Opinions Mon, 29 May 2017

Let’s all get this once and for all

From how we were brought up, the elderly is always right whenever there is an argument even when the young one is as right as the government’s fight against illegal mining and the elderly is as wrong as the defense of the illegal activities by galamseyers.

There are instances that the young will disagree with you with his demeanor. He will indirectly tell you that you are right because he doesn’t want to be called an arrogant person by acquiescing. But there are times the young should be grossly respected.

The University for Development Studies (UDS) was established in 1992. It is a well-established fact that the university has existed for some time but it is not the oldest. It has a satellite campus each at Navrongo, Wa, Nyankpala, and Tamale which is the central administration.

The reason for this was simple; it was a dream by H.E Jerry John Rawlings to give every Region in the north access to university education otherwise all the campuses would have been positioned at Tamale. And you know what it would have meant - it will mean someone will grow up in East Legon without knowing that there is a place in Ghana called ‘Navrongo’.

Someone will grow up in Axim without being aware that there is a place called ‘Sawla’ on your way to Wa. Someone will grow up in Ningo without knowing that there is a place called ‘Nyankpala’. The vision of the founder was succinct - to eradicate poverty in the north through the access to tertiary education and to connect the north to the south.

The purpose of this article is to address an issue that is earthshaking about the name of the university. The name of the university has been consistently misnamed by so many people. Some time ago on the floor of parliament, Hon. Dominic Nitiwul, the Member of Parliament for Bimbilla who doubles as the minister for defense had the name of the university totally wrong when he was contributing to a motion on the floor of the house.

You may get yourself the parliamentary Hansard for 29th January 2017 for double checking. This is totally uncalled-for. It must not be accepted especially when it is coming from an honorable and learned person in society who do not only represent his constituents and the entire Ghanaians as a whole but a role model to many youngsters like my ilk. Hon. Minister for defense, the name of the university is “University for Development Studies” with “knowledge for service” as the slogan and not “University of development studies” which doesn’t exist as a public university in Ghana. Take note and act accordingly!

Because the honorable minister had the name of the university wrong and something wasn’t done right to right the wrong, the door of opportunity was opened for another honorable minister for imitation. The minister for health, Honorable Kwaku Agyeman Manu in a letter to Dr. Thomas Winsum Anaba, in an attempt to transfer the Ridge hospital medical director to his original place of work, thus, university for development studies also deliberately chose not to get the name of the university right. Please be twigged that he is no mean a person in Ghana but a health minister from whom petty mistakes must be met with public opprobrium. I know many are incensed about the transfer of Dr. Anaba but I vowed not to step out of boundary by majoring in the minor and minoring in the major.

So let’s continue to deal with the substantive matter! This misnaming of the University by distinguished persons in society must not be allowed to prosper. A petty mistake in Ghana may be a hefty and unpardonable mistake in Switzerland or elsewhere.

Take for instance, the health minister instead of saying “ministry of health” at an international AIDS conference rather say “ministry for health”. You can imagine how the foreign media will react negatively and how we will hypocritical counter react with a defense.

There is a saying in my language that, what happens on judgement day is as a result of death. In summary, what this means is that if you make it to heaven or hell on judgement day, you did because you died in the first place.

The university is named wrongly and there is no one to prevent future recurrence. They continue to name the university wrong and the authority of the university is tight-lipped like their lower and upper lips are adhesively bonded together with type 99 glue. They sweep it under the carpet like the way the alleged VA scandals from Donald Trump was swept under the carpet by Hillary Clinton.

Their action of silence continues to be a motive for many more to make more mistakes. Trust me dear school authority, if you start correcting every Ghanaian including ministers of state on this matter, the university you exercise your authority on shall never be misnamed.

You may think I am drawing your attention to an irrelevant matter. Yes, I know the university faces mightier problems which need urgent solutions than this but beware that the “University of Ghana” will never be called “university for Ghana” by anybody on any day even if that person is a minister of state. He will be rebuked by the university authority and mocked on social media by students and many discerning Ghanaians.

I am not a student of English language but I do know that “for” and “of” cannot be used interchangeably. I also know that the University for Development Studies is right to correct anybody who tries to make her a ghost by giving her a different name called “University of development studies”.

Please the youngest may always be wrong but not when it is about her name. She can point it to you that you are wrong for calling her a name that’s not hers.

To the Honorable minister for defense and the Honorable Minister for health, go and sin no more as we are in a month of Ramadan which doubles as the month of forgiveness.

Ramadan Mubarak to all Muslims across the globe.

Columnist: Alhassan Andani