The renaming of the University of Lagos after the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief MKO Abiola, had continued to attract the condemnation of more Nigerians on Thursday.
Former Lagos State Governor Bola Tinubu; Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi; a member of the National Assembly, Gbenga Ashafa; Mohammed, son of the late legal giant Gani Fawehinmi; Abuja-based lawyer, David Agunbiade; a UNILAG lecturer, Prof. Lai Olurode; Osun State University lecturer, Prof. Siyan Oyeweso; and the leader of the Civil Society Coalition, Shehu Sani, rejected the renaming of UNILAG as Moshood Abiola University, asking the Federal Government to reverse its decision.
In a statement, Tinubu contended that though the President’s decision to rename the university after Abiola was welcome, it fell short of what was required.
He said, “We must congratulate the President for attempting to do it, but we say-do it right. MKO was elected by the entire country not just by the Yoruba – he was arrested and taken to Abuja. He was tried, incarcerated and eventually died in very controversial circumstances in Abuja under the custody of federal agents. Abiola’s mandate was a national mandate which he tried to reclaim. But we must be careful not to localise or sectionalise MKO.”
Fayemi, who is an alumnus of UNILAG, described Jonathan’s action “as an opportunistic recognition of the late winner of June 12, 1993 presidential election.”
Ashafa said, “The timing of the announcement is insensitive when the remains of the VC of the institution have not been buried. I wonder why the Federal Government had to do such a controversial thing in a university environment.”
Mohammed said in a statement that the pronouncement was a blunder borne out of ill advice to the President.
Like Agunbiade and Sani, Mohammed alleged that the renaming of UNILAG after Abiola by a mere statement by the President was done to secure votes in the South-West in 2015.
Olurode and Oyeweso said the President should have consulted widely before his decision.