The lawyer for embattled Deputy General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Victor Kojoga Adawudu has said that the government’s decision to reverse the name of the seat of government from Flagstaff House to Jubilee House was taken to ‘massage the ego’ of the president.
According to him, handlers of the president deemed the decision a perfect birthday gift to the president and failed to take into consideration the relevance of the decision to the general Ghanaian populace.
Speaking on Citi FM’s news analysis and current affairs programme, The Big Issue on Saturday, Victor Adawudu said the move was merely political.
“I see it more as ‘it was the president’s birthday, and the people around him wanted to massage his ego and say that on his birthday, we changed the name to Jubilee House. The president will be happy. Don’t forget that in politics, there is a concept of legacy and ownership, so if we name anything during our tenure, history will have it that it was during the tenure of these people that we called that…”
Victor Kojoga Adawudu who believes there were more important things to be done, added that the government wanted to divert the attention of citizens from the ensuing controversy over its acceptance of the Ghana-US Defence Cooperation Agreement which seeks to allow US military personnel unrestricted access to some vital defence installations in the country.
He said the government was feeling the “pressure” of citizens against its decision on the agreement and so wanted to redirect their concerns to less sensitive matters such as the renaming of the seat of government.
On Thursday March, 29, 2018, which coincides with President Akufo-Addo’s 74th birthday, the government announced that it was renaming the seat of government.
It changed the name from the Flagstaff House to Jubilee House.
The move came a day after thousands of Ghanaians staged a demonstration against the government for ratifying the Ghana-US defence cooperation agreement.
The demonstrators, most of whom were sympathizers of all the opposition parties including the NDC, said the government was selling the country’s sovereignty through the agreement, but the government has defended the decision.
The name of the seat of government
The seat of government was re-built in 2008 during the tenure of the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) John Agyekum Kufuor.
The edifice which serves as the office for the president of Ghana was financed and constructed by the India government with $135 million in 2009.
After its construction, it was named the Golden Jubilee House when Ghana was celebrating 50 years since independence, until the National Democratic Congress (NDC) under the late President John Evans Atta-Mills, took over governance in 2009.
Mills moved the office of the president back to the Osu Castle and later changed the sign in front of the building back to its original name, claiming that the previous government had not used a Legislative Instrument to effect the change as required by law.
He was criticized by many who said the name Flagstaff House which was named by the British Gold Coast government glorifies colonialism.
The seat of government was moved back to Flagstaff House in January 2013.
Akufo-Addo gets $1m India money to renovate Jubilee House
The Indian government in August 2017 donated an amount of $1 million dollars to the Akufo-Addo government for the renovation of the edifice.
The donation was made by India’s Minister of State for External Affairs, M.J. Akbar who paid a courtesy call on President Nana Akufo-Addo on the occasion of India’s 70th independence anniversary.