General News of Saturday, 31 March 2018
It was a good decision by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to rename the Flagstaff House to Jubilee House, Professor Kwaku Asare, a United States-based Ghanaian law professor, has said.
According to him, although the change of name will not put food on the tables of Ghanaians, it was important for the state to “sort out these things and correct the record for our posterity.”
The Flagstaff House, has officially been renamed Jubilee House on the day President Akufo-Addo celebrated his 74th birthday – Thursday, 29 March 2018.
The Jubilee House was commissioned by former President John Agyekum Kufuor in 2008 to serve as the seat of government and official residence of the President of Ghana. However, when the National Democratic Congress (NDC) took over the reins of this country after the 2008 elections, the edifice was renamed Flagstaff House. The then-President, John Evans Atta Mills refused to operate from that edifice and chose to work form the Osu Castle. But his successor, John Dramami Mahama decided to operate from the Flagstaff House.
Reacting to the change of name, the NDC in a statement said the name change by Mr Akufo-Addo was nothing but a diversionary tactic by government to draw attention away from the defence deal it had signed with United States of America which has been widely criticised.
A statement signed by the party’s General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia said: ““Whereas this renaming gimmick is intended to be a cheap diversionary tactic from the overwhelming demand from Ghanaians for President Akufo-Addo to stop mortgaging our sovereignty for a pittance.
“Whereas this failed diversionary tactic will not stop us from continuing our demand for a better renegotiated mutually acceptable and reciprocally respectful agreement with the United States of America, which remains a friendly nation.”
But commenting on this development on his Facebook page, Prof Asare said : “I continue to think that it was unnecessary and a mistake for the Mills government to change Jubilee House to Flagstaff House. To be sure, Flagstaff House, a colonial military quarters, was used by the first President but the edifice put up under President Kuffour is more expansive than the quarters and he earned the right to name it. I also think naming it Jubilee House, to commemorate [email protected] was apt, neutral, laudable and apolitical.
“While I agree that naming will not give us bread and butter, I disagree with those who think it is an unimportant issue. We must sort out these things and correct the record for our posterity. I think the compromise to call the original building, that housed the First President, Flagstaff Quarters (not Flagstaff House) is opposite. It’s a grand compromise that will allow the modern edifice to be properly named while still preserving the colonial relic.
“Finally, I call on Parliament to enact a law to give effect to the name, provide for the maintenance of the JH, and to bind all future Presidents to move there on January 7 or where leaving office to vacate same by January 6.”