May 29th, 2012; Updated May 30th with Wole Soyinka reaction
NewsRescue- Students of the University of Lagos and the public are strongly resisting a forceful name change by the president of Nigeria, Jonathan, of their esteemed college of higher learning.
The name is being changed from UNILAG to MAULAG in recognition of one of Nigeria’s richest and most corrupt ‘Cabal’ and business moguls of the past, MKO Abiola.
Known for his political machinations and manipulations, and blamed for the sacking of civilian presidency of the Shagari regime and its replacement with a military government. Also the sacking of the Idiagbon-Buhari regime, one of the most uncorrupted, by his invitation of the leaders with the aid of the Saudi royals to the pilgrimage to enable his sponsored Babangida-Abacha coup, in contrast one of Nigeria’s worst regimes.
Late presidential candidate, Abiola is also highly remembered for the usurping of Nigerias wealth in the American multinational ITT (International Telephone and Telegraph) project that would have literally put a phone on every street in Nigeria and catapulted Nigeria into development.
Legendary Musician and black leader, late Fela Kuti, called the ITT ‘International-Thief-Thief’ scandal. Castigating MKO Abiola and Obasanjo for their roles in this
A student at the University put it thus:
We don’t mind them in their love for the Cabal, alive and dead, immortalizing their friends but they should not further insult the dilapidated institutes of higher learning by tarnishing their image with names of known criminals who did nothing but destroy Nigeria. If they want to name something after him, how about ‘KiriKiri, that prison should be named Moshood Kashimawo Abiola house of crime..or criminology.
Images and story from SaharaReporters:
Chanting anti-government songs, Unilag Students crowded all the link routes to the school, asking for an unconditional reversal of President Jonathan’s pronouncement which changed the University’s name
from UNILAG to MAULAG.
Even as they protested, the institution’s information on an online encylopedia, wikipedia had transformed to Moshood Abiola University followed with the apposition ‘formerly known as University of Lagos’.
The rampaging students in their chants said the guilt of the death of Professor Babatunde Shofoluwe, the deceased Vice Chancellor is on the head of President Jonathan for changing the school’s name at a time it
is still mourning the pass away of the V.C.
The Service of Songs slated for Tuesday evening for the Vice Chancellor may be affected by the development as it is not welcomed by the students and staff of the University.
May 30th, 2012
Goodluck Jonathan’s Gift Horse
By Wole Soyinka on SaharaReporters
This is one gift horse which, contrary to traditional saying, must be inspected thoroughly in the mouth.
Primary from all of us must be a plea to the MKO Abiola family not to misconstrue the protests against the naming of the University of Lagos after their heroic patriarch. Issues must be separated and understood in their appropriate contexts. The family will acknowledge that, among the loudest opposing voices to Jonathan’s gift horse, are those who have clamoured tirelessly that MKO Abiola, the Nigerian nation’s president-elect, be honoured nationally, and in a befitting manner.
Next is my confession to considerable shock that President Goodluck Jonathan did not even think it fit to consult or inform the administrators of the university, including Council and Senate, of his intention to re-name their university for any reason, however laudable. This arbitrariness, this act of disrespect, was a barely tolerated aberration of military governance. It is totally deplorable in what is supposed to be a civilian order.
After that comes the bad-mouthing of MKO Abiola and the Nigerian electorate by President Jonathan who referred to MKO as the “presumed winner” of a historic election. While applauding the president for finally taking the bull by the horn and rendering honour unto whom honour is due, the particularities of this gesture have made it dubious, suspect, and tainted. You do not honour someone while detracting from his or her record of achievement. MKO Abiola was not a presumed winner, but the President-elect of a nation, and thus universally acknowledged.
It is sad, very sad, that after his predecessor who, for eight full years of presidency, could not even bear to utter the name of a man who made his own incumbency possible, along comes someone who takes back with the left hand what the right has offered. However, there is hope. Legalists have claimed that there is a legal flaw to the entire process. The university, solidly backed by other tertiary institutions nation-wide, should immediately proceed to the courts of law and demand a ‘stay of execution’. That should give President Jonathan time to re-consider and perhaps shift his focus to the nation’s capital for institutions begging for rituals of re-naming. After all, it is on record that the House of Assembly did once resolve that the Abuja stadium be named after the man already bestowed the unique title of “Pillar of African Sports”. He deserved that, and a lot more. What he did not deserve is to be, albeit posthumously, the centre of a fully avoidable acrimony, one that has now resulted in the shutting down one of the institutions of learning to whose cause, the cause of learning, President-elect MKO Abiola also made unparalleled private contributions.
Let me end by stressing that my position remains the same as it was when the University of Ife was re-named Obafemi Awolowo University. I deplored it at the time, deplore it till today, have never come to terms with it, and still hope that some day in the not too distant future, that crime against the culture of institutional autonomy will be rectified. Let us not compound the aberrations of the past with provocations in an era that should propel us towards a belated new Age of Enlightenment.