A well-deserved honour, the decision to finally rename the University of Development Studies, UDS; after former president Jerry John Rawlings. This is the view of sociologist Dr. Nana Obiri-Yeboah.
Speaking on Accra-based Starr FM, he averred that Rawlings must have rejected the offer in his lifetime knowing that he was already monumental but now with his passing, it was the right thing to do knowing his contribution to the institution.
“We all know that education is key to the development of and we all know what UDS for the people of Ghana so he deserves it. Those of us who were around during his hay days, he wasn’t interested in having monuments named after him so I’m sure that’s what motivated him not to accept any monument because he’s already monumental.
“But now that he’s dead and looking at the impact of UDS, I think it’s right that we name the school after him.”
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced today during the state funeral for Rawlings that the family had accepted that UDS be named after him.
What the president said about renaming UDS:
Whilst he was with us, he, respectfully, declined an offer I made to him, in 2017, to have the University of Development Studies, Tamale, (UDS), which he, personally, helped establish, named after him.
His reason was that, in adhering to a long-standing principle, he did not want to have any national monument or facility named after him. Two days after his passing, at the 21st Congregation of UDS, I expressed my strongest convictions, in spite of his reservations, that such an honour should be accorded him.
I am glad that this has found favour with his family, and the necessary formalities will be carried out to achieve this, i.e. The Jerry John Rawlings University of Development Studies, Tamale.
Rawlings and UDS
President Rawlings used his World Food Prize money of $50,000 to establish the university, making it the fifth public university to be established in Ghana. UDS was also the first university to be built in the northern region.
In April 2019, Rawlings officially rejected an offer to rename UDS after him. A press statement issued from his office read in part: “When the proposal for the naming of the UDS was first brought to the former President’s attention by the Education Minister in 2017, he thanked the President and the government for the honour, but politely declined the offer because he had a long-standing principle not to have national monuments and facilities named after him.
“Indeed in November 2015 when the then government of the day offered to name the Offshore Cape Three Points Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel after him he turned down the offer as well,” it added.
He died on November 12, 2020, at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra after a short illness. He is survived by a wife and four children.