February 25, 2015. Professor Kodwo Ewusi, Dean of Graduate Studies at the Methodist University College, called on President Mahama to reconsider renaming the University of Ghana (UG), Legon, after Dr. Joseph Boakye (JB) Danquah, for his immense contribution by putting up a strong arguments which persuaded the then British government to accept the majority report in 1948 which led to the establishment of Ghana’s premier university.
Prof. Ewusi Speaking at the 48th JB Danquah memorial lectures at the British Council in Accra said, “Among his illustrious accomplishments was his unyielding fight to help with the establishment of the university here in Ghana in 1948. The British government accepted a minority report that they should not establish universities in all the West African States but they should establish only one university in Nigeria. Against this, Dr Danquah argued in the legislature, he also argued in seminars. Finally, the British government was persuaded to accept the majority report to establish the University of Ghana. But let me suggest here now that for this contribution, I think that the University of Ghana should indeed be called JB Danquah University of Ghana.”
He then proposed that UG should be called JB Danquah University of Ghana because of the late statesman’s enormous contribution to the establishment of the university.
Fast-forward to Monday, May 7, 2018, President Akufo-Addo speaking at the launch of an Endowment Fund at the University as part of activities in commemorating its 70th-anniversary celebrations of the school, said that his uncle, Joseph Boakye Danquah, is the founder of UG.
“It will be wholly appropriate and not at all far-fetched to describe Joseph BoakyeDanquah as the founder of this University,” he said.
Akufo-Addo added that, “How felicitous was that decision and how greatly it has contributed to the growth of modern Ghana, it will be wholly appropriate and not at all far-fetched to describe Joseph BoakyeDanquah as the founder of this University…. The fact which on the 70th anniversary of the university’s existence should be vividly recalled that all of us are the beneficiaries of his work.”
Akufo-Addo statements has generated some rumors that he may consider renaming the Nation’s premier University in honour of his Uncle, a member of the ‘Big Six’.
A veteran journalist Kweku Baako Jnr said on Newsfile Saturday that consistently exaggerating his family’s role in history of Ghana is likely to destroy the essence of truth “When you exaggerate the truth, the essence of the truth is destroyed and undermined.”
Mr Baako also added that The Gold Coast nationalist backed a motion in parliament to set up an Elliot commission that led to the establishment of the university during British rule.
He continued by saying that JB Danquah played a very significant role in persuading farmers to provide £867,000 as seed money for the university but the president assertion is ‘exclusionist’.
KwekuDarkoAnkraha historian and researcher at the University of Ghana, while praising JB Danquah’s role also says the president’s view is exclusionist.
He said leading personalities like Sir ArkuKorsah, Nene Azu Mate–Kole, Otumfuo Sir OseiAgyemangPrempeh, and JB Danquah pushed the colonial government and worked to establish the university collective effort of the Gold Coasters and monies generated from cocoa farmers.
“The Gold Coast intelligentsia, the Gold Coast elites as well as the farmers, the ordinary people, it is their money that established University of Ghana especially the cocoa farmers. And they need to be congratulated. But when we talk about individual efforts, first and foremost we need to put historical chronology and see who the primus inter pares in all this debate is.”
Checks by Happy FM’s Joseph Nii Ankrah on the University’s website recognizes JB Danquah as leader who moved and convinced the British colonialists to build the University of Ghana when they primarily intended to build a single university in Ibadan, Nigeria for the entire British colony in West Africa.
“The Elliot Commission published a majority report which recommended the establishment of two University Colleges in the Gold Coast (Ghana) and Nigeria, and a minority report which held that only one University College for the whole of British West Africa was feasible. The British Government at first accepted the minority report of the Elliot Commission and decided that a University College for the whole of British West Africa should be established at Ibadan in Nigeria. But the people of the Gold Coast could not accept this recommendation. Led by the scholar and politician, the late Dr JB Danquah, they urged the Gold Coast Government to inform the British Government that the Gold Coast could support a University College. The British Government accordingly reviewed its decision and agreed to the establishment of the University College of the Gold Coast.”
Joseph Kwame Kyeretwie Boakye Danquah was an Africanist, scholar, lawyer and was considered one of the founding fathers of Ghana who played a significant role in the colonial era of Ghana. He is also known as the doyen of Ghana politics.
By: Joseph Nii Ankrah.