Feature Article of Wednesday, 21 September 2011
Columnist: Mensah, Nana Akyea
Feature Article, by Nana Akyea Mensah, The Odikro.
*Part One: Introduction*
I find the renewed energy behind the ill-fated call to rename the University
of Ghana after J.B.
opportunistic, a deliberate provocation, and a rather mischievous
to re-write the history of our country, and undermine our intelligence in
the process. It also attempts to illogically mislead us into false
conclusions, and to carry a distorted view of our history, with a narrative
excessively spiced with lies and historical inaccuracies.
J. B. Danquah is not fit to be set as a role-model for our young ones. How
would you feel if you ask your child what he would like to do in the future,
when he or she grows up, and all you get is, "I want to be a ritual-murderer
when I grow up"? Unfortunately, this is just one of the many reasons why we
must think twice or more, before the beatification of villains as role
models. The fact that Danquah happens to be Okoampa's maternal granduncle is
no sufficient excuse to warrant the change of name requested.
Honestly, if it had been any Ghanaian, other than Kwame Okoampa, asking
Ghanaians to name a university that bears the name and pride of all
Ghanaians, after his or her granduncle, I would most probably not have
complained. I am sure to have even taken it as a joke and laughed it off. I
would certainly not have thought about writing a whole article on this
because I like the average granduncles in Ghana. The real problem is that
the granduncle being recommended by Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., should be the
last candidate for such adventure on the mind of any sane person with a
nodding acquaintance of our history.
And strange and bizarre as it is, it does not come as a surprise that
Okoampa is making this demand. This is not the first time Kwame
Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., is whining about his granduncle and making ugly calls
of that nature. Last year, he even set a record. He irreverently and
insolently called for the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
to be named after the same granduncle of his, instead of its present name!
(See: Rename University of Science and Technology after
Feature Article of Monday, 4 October 2010, by Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame). He
also ends "The Enduring Legacy Of Dr. J. B. Danquah – Part
a feature article as far back as Wed, 09 Mar 2005, with: "The call for the
University of Ghana to be renamed the J. B. Danquah University of Ghana
could thus not have come at a more auspicious moment." There are many such
silly calls scattered across the voluminous work of Okoampa on the subject.
Thus, like all previous attempts, "needless to say", this also shall fail
woefully. My concern here is strictly with the lies he uses to permit
himself to disturb us with this absolute nonsense. We have a duty to tell
the children the truth and correct lies. Thus, I think it is important to
have the time to point out some important truths to people like Okoampa. It
is annoying enough to hear Okoampa complain to the umpteenth time about "no
significant monument, other than the rough-hewn statue located on the minor
rotary – or roundabout – bearing his name somewhere in the Osu district of
Accra recalls the memory of Dr. Danquah." This is because, Danquah does not
deserve even that statute he is talking about! It is even more annoying when
Kwame Okoampa tries to compare J.B. Danquah with Kwame Nkrumah! He has the
blinkers firmly in place as he observes:
"Even President Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first postcolonial premier whom Dr.
Danquah mentored and introduced into the mainstream of Ghanaian politics,
and who already has the erstwhile University of Science and Technology named
after him, also has a major institutional landmark on the campus of the
University of Ghana named for him."
A question which Okoampa asks, which for a frustrated grand-nephew who badly
needs a university named after his granduncle, must have a lot of meaning,
and which must be fully addressed, is:
"The most relevant and logical question, therefore, becomes: Precisely what
crime did Dr. J. B. Danquah, the indefatigable spearhead behind the
development of Association Football (or soccer), COCOBOD, the Tetteh
Quarshie Memorial Hospital and even the constitutions leading the erstwhile
Gold Coast to independence as Ghana, commit and/or perpetrate against the
august republic that he so much loved and fervidly dedicated the bulk of his
adult life to?"
First of all, I want to correct the false impression created by
surreptitiously editing our history by claiming that "Dr. Danquah mentored
and introduced [President Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first postcolonial premier]
into the mainstream of Ghanaian politics". It seems as though the writer
confuses his job as a professor of "Journalism" with that of "Creative
If Danquah had any hand in this, they were very cold hands. His suspicion
and hostility towards Nkrumah started from day one! And Nana Ansah rightly
puts it in the same comment cited above: "it must be categorically stated
that Osagyefo Dr.Kwame Nkrumah was a self-made man with horizons of visions.
Danquah never had any encounter with Nkrumah whatsoever prior to joining the
UGCC in late 1947. Nkrumah was called in on the recommendation of Ako Adjei
whom he met at the University of Pennsylvania in America, and admired his
political wit, to be the UGCC-minder. The traveler’s cheque signed for
Nkrumah was footed by Paa Grant not the poor church mouse Danquah."
This is just a tip of the iceberg of lies hiding timidly behind this utterly
senseless appeal. Thus it is, that the entire appeal to take away a name
that every Ghanaian can identify with, "University of Ghana" and name it
after his granduncle is weaved with yarns that have nothing to do with the
history of Ghana, but in the sick imaginings of a callow professor of yellow
Journalism and "Creative Writing"! I can almost hear his silly retort: "Of
course, I know I am a darn good poet and have a few awards to show for such
The history of Ghana is sacred. It is different from "Creative Writing"
because they are based on facts, not fiction. It was written with much sweat
and much blood. It is beyond the reach of your "Creative Writing"! It would
still not have been a good thing to ask of Ghanaians, even if your
granduncle were just some ordinary nice old man, to change the name of a
University named after everybody and rename it after exactly the kind of guy
we do not have to honour! This is a treacherous assault on our very proud
anti-imperialist, anti-colonialist, anti-neocolonialist, and progressive
history as a people.
In the next article, I shall be focusing on how Dr. J. B. Danquah was
rejected by his own people of Kibi and Akyem in general. The article after
that shall also deal with how and why he was rejected by the people of
Ghana. The part 4 shall end the series with the question, "Dr. J.B. Danquah,
Where Is The Chief"? And by the time I am through with these series, those
who did not know about all these facts can come together with all their
might of wonder, and join me by telling Okoampa just one word: "Incredible!"
Forward Ever! Backwards Never!!!
Nana Akyea Mensah, The Odikro
Feature Articles: http://nanaakyeamensah.blogspot.com/