The leader of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr John Mahama, has pledged to drop the names assigned by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to certain public universities in Ghana if he secures re-election in the 2024 polls.
President Akufo-Addo renamed several public universities, such as the University for Development Studies (UDS), Wa campus, now known as Simon Diedong Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies (SDD-UBIDS); and the C.K. Tedam University of Technology and Applied Sciences (CKT-UTAS).
Similarly, the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) was renamed the George Grant University of Mines and Technology.
In August 2023, Mr Akufo-Addo hinted at renaming Ghana's premier university, the University of Ghana, after Joseph Boakye (J.B.) Danquah.
Speaking during the 75th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service of the university, President Akufo-Addo praised Danquah's pivotal role in establishing the institution 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."
Mr Mahama criticised the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government for renaming universities established by the NDC, expressing confusion over the NPP's practice of renaming existing institutions instead of constructing new ones.
While addressing supporters in the Upper East Region, Mr Mahama argued for the need to align university names with their primary objectives.
He asserted that the NDC, recognised for constructing numerous schools, would restore the original names of universities, ensuring they reflect their core mandates.
Additionally, he proposed naming specific university infrastructure after significant figures while preserving the institution's fundamental identity.
“We are known as nation-builders because of the number of schools we have built. Every public university was initiated and built by us. All the NPP knows how to do is name universities that people have built. After NDC builds a university, then they will give it the name of one of their heroes or people. We are going to rename the universities. Ghana has many heroes, and not only the heroes of the NPP tradition”, Mr Mahama articulated.
He added: “We can name an administration block, hostel, and library after somebody. But, the university must reflect its core mandate. And, so, we will restore the original names, and the names that they have given them will be given to significant infrastructure in the universities. And we will add other people and name the infrastructure in the universities after them. But if the university is the University for Development Studies, that is its core mandate. It will be called the University for Development Studies.”