By ANDREW OJIEZEL
As Nigerians celebrate annulled of the election that was identified as the most free and fair election ever held in the country, won by late Moshood Abiola, 19 years after, cross sections of Nigerians have continued to react against the change of name of University of Lagos to Moshood Abiola University, saying “we will take President Jonathan to court over it because as an alumni of UNILAG, renaming the institution is an improper step taken by the Federal Government. UNILAG is an old institution of 50 years and it is not proper to put down the reputation of the institution in this way.”
Also, they noted that “We already have Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, named after him, if truly Federal Government is interested and sincere in honouring him, it should name University of Abuja or Presidential Villa in Abuja after him, and not Unilag, we need to preserve our old institutions that have made names. By changing the name, it will affect the institution in a long run, especially internationally.”
The General Secretary of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), Barrister Solomon Onaghinon, who made this known to Allvoices.com last week, stressed that he was ready to take the case to court.
According to him, “Mr President should name the Presidential Villa, National Stadium Abuja, since he was a football lover, or name University of Abuja after him Moshood Abiola, this change of Unilag is not acceptable to us”.
“We are going to drag this case to court because Jonathan did not act in good faith, his action is illegal, it is the law court that will decide it for us.”
According to him, everybody is against it, especially the alumni are against, I am alumnus of the institution, and we are against it. We are not against honouring of late MKO Abiola, if it is true Mr President is sincere in honouring him, he should name fresh institution after him. He fought for the enthronement of the democracy we are enjoying today; as a result, he should be given another befitting institution in that Federal Capital Territory. Why should Mr President be creating problem for the people? In January, his New Year gift for Nigerians was subsidy removal, now it is the half of the year, he brought another dimension, who knows, before the end of the year he may bring another negative policy as end of the year gift, he should stop creating problems for the masses.
He used the change of name for cheap political goal-ONHRM Israel
In his contribution, an activist and human rights crusader, Comrade Israel John, noted that the change of name was only done by Mr President to score cheap political goal, saying why should he take such decision without going through the normal process of consulting with concerned people rather than taking a decision alone?
According to Israel, who is also a publisher of many human rights books stressed that Mr President wants to recognise some people without proper consultation of the people that matter in the land. Under normal situation, such a decision should have gone through the lawmakers since the institution was established under Act of Parliament of 1962, he should also go through the same process to rename it not mere pronouncement which is unconstitutional.
SNG rejects the change of name- Yinka Odumakin.
In its contribution, the Save Nigeria Group (SNG) noted that though it acknowledged the eternal place of Bashorun M.K.O Abiola, the winner of June 12 elections, in the political history of Nigeria and would want the highest possible honour done to him; it is however against “the indecent manner in which President Goodluck Jonathan has re-named the University of Lagos after him.”
“Renaming a University established by law through presidential fiat is an abuse of power which would make even the symbol of democracy turn several times in his grave as he died in the process of fighting against arbitrariness and rule of the thumb which the annulment of June 12 represented.”
Odumakin stressed that the purported renaming of the University of Lagos without due process was a presidential misdemeanour, which has characterised the President Jonathan governance like an emperor in the last one year.
The scant regard for appropriation laws that led to the theft of N3 trillion on fuel subsidy whereas only N245 billion was appropriated, the deployment of soldiers against peaceful protesters against the law and other violations of due process in the last one year; are all signals of a dangerous mind-set driving the country into a full dictatorship while pretending to a democratic order.
It is high time President Jonathan embraced a democratic mind-set and stop behaving like maximum ruler.
“We restate our demand that M.K.O Abiola must be given a befitting honour or the sacrifices he made for democracy in Nigeria in a decent and worthy manner.”