The recent “firestorm” of public criticism of President Nana Akufo-Addo’s hint at renaming the University of Ghana after his late uncle J. B. Danquah shows Ghanaians have “clearly had enough of the tribal-supremacist agenda of the president and his kinsmen”, Economist Nii Moi Thompson has observed.
Speaking recently at the 75th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service of the university, President Akufo-Addo praised the Big Six member’s pivotal role in establishing the institution of higher learning and suggested that such a renaming would be fitting.
“It will be wholly appropriate and not at all far-fetched to describe Joseph Boakye Dankwa as the founder of this university,” Mr. Akufo-Addo asserted.
He said it is “a fact which, on the 75th anniversary of its existence, should be vividly recalled by all of us who have been and are beneficiaries of his work”.
“Indeed, in many other jurisdictions where there is less heat in their politics and more attachment to the fact of historical record, it would not have been out of place to have this university named after him,” the president observed, hinting: “Who knows, one day it may well happen.”
However, Dr. Thompson, in an article titled: ‘Beware, the tribal supremacists: Myths of J.B. Danquah and the Big Six’, said the “tribal-supremacist agenda” of the president and his kinsmen, is not a latent one.
He said “None of them have articulated the rationale behind this agenda more brazenly than a relative of the president, Mr. Samuel Atta Akyea, who, three years ago, said the following on the television programme, Good Evening Ghana: ‘If you remove the role of the Akyem people from the history of this country, we won’t have a history … The guy who named this country is from Akufo-Addo’s background. The one who wanted Ghana called Ghana… [was] J. B. Danquah….'” Dr. Thompson referenced.
He said during that TV programme, “Mr. Akyea went on to cite the Big Six, the leaders of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), who were arrested by the British colonialists after the 1948 riots that accelerated the independence process, and reminded viewers that the president’s father, among the six, ‘was one of the individuals who are acclaimed as the pioneers of our independence.”
“With this crude concoction of facts and fiction,” Dr. Thompson indicated, “they [the president and his kinsmen] tend to believe that they own the country and can do as they please.”
Through that agenda, Dr. Thompson pointed out that “textbooks, for instance, have been doctored and Danquah given disproportionate prominence in Ghana’s history.”
“This peasant aristocracy sense of entitlement, especially among people occupying national offices, is a threat to social cohesion and national development,” he condemned.
He then went on to demolish some of the “myths” about J. B. Danquah and the Big Six, tackling “other aspects of Ghanaian history that the tribalists have bastardised to drive this dangerous ideology of tribal supremacy.”
In the article, Dr. Thompson said despite his aversion to the “tribal-supremacist agenda” of the president and his kinsmen, “I condemn the term ‘Akyem mafia’ or any term that demonises an entire tribe for the folly of a few.”