It would be interesting to learn just who told that group of petulant young men – at least as gleaned from the photograph accompanying the news article – that it is the inalienable constitutional right of any self-appointed citizens group calling itself Concerned Navrongo Citizens for Development (CNCD) to decide what state-owned property gets named after which notable and/or distinguished Ghanaian citizen (See “Build Yours and Rename It after CK Tedam, Not Navrongo UDS – Group Protests” Modernghana.com 10/18/19). It is also not clear to this writer, precisely what material input the members of the CNCD individually and collectively contributed towards the construction and establishment of the CK Tedam University of Technology and Applied Sciences to warrant their rather insolent demand for back-walking the renaming of the aforesaid tertiary institution after the recently deceased great Ghanaian statesman and stalwart of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).
If they are able to soundly respond to the two preceding queries, then, perhaps, we could dispassionately begin to debate the question of whether the legendary Mr. Tedam or any other national figure or personality better qualifies to have UTAS renamed after her/him. At any rate, it is equally about time that some of these major tertiary academies also got renamed after some of our distinguished Ghanaian stateswomen and leaders of great worth and achievements across all fields of national endeavor. Of course, I have heard the argument of another pro-Nkrumah group that maintains that the late Mr. Lawrence Rosario Abavana, the Navrongo-born Nkrumah cabinet appointee better qualifies to have UTAS renamed after him, except that the pushers of this agenda and line of reasoning are not very convincing, if also because their argument seems to be primarily predicated on the several short-lived cabinet appointments of Mr. Abavana by President Nkrumah, which do not appear to have necessarily been based on proven competence but rather sheer tokenism.
For instance, one argument pushed by the pro-Abavana group is that their political idol or preferred candidate led several delegations to international conferences and/or missions, the national development impact of which has not been made clear to some of those of us who care to listen. At any rate, predicating the achievements of Mr. Tedam parochially in terms of the latter veteran educator and distinguished statesman’s contributions to the development of either Navrongo or the Upper-East Region does great disservice to the honoree. Even so, what needs to be emphasized here is the fact that there are clearly laid-down procedures governing the renaming of national landmarks and properties after distinguished Ghanaian leaders and citizens, and not simply because any group of disgruntled citizen protesters would have it one way or another. And so far, the available evidence indicates that President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo strictly followed established procedure.
What is even more significant to promptly and critically observe is that absolutely nothing whatsoever prevented the leaders of the previous regimes and administrations from honoring those of our leaders and distinguished citizens they deemed to have positively impacted our national development by renaming some landmarks and/or institutional monuments and establishments after the same. It is all just a question of visionary foresight and a fitting recognition of our national heroes and sheroes, which is one of the salient features that differentiate civilized nations from benighted and morally and culturally underdeveloped ones. Indeed, going by the logic of the so-called Concerned Navrongo Citizens for Development, one would question why the Kumasi-based University of Science and Technology was renamed after Mr. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first postcolonial leader, since Nkrumah was not a native Asante but an Nzema native from the village of Nkroful, in the Western Region.
You see, we are talking about our collective national identity as Ghanaians, and not either our regional or ethnic and subethnic identities here. Which is why I feel very sorry for the members of the so-called Concerned Navrongo Citizens for Development, who well appear not to be really concerned about development at all but raw envy and hatred and pure political partisanship. Otherwise, why would the members of the same group be luridly calling for President Akufo-Addo to build other institutions, such as health clinics and schools and name all of these after Mr. Tedam? No such intemperate proposition could be at once more scandalous and inexcusably absurd.
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
October 26, 2019
E-mail: [email protected]
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