Barring any last minute hitches, the Senate will today commence the debate on the amendment of the University of Lagos Act, which provides for the establishment of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), to pave the way for the change of name of the institution to Moshood Abiola University, Lagos (MAULAG).
During the last Democracy Day celebration on May 29, President Goodluck Jonathan announced the decision of the federal government to rename UNILAG after the acclaimed winner of the June 12 1993 presidential election, the late MKO Abiola. However, the decision turned to be controversial with the students, academic faculties and alumni of the institution rejecting the change of name.
It soon became the subject of litigation, as the alumni association of the institution filed a suit against the name change ahead of Jonathan’s submission of an amendment bill to the National Assembly. Irrespective, the president still sent the bill to the legislature to jumpstart the process for the change of name.
If the bill secures the support of the majority senators, it will pass through the second reading today after which it will be committed to the Senate Committee on Education for further legislation.
Last week, when THISDAY got a hint of the forthcoming debate on the bill, and asked the Senate Committee Chairman on Education, Senator Uche Chukwumerije, about the amendment, he expressed ignorance about the bill, stating: “I will be surprised if anybody attempts to bring that bill to the chamber.”
Also, when THISDAY approached Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, on the matter, he also said he knew nothing about the bill. However, the notice of Senate commitments for today showed that the bill would be debated.
The Senate also Tuesday approved the establishment of nine federal universities by the federal government in 2010.
The approval followed the presentation of the reports of the Senate Committee on Education on the bills establishing the institutions.
The nine universities are Federal University of Lokoja; Federal University, Ndufu-Alike Ikwo; Federal University, Otuoke; Federal University, Oye-Ekiti; Federal University, Dutse; Federal University, Wukari; Federal University, Dutsin-ma; Federal University, Kashere; and Federal University, Lafia.
The Senate also approved the establishment of University of Uyo.
Senate President, Senator David Mark, while affirming the approval, advised the federal government to adequately fund the institutions so that they could live up to their responsibilities.
“Hopefully, these universities will now take off properly and we hope they will be properly funded so that students and graduates from there will be recognised,” Mark prayed.
In addition, Jonathan asked the Senate to confirm the appointment of Adesoji Olaoba-Efuntayo as the Executive Secretary of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Olaoba-Efuntayo, if confirmed, will represent the South-west in the commission. The president also sought confirmation for four other members of the commission from the four geo-political zones of the country.
Other nominees to the commission are Uwasonba Udochukwu (South-east), Emmanuel Ibitolu (North-central), Michael Ebong (South-south) and Ismaila Mohammed Dukku (North-east).
In a letter addressed to the senate president, Jonathan cited Sections 2(3) of the EFCC Act 2004, which he said empowers him to appoint the nominees.
He also sought the Senate’s confirmation for members of the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) in accordance with Section 154 sub-section 1 and 3 and paragraph 12 (e) of the 1999 Constitution.
The nominees to the FJSC are Hajiya Fatma Kwaku and Olumuyiwa Akinboro.