The renaming of public universities is gradually becoming a constant feature of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government.
In the Akufo-Addo government’s two and half years in office, more than three public tertiary institutions have been renamed after former politicians.
First, it was the Wa and Navrongo campuses of University of Development Studies (UDS) and, now, the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) is also set to be renamed.
Known previously as the University of Business and Integrated Development Studies, the Wa campus of UDS has been renamed the ‘Simon Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies’.
Meanwhile, the UENR in Sunyani in the Bono Region is also to be named after the late Prime Minister of the Second Republic, Professor Kofi Abrefa Busia.
This was revealed by President Akufo-Addo during the 4th Congregation of the University in Sunyani.
However, the renaming spree we are seeing under this government can best be described as selfish and inconsiderate.
Ideally, a public university is supposed to be named by geography (like the University of Cape Coast) or mission (like the University of Development studies).
According to US-based legal practitioner and accounting professor, Stephen Kwaku Asare, public universities are created Act of Parliament and are funded using public funds. Therefore, it is totally wrong to rename them after anyone.
"Assuming they were private universities and funded by private persons, then the renaming would be justified.
"These days, the University Governing Councils are the ones who rename the various universities in the country," Prof. Asare opined.
However, that is also wrong. Because public universities are created by an Act of Parliament, only the legislative body hold the right to name or rename these institutions.
The Council only has the power to name some of the university’s facilities – like buildings and roads – after personalities.
The law professor in a Facebook post suggested that the university Council has the power to name academic units – like colleges and institutes – after people who have made substantial contributions to the University.
But the right to rename the University itself entirely solely lies with Parliament and that is why the current naming spree, after, in honour of former politicians, is wrong.
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