controversy over the renaming of the University of Lagos continues, Nigerians through their representatives in both chambers of the National Assembly will take the final decision on the fate of the higher institution.
The senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District, Gbenga Ashafa, said this in Lagos yesterday at a news conference to mark his one year in the Senate.
Ashafa said the late Abiola deserved the highest honour in the land because of his contributions to democracy.
He said: “Chief M. K. O. Abiola deserves all the honour; in fact, not only one institution should have been named after him, many monuments should have been dedicated to his memory. The Federal Government’s gesture is rather late, it should have come long before now.
“The timing of the announcement is insensitive when the remains late vice-chancellor of the institution have not been buried. I wonder why the Federal Government had to do such a controversial thing in a university environment.
“The Federal Government did not go through due process because UNILAG was established by an Act of Parliament. The proposal should have come to the National Assembly and it should have been properly debated and approved before the announcement by the President.
“The Senate and the House of Representatives will look at it critically. After the due process might have been complied with, it may still be the same UNILAG or the University of Abuja or even the National Stadium that will be named after Chief M. K. O. Abiola. Nigerians will have their say when the issue is tabled before the National Assembly.”
The senator appealed to students of the institution not to be violent and destructive in their protests.
Action is arbitrary – Ex-dean
A former Dean, Faculty of Social Science at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof Lai Olurode, has described the renaming of the school to Moshood Abiola University of Lagos as arbitrary.
Though Olurode admitted that President Goodluck Jonathan deserves commendation for his boldness in recognising MKO Abiola’s sacrifice for the growth of democracy in Nigeria but disagreed on the timing.
He said: “Jonathan’s initiative was indeed laudable. However, the timing of this decision and the means of that recognition were evidently ill conceived. UNILAG is in mourning state having lost its Vice-Chancellor. Secondly, in the context of what Abiola died for, which was the struggle to enthrone due process and rule of law in place of arbitrariness, Abiola himself won’t be happy at the re-naming of an institution in his honour, the process which offends against common sense and the rule of law.
“The President should look elsewhere to honour Abiola who is highly referred as a dogged fighter against procedural breaches and abridgement.”