Is it really all about a name? Yesterday, 29th of May 2012, the good students of University of Lagos, Akoka were presented with a new pronouncement; the name of their prestigious school had been changed by Presidential order to Moshood Abiola University, Lagos.
I would for now ignore the national and historical implications of such an act and instead focus on the subsequent line of action taken by the students of the school. As you all know, the news has not been taken all too well by the student body, they did not hesitate to make their voices heard by firstly leading a protest within the school premises yesterday and by sealing off Third main land bridge (according to wide spread reports).
The issue would have passed without me making a single public comment had it not been for the second protest the students have set up.
Apart from Third main land bridge being a key route in the commercial nerve centre that is Lagos state, there is a very high probability that these students had no official or police permission to carry out this protest (the police wouldn’t have permitted it anyway).
They have simply acted out of the need to be heard. Quite commendable, if they were protesting a much more worthy cause, such as Fuel price increase or better standards of education or a review in the archaic educational curriculum.
Protesting a name change. Not like no one has a right to protest such a thing or I am totally dismissing and condemning the expression of disapproval by the students, I simply find their outlet for venting most in appropriate.
Many will present several reasons for objecting to such a name change, even pointing out the illegality of the procedure but we most of all should not discount one fact here. The purpose of this name change was to honor one man. The late Alhaji, Bashorun Moshood Abiola. A man who in many regards should have been Nigeria’s first truly elected President in a widely transparent, free and fair election.
My guess is most of the students protesting the name change of their beloved university were barely out of diapers when the events of June 12 happened.
Not to discredit their knowledge of history but they were barely old enough to experience the emotions of those events and despite my disapproval of the President’s choice of institution to rename (discussion for another day), I feel the protesting students of ‘Moshood Abiola University’ disrespect the man after whom their school has been renamed by rejecting the said name.
MKO Abiola was a great man. One who we as Nigerians should aspire to emulate.
To be honest, I winced when the news broke. As it is, several monuments, structures and roads in the south west of Nigeria have already been named after MKO Abiola, hence my puzzlement why the President chose University of Lagos.
I advise the students to return to their normal academic activities and lodge formal complaints and petitions with the right authorities about this issue. At least the Presidency is just one arm of government and the other arms have specific powers to check his excesses.
Civil disobedience is not the answer, let MKO Abiola’s struggle not be in vain.
This is simply my own point of view, agreeing with me is not mandatory or solicited.