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Opinions of Saturday, 17 November 2018

Columnist: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

On the Run: The real facts about UDS conversion

As usual, I had to clasp my nostrils with my thumb and index-finger in order to save my breath from the fetid stench of Mr. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa’s patently farcical and vacuously pontifical propaganda masquerade titled “UDS Conversion into Autonomous Universities – the Facts” (Ghanaweb.com 11/12/18). I guess you could also aptly describe my gut reaction as one of amused contempt. The first question that the critical reader and thinker begins to ask is the following: Precisely how many campuses of the University of Development Studies (UDS) did former President John Dramani Mahama construct? And the resoundingly uncontestable answer is “NIL,” “ZILCH!” in the American version of the English language.

Renaming of institutional facilities created by their political opponents and predecessors is what the National Democratic Congress’ kleptocrats and robber-barons do best. What of the so-called Centers for National Culture poppycock, that was clearly aimed at reducing the standout cache of the world-famous and Kumasi-located Ghana National Cultural Center, also known as “Anokyekrom”? The fact of the matter is that the most modern and majestic campus of the UDS, located in the Upper-West’s regional capital of Wa, presently renamed the Hilla Limann University by President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, if memory serves yours truly accurately, was constructed and progressively equipped with high-end technological and pedagogical facilities by former President John Agyekum-Kufuor, a bona fide member and key player of the then- and now-ruling New Patriotic Party. To be certain, some of us passionately pro-NPP sympathizers even argued at the time that Mr. Kufuor ought to have created the Hilla “Babini” Limann University as an autonomous tertiary academy, in order to prevent the mendacious schemers of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) from taking undeserved credit for the same. Which is precisely what Mr. Ablakwa does in his supposedly “record-straightening” pabulum. It is almost certain that it was from our foregoing call that an infamous copycat President Mahama “inspirationally” came by his idea of converting all three or four campuses of the University of Development Studies into autonomous establishments or tertiary institutions.

We must also promptly underscore the fact that the very concept of the northern-located University of Development Studies was conceived by the democratically elected but criminally ousted President Hilla “Babini” Limann of the erstwhile Nkrumah-leaning People’s National Party (PNP). But, of course, the germ of the very UDS Idea actually comes from Ghana’s first postcolonial leader, namely, Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah, later re-designated as President Kwame Nkrumah. At any rate, I could not help but heartily and raucously laugh over the evidentiary data presented by the NDC’s North-Tongu Member of Parliament in a shamelessly vainglorious attempt to preen the nonexistent feathers of his former boss.

You see, I could not help literally falling off my chair with laughter because, from the historical evidence presented by Mr. Ablakwa, the former Mahama Deputy Minister of Education, the team of experts that was assembled to make recommendations for the conversion of the three, or so, campuses of the UDs was headed/chaired by none other than my own cousin, namely, Dr. Christina Amoako-Nuamah, whose biological father, Master/Teacher Amoako-Nuamah, of Akyem-Kwabeng, was the nephew of my maternal grandfather, the Rev. T. H. Sintim, of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG), and Akyem-Begoro and Asiakwa.

The Tongu-North’s NDC-MP is also right that then-President John Dramani Mahama had invited former President Agyekum-Kufuor to the former’s inauguration of the Kufuor-built Bui Dam. But as I clearly indicated in an article published by the Ghanaian Chronicle newspapers, it was only to publicly and deliberately humiliate the Bui Dam builder by conspicuously and adamantly refusing to acknowledge the presence of the invitee. In other words, it was quite clear that Mr. Mahama had not expected Mr. Kufuor to show up on the day of the official inauguration of the Bui Dam. The caption of my article observing this fact was “Kufuor Get His Bronx Cheer All Right.” The same article also appeared on the VibeGhana.com website and several other media websites. Personally, though, I thought back then that the Akufo-Addo-railroading Mr. Agyekum-Kufuor deserved every bit of the rude-awakening that he was delivered by then-President Mahama and the National Democratic Congress’ leadership at Bui.

In other words, like the founding of the University of Ghana, the first and foremost tertiary academy of the country whose de-factor and de-jure founder, Dr. Joseph (Kwame Kyeretwie) Boakye-Danquah, Mr. Ablakwa vehemently disputes, the “Akyem-Factor” in the conversion of the UDS into three or four autonomous institutions cannot be factually and soundly controverted. If, in the warped and irreparably “Trokosified” opinion of Mr. Ablakwa, Dr. Danquah does not even half-deserve to be recognized as the preeminent and de-facto founder of the University of Ghana (UG), Mr. Ablakwa prefers to cede such credit to Rev.-Prof. C. G. Baeta, then how does the latter argument square up with Mr. Ablakwa’s campaign to have the UDS, or at least the Tamale campus of the UDS, renamed the J. J. Rawlings University of Development Studies? And this, for the man who has done more to irreparably undermine the institutional integrity and development of tertiary education in the country than any other postcolonial Ghanaian leader!

Would the North-Tongu NDC-MP also factually and sincerely argue that Chairman Rawlings has contributed more, seminally and materially, towards the development of Ghana, including the very renaming of the erstwhile Gold Coast, than the putative Doyen of Gold Coast and Modern Ghanaian Politics? You see, drawing-board or paper-based institutional conversions like the one for which Mr. Ablakwa would have former President Mahama credited with/for were not key to the critical establishment and development of public education in Ghana. Rather, such a process inescapably entails the sort of practical and intellectual heavy-lifting that Mr. Ablakwa rudely and so blasphemously denies Dr. Danquah but would, somehow, have the same facilely and ahistorically attributed and/or credited to his generous former paymaster and political benefactor and patron.

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

English Department, SUNY-Nassau

Garden City, New York

November 15, 2018

E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net