President John Mahama has reiterated that the national hockey pitch in Accra shall remain the “Theodosia Okoh National Hockey Pitch”, calling attempts last week to rename it after the late President John Evans Atta Mills as “a most sad mistake”.
President Mahama also apologised to Madam Theodosia Okoh, the nonagenarian acclaimed to have personally championed efforts to secure and develop the pitch, for any trauma she might have suffered over the embarrassing decision.
The President was speaking in Cape Coast on Sunday at a non-denominational church service to climax the first anniversary observation of the death of Professor Mills.
He urged Ghanaians to emulate the late president’s life of modesty.
The controversial, albeit short-lived renaming of the national facility by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly saw many condemning the action and got the presidency to order an immediate reinstatement of Madam Theodosia Okoh’s name. She is also credited with designing the Ghana National Flag.
Said President Mahama: “The decision by whoever to rename the national hockey pitch after Prof. was a most sad mistake. Prof. himself in life would not have accepted it. We must therefore not through overzealousness embarrass him in death.
“Let me take this opportunity as President of the Republic Ghana, to express our regrets as a nation to our grandmother, Mrs Theodosia Okoh, also a very selfless citizen of this land for any emotional trauma she might have suffered as a result of the mistake of the renaming of the national hockey pitch.
“I wish to emphasise that the national hockey pitch shall continue to be called the “Theodosia Okoh National Hockey Pitch”.
Many have since the controversy, advanced arguments for the removal from office of the metropolitan chief executive, Dr. Alfred Okoe Vanderpuye.
Mr. Kwesi Pratt Jnr., Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper on Saturday, argued on Radio Gold that Dr. Vanderpuye’s faux pas was one too many that should speed his removal. That act, he said, was unpardonable and too embarrassing.