it served as the residence of the colonial military officer at the end of the day points to the fact that we can’t impose upon ourselves a name given by our colonial masters and use that name as the seat of government”.
Mr. Arhin revealed that the change in name is coming in at this particular time because critical decisions had to be taken, consultations held and a consensus reached hence the time lapse. He also averred that it is mere coincidence that the renaming happened on President Akufo-Addo’s birthday.
“Also in 2017 during the president’s state of the nation’s address, he made it clear that issues to do with for example founders day and the seat of the presidency are conversations that we would have to have and a consensus reached on these matters and when it has to be done, it has to be done well and it is for this reason that the president has by executive notice which has been gazetted on this day the 29th of March issued this notice to the effect that the seat of government will now be known, named and referred to as Jubilee House”.
“It’s purely coincidental, there was no specific reason as to why it was done now at the end of the day he believes this was the time to do it and he’s done it so you can say it’s merely coincidental, it has nothing to do with the fact that the President of the republic is 74 years today”, he noted.
An executive order signed by the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and dated March 29 directed that the seat of presidency be from today Thursday March 29, ‘named, known and referred to as Jubilee House’ in place of ‘Flagstaff House’; the name that has been used for the past 9 years.
The order stated among other reasons that “there is no record evidencing the renaming of the seat of the Presidency as Flagstaff House by His Excellency Professor John Evans Atta Mills”.
The seat, since its establishment in 2007 has been in contention as far as its name is concerned. Under then President John Agyekum Kufour-led government, it was named the Jubilee House. Subsequently under the leadership of the late Evans Atta Mills, the seat was renamed and called the ‘Flagstaff House’, a name that remained till today.