A Disservice to Ghana? How so, Mr. Mahama?
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
The decision not to confer an honorary doctorate on former President Jerry John Rawlings, by the administrators of the Tamale-headquartered University of Development Studies (UDS), some eight years ago, was auspiciously in keeping with the flagrant and verifiable fact of the abject regression of the quality of Ghanaian education, in general, and the country's tertiary education, in particular, by the Rawlings-led regimes of the so-called Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC). The decision had absolutely nothing to do with the ideological temperament and/or attitude of the J. A. Kufuor-led government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), as a recent news report seemed to suggest (See "Cancellation of UDS Award to Rawlings was a Disservice to Ghana - Mahama" JoyOnline.com/ Ghanaweb.com 10/12/13).
The very concept of a University of Development Studies or, more appropriately, the establishment of a major tertiary academy in the northern-half of the country, was first mooted by the Nkrumah-led Convention People's Party (CPP). Needless to say, the wantonly anti-intellectual and regressive policies of Mr. Rawlings, such as the rampant closures of the country's tertiary academies anytime that students protested culturally inimical policies of the P/NDC, may well have delayed the implementation of the statutory policy that led to the establishment of the UDS.
We must also underscore the fact that the Hilla (Babini) Limann-led People's National Party (PNP) was smack-dab in the process of establishing a more locally and regionally organic University of Agriculture in the north when Mr. Rawlings, staunchly backed by such northerner nation-wreckers as Messrs. Chris Atim, Ndebugri and Alolga Akatapore, ousted the democratically elected Dr. Limann, on the patently dubious and specious grounds of rank sociocultural and economic corruption.
You see, what Ghanaians ought to be debating, vis-a-vis this particular subject is whether, indeed, if Mr. Rawlings candidly believed in the quality of Ghanaian tertiary education, as President John Dramani Mahama clearly seems to be suggesting, the retired strongman and veritable nuisance to Fourth Republican Ghanaian political culture would have shipped his own children abroad for the acquisition of higher education. This is what immitigably constitutes an abject "disservice" by both Messrs. Rawlings and Mahama to the dignity, prosperity and integrity of Ghanaian citizens at large.
However one looks at the $50,000.00 (Fifty-Thousand Dollar) World Hunger Prize Foundation Award mythology, the stark fact remains that this purely photo-op stunt orchestrated at the behest of Mr. Rawlings, by his lackeys and hangers-on, is no tangible excuse for the protagonist's megalomaniacal and unconscionable regression and strangulation of northern Ghanaian education, in particular, and our national educational system, in general. And no amount of "reconstructive propaganda" is apt to indemnify the irreparable damage wreaked on Ghanaians by the Rawlings posse, including President Mahama, of course!
*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Department of English
Nassau Community College of SUNY
Garden City, New York
Oct. 12, 2013