Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Newspaper, Kweku Baako Jr., says the Kufuor administration never thwarted nor sabotaged an honorary Doctorate Degree award meant for former President Jerry Rawlings in 2005, from the University for Development Studies (UDS).
Rawlings donated a US$50,000 award from the hunger project to the establishment of UDS, thus the decision by the School’s Council to confer the award on him.
However, the Chairman of the UDS Council at the time, Daniel Gyimah, said the honour could not be awarded to Rawlings due to some national security concerns.
Critics accused him of unilaterally canceling the event upon the receipt of purported petitions from anonymous groups of students and lecturers.
The botched award ceremony generated a huge storm of controversy in the country to the extent that Dr. Abubakr 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 Rawlings.
At the time, Dr Alhassan told Journalists at a press conference that Rawlings deserved to be fully recognised for his extraordinary contribution toward the establishment of the University.
He condemned the attempts by Daniel Gyimah, to cancel the award ceremony and described his excuses for doing so as “flimsy and totally untenable”.
Kweku Baako said on Saturday that former Vice President Aliu Mahama, who was accused by former spokesperson of Rawlings, Victor Smith, of being one of those in the Kufuor administration that orchestrated the scuttling of the event, publicly challenged Gyimah to come clean on the matter.
He also recalled that former National Security Coordinator, Francis Poku, also publicly dissociated his outfit from the letter and said the University could go ahead with the conferment of the award.
The Northern regional Minister at the time, Boniface Saddique, according to Kweku Baako, also affirmed Francis Poku’s position and even called the Management of the School on phone and asked them to go ahead with the event.
He said, the information Minister at the time, Dan Botwe, also denied claims that the Government had a hand in the alleged attempts to scuttle the event.
Kweku Baako said on Joy FM’s news Analysis programme ‘Newsfile’ that “as far as I’m concerned, the evidence was clear that Government did not have anything to do with the cancelation of the event, not necessarily the award”.
The award was finally conferred on Rawlings on Saturday October 12, 2013.