The Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof. Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, has, for the first time, reacted to the suggestion by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo that the university should be renamed after Ghanaian statesman, the late J. B. Danquah.
Speaking in an interview on JoyNew’s The Pulse programme, Prof. Appiah Amfo refuted the assertion that some people who contributed meaningfully to the establishment of the university, like J. B. Danquah, have not been properly recognised.
She added that there are different ways of recognising people who have contributed massively to the development of the university, and that has been done.
“I think that all those who played significant roles in the establishment of the university have properly been acknowledged. What the president was advocating for was a renaming of the university after him (J. B. Danquah).
“But that is something that is subject to a huge debate. There are various ways in which to acknowledge people who have contributed to the establishment of the university. And we have a whole avenue named after J.B. Danquah—that is the major avenue in this university,” she told JoyNews’ Blessed Sogah.
The academic also refuted the assertion that the university lacks an identity because it is not named after an individual.
“The University of Ghana represents the nation; it represents the nation, and this is a brand that is well known all over the world, all of these years. It is representative of the nation,” she stressed.
It can be recalled that President Akufo-Addo came under intense public scrutiny after he suggested that UG should be named after J. B. Danquah, his uncle, while addressing a gathering at the 75th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service of the university.
He detailed some of the events that led up to the influences that both J. B. Danquah and some other founding members of the country had on the decision to build the country’s first public university.
The president also described JB Danquah’s role in the establishment of the University of Ghana as an ‘inestimable work,’ which should be rewarded with his name put on the university.
This hope, as President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo stated, could become a reality soon.
What Akufo-Addo said:
“And for me, the most poignant of those memories is the inestimable work Dr. J. B. Danquah did to mobilise the Ghanaian people to insist on the building of this university. It was the inspired leadership vision of this great scholar and nationalist, who’s described in his lifetime as the doyen of Gold Coast politics, that following the establishment of the Elliot Commission, tasked by the colonial government, to inquire into the possibility of establishing a university in West Africa, enable the Ghanaian people to reject the original decision of the British-colonial government based on the majority recommendation of the Elliot Commission that a single university be established in Ibadan, in Nigeria, for the whole of the then British West Africa, and got it to agree, through a series of passionate interventions in the then legislative council.
“And with the enthusiastic support of the founders of Ghana to the creation of a separate university for our country, on the basis on his minority recommendation. How felicitous was that decision and how greatly it’s contributed to the growth of modern Ghana. It would be wholly appropriate, and not at all far-fetched, to describe Joseph Boakye Danquah, as the founder of this university. A fact, which on the 75th anniversary of its existence, should be vividly recalled by all of us who have been, and are the beneficiaries of his work.
“Indeed, in many other jurisdictions where there is less heat in their politics, and more attachment to the historical records, it would not have been put of place to have this university named after him. Who knows, one day, it may well happen,” he said.
Watch the interview below: