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Opinions of Thursday, 17 March 2005

Columnist: Appiah-Danquah, Kufuor

For the Unity of our Country ? Do not Politicize UDS?

UDS cancels Rawlings?s Congregation

There are times when I scratch my head, bite my tongue and bang my hand at walls just to release the blood pressure that runs through my head when potential divisive issues raised its ugly head in our country,

Let us get a few facts straight:

  • First, former President Flt Lt John Jerry Rawlings is a Ghanaian and our former Head of State.
  • Second UDS has the right to confer an honorary degree on any bonafide Ghanaian
  • Third the University Council can set its own criteria and standard
  • Fourth, the Security agencies have the right to stop any event based on their intelligence
  • Fifth the Vice President has the right meet with the Chair of the University Council.
How one wants to interpretate the facts and what one wants to make of it is not my business. We live in a free world and we are allowed free speech. Ghanaians could debate, talk analyze and comment on the following issues

1. Does JJ deserve the award?
2. Was UDS within its right to award the honorary doctorate?
3. What is the role of our security agencies in such matters?
4. Why did the Special assistant to the Vice President meet the Chairman of UDS?
5. What ensued at the meeting?
6. Was anyone apart from the Council consulted?
7. Was the citation specific to UDS or did it enter the political arena?
8. Should the Council have given the current President prior notice as a matter of etiquette and respect?


Ghanaians are intelligent and sensible and they can decide on the merits/demerits of the case. My concern is not about the process of how/when/whom the UDS decides to confer its honorary degrees but the implied, underlying, subtle message of divisiveness.

Does Jerry deserve an award from UDS?

My answer to the above is simple and clear ? no ambiguities. In my humble opinion Jerry Rawlings deserves an award from UDS. He did a lot for UDS during his tenure in office. Whether the timing was right or whether the citation should have frayed in to the political field is another issue. Professor Kabrurise is a clever person and he understands and knows a thing or two on citations

Was opposition Leader JA Kufuor supportive of UDS?

Setting the record straight? .

First, I can state categorically that our President John Kufuor was equally bullish and supportive of the establishment of UDS when he was just an ordinary opposition leader.

It was (opposition leader J A Kufuor) who encouraged me to get involved with UDS. It was his inspiration that led me to ask Mrs. Valerie Sackey to get me in touch with the former Chairman of the University Dr Wemah.

Second, it was opposition leader JA Kufuor with no resources and state backing who suggested that I try and set up a Trust Fund for UDS in England with the former Lord Mayor of Liverpool Joe Devaney. We tried our best but it did not materialize. I corresponded with Dr Wemah and met a few stakeholders in the UK but unfortunately it did not happened

I tried to resurrect the Trust Fund idea with Joe Devaney when Professor Kabruise was appointed, but Joe has been sick for sometime. -I have the correspondence between Joe and Professor Kabruise, which was passed on to me by Joe.

Third, it was opposition leader JA Kufuor who dropped me of at the Airport when I went to UDS to give a lecture on the ?Debt Crisis?.

Fourth it was opposition leader JA Kufuor who met me at the Airport on my arrival from Tamale and discussed the state of the University, resources, and other important issues.al.

My point is simple: President Kufuor has always been interested in UDS. He has maintained that UDS is the vehicle and engine of growth in the North. He may not have shouted it from the roof-top but believe me he was behind the scenes supporting and urging me on in my quest to set up a Trust Fund for UDS with ex Lord mayor Joe Devaney of Liverpool.

On the same score ex President John Jerry Rawlings has been a passionate advocate for the setting up of UDS.

Unity is Strength

The reason for writing this piece is simple. Our President may not have hit the limelight or made headlines in his unflinching support for the establishment of UDS when he was an opposition leader but I want it on the record, for posterity that he was fully supportive of the concept from day one.

I have the correspondence with Dr Wemah (former chairman of UDS council) and minutes of meetings that I had with Joe Devaney ex Lord mayor of Liverpool and other dignitaries in the North West to try and facilitate the setting up of the Trust Fund.

We are all Ghanaians, our destiny and umbilical cords are tied together. Both ex President John Jerry Rawlings and President Kufuor were committed to the establishment of UDS.

The idea of a University in the North had been on the agenda during the days of Nkrumah it was nothing new It was brought into fruition by ex President Rawlings because he was committed, had the vision and more important the power to make it happen

President Kufuor was just an opposition leader with no funds, power, and authority to make anything happen. However, as readers can tell he has never been wanting in his support for UDS.

Let us Grow Up

It is high time we grow up as a nation and a people. It is high time we stop playing politics with every issue. Our democracy will not mature and bear fruit if we tear ourselves apart over every issue. It is damn sad, damn sad and a great shame that the University Council seem to have bungled a low-key affair and turn it into a pantomime.

It is a bloody shame that instead of us celebrating the coming of age of UDS, its achievements and its potential as a unifying factor in the North it has turned into a ping-pong battle. When are we going to grow up as a nation and stop seeing the world in silos and prisms? Our opinion leaders and elites must unfrock ? they must bite the bullet and take the hard decisions of nation building

I have argued in this column and will continue to argue till I draw my last breath ? we can do it? As a nation we have all the ?ingredients?, attributes, potential of becoming a great nation. We are at our best when we are united, at our best when we speak with one voice, at our best when we become each other?s keeper, at our best when there is no labeling.

As I have shown clearly in my article Ex President John Jerry Rawlings loved UDS he showed it in his actions. Current President John Kufuor loved UDS he showed it in his actions whilst opposition leader. His support for UDS during his tenure of office is for all to see.

For Heaven?s Sake Let us stop politicizing UDS.

I love UDS, Jerry Love UDS and President Kufuor love UDS

God Bless


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