The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) says President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s insistence on renaming the University for Development Studies (UDS) after the late former President Jerry John Rawlings is inappropriate.
President Akufo-Addo re-proposed the renaming of UDS after he died on Thursday, November 12, 2020.
The President at a graduation ceremony at the UDS campus in Tamale on Saturday, November 14, 2020, said it is his strong belief that the university should be named after Rawlings despite his earlier rejection.
“The immense amount of work undertaken by President Rawlings and his government resulted in the establishment of this university. In 2017, I indicated to him through the Minister for Education, Matthew Opoku Prempeh my decision to name this university after him. He respectfully declined the honour and offer because of his principle not to have national monuments named after him.”
“Notwithstanding these sentiments, and with all due respect to him, it is my strong belief, which I am sure has the backing of the majority of Ghanaians that such an honour be accorded him,” he insisted.
But the Presidential Libraries and Museums in a statement signed by its National Secretary, Paa Kow Ackon said the wishes of the former president should not be disregarded since he rejected the offer when he was alive.
“In as much as President Akufo Addo may have the best of intention in this agenda, it is absolutely significant to note that it would be inappropriate for Mr Akufo-Addo to disregard the wishes of ex-President Rawlings in this attempt to rename the UDS after him.”
“It is our considered opinion that we need to begin focusing on a tradition of encouraging the construction of Museums and Libraries for our Ex-Presidents and not allow the determination of same to be made through the patronage and benevolence of any sitting President.”
Below is the full statement from PPP
PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS
We have noticed with deep concern the decision by President Akufo-Addo to rename the University for Development Studies (UDS), Tamale after the late Ex-President Jerry John Rawlings.
It would be recalled that in 2019 when President Akufo-Addo decided to re-name the University of Development Studies (UDS) after Ex-President Rawlings, he rejected the offer and made us understand that in 2015, when a similar offer was made by Ex-President Mahama to name the Offshore Cape Three Points FPSO vessel after him he rejected that as well.
We wish to place on record that the reason Ex-President Rawlings’ assigned for declining the offer was because “he had a long-standing principle not to have national monuments and facilities named after him”.
In as much as President Akufo Addo may have the best of intention in this agenda, it is absolutely significant to note that it would be inappropriate for Mr Akufo-Addo to disregard the wishes of Ex-President Rawlings in this attempt to rename the UDS after him.
It is our considered opinion that we need to begin focusing on a tradition of encouraging the construction of Museums and Libraries for our Ex-Presidents and not allow the determination of same to be made through the patronage and benevolence of any sitting President. Our Ex-Presidents would be required to lead in raising funds to build these archival and museum structures, which will subsequently, preserve our history and serve as tourist attractions to welcome millions of visitors each year. They would also become anchors for local development of built in their home regions. The facilities would also enable people to take advantage of research opportunities, and to participate in educational and public programmes.
We recommend that Parliament should begin a discussion on a Presidential Records Act, which will mandate that our Presidents hand over their papers, artifacts, memorabilia and other archives to the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board (GMMB) for preservation and maintenance when they leave office.
Paa Kow Ackon