President John Mahama has described as “unfortunate political intrusion” former Kufuor administration’s alleged scuttling of the conferment of an honorary doctorate award on former President Jerry John Rawlings by the Governing Council of the University of Development Studies (UDS).
The botched honorary doctorate award was meant to recognise Mr. Rawlings’ personal contributions toward the establishment and growth of the University.
President Mahama, who addressed UDS’ Special Congregation on Thursday April 25, 2013 to mark the 20th anniversary of the school in the Northern regional said: “I am happy to note that steps are being taken by the authorities of this university to appropriately recognise his efforts and thereby rectify the unfortunate political intrusion that prevented his being honoured by this institution some years ago”.
Mr. Mahama extolled Mr Rawlings’ personal donation of money to the university’s growth during its infancy.
He recalled that: “…He [Mr. Rawlings] also donated money given to him from an award he won for leadership to be used for provision of some basic facilities for this Institution”.
“Let me also take the opportunity to salute His Excellency President Jerry John Rawlings whose vision and untiring efforts led to the creation of the University of Development Studies,” he said.
The intended conferment of the award on Mr. Rawlings in 2005 was allegedly thwarted by some elements in the former Kufuor administration with the purported collusion of the Chairman of the University Council, Mr. Daniel Kofi Charles Gyimah who, at the time, admitted that the decision to confer the award was a collective UDS Council decision but yet, according to critics, unilaterally canceled the event upon the receipt of purported petitions from anonymous groups of students and lecturers.
The still-born award ceremony generated a huge storm of controversy in the country to the extent that Dr. Abubakar Alhassan, a member of the Professor George Benneh Committee on the establishment of the University of the North-the original name of the University of Development Studies, UDS- and Chairman of its Sub-Committee on Physical Facilities, came out to fiercely declare support for the conferment of the award on Mr. Rawlings.