Former President Jerry John Rawlings, while alive, expressed his disgust about the naming of national edifices and monuments after him, General Secretary of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), has said.
“President Rawlings, when he was alive, did not take pleasure in monuments being named after him”, Mr Asiedu Nketia said at a vigil held in honour of the late military leader on Sunday, 15 November 2020.
“In fact, there were several occasions where he resisted the attempt to name monuments after him”, he recalled, adding: “His life also shows that he abhors ostentatious living and ostentatious funerals and ceremonies…He kept reminding us that the best tribute we can keep in his memory is to hold dearly, the principles of June 4 based upon which the NDC was established”.
A day before the NDC’s vigil, President Nana Akufo-Addo had said even though former President Rawlings declined an offer in 2017 to have the University of Development Studies (UDS) named after him, he (the president) strongly believes it must happen in honour of the late leader, who used a $50,000 cash prize he received, as seed money for the university while he was president.
At a graduation ceremony at the UDS Campus, Tamale on Saturday, 14 November 2020, Mr Akufo-Addo said Mr Rawlings deserves the honour.
“The immense amount of work undertaken by President Rawlings and his government resulted in the establishment of this university”, the President said, recalling: “In 2017, I indicated to him, through the Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, my decision to name this university after him. He, respectfully, declined the honour and offer because of his principle not to have national monuments named after him.”
“Notwithstanding these sentiments, and with all due respect to him, it is my strong belief, which I am sure has the backing of the majority of Ghanaians, that such an honour be accorded him,” the president said.
At the vigil, Mr Asiedu Nketia also said the only way to hold dearly, the principles of former President Rawlings and the June 4 revolution, is to ensure that the party wins the upcoming 7 December polls.
According to him, the principles of June 4 will become ineffective if the NDC remains in opposition and called on supporters of the party to work to ensure victory in the general elections.
He said: “The principles of Rawlings are good but they will be impotent if we are in opposition. So, the best tribute to President Rawlings is to be committed to the rescue mission”.
“So, be fired up by the temporary demise of our founder to win this election and rescue this nation, Ghana, which was dear to his heart from the very ills he fought against all his life.
“Corruption, today, is worse than what he fought against on the occasion of June 4th. Nepotism, today, is worse than what occasioned the June 4th revolution. Let us fight to come to power. Let us revisit the idea of June 4th becoming one of the national holidays. We can only do this in power”, Mr Asiedu Nketia noted.
He further indicated that the only way to keep the memory of the late President alive is to continue practising his cherished principles.
The NDC General Secretary stated: “I believe strongly that the way to keep President Rawlings’ memory alive is to observe the principles of June 4, keep on practising what he cherished most; and, for my comrades in the cadre fraternity, for us to remind ourselves about the simple things he did to show that he cared for the fellow Ghanaians.”
He also urged supporters of the NDC to organise cleanup exercises in their various constituencies in remembrance of Mr Rawlings.
“We have to dedicate one day to undertake a massive clean-up exercise in remembrance of Rawlings and route marches. I believe that if this is done, President Rawlings will be smiling wherever he is now,” Mr Nketia said.