UNILAG name change; the way forward


By Adeyemi Olalemi
Akokites rose from their silence, gentleness, comfort zone to storm the streets and major highways in Lagos to protest against the announced renaming of UNILAG to Moshood Abiola University by President Goodluck Jonathan on May 29th, 2012. The action they describe as an attempt to destroy an institution that has gained global recognition for the past 50 years. University of Lagos was on the spotlight as news from UNILAG name saga and the students’ reactions were major headlines in media.
You will recall that University of Lagos students, and alumni drag the Federal Government to court and did obtain an injunction from Federal High Court Ikeja on June 25th, 2012 restraining the Federal Government from renaming the institution pending the court verdict.
The interim order by the court was however, elongated on July 4th, 2012 to September 21st, 2012 when hearing is expected to resume as Justice Stephen Adah reaffirmed his earlier interim order restraining the Federal Government and other concerned authorities from changing the name of University of Lagos to Moshood Abiola University.
Let me inform you that the two times “UNILAG versus FG” case was heard in court, the average number of UNILAG students who attended the hearings did not exceed twenty – five (25). Which shows that where much is expected of us we all did not deliver much, one will have expected that in a case of this magnitude where we are contending with the Highest authorities in a country (Federal Government) that we all as students will fill the court premises with our banners, placards to show that we are really ready to overturn the president announcement in the court.
Also it is not enough to just protest and disrupt activities on the streets of Lagos, but students and student Leaders and stakeholder should send representatives to the National Assembly in Abuja with petitions to formally make our displeasure known and why we want the University of Lagos to remain.
Our online referendum against unilag name change on where we need 50,000 signature to support our cause have been abandoned after we all resumed from the two weeks compulsory break and currently we have 13,386 signatures as at the time of writing this. University of Lagos students are estimated to be about 42,000, which means that not all students of the school had signed the petition perhaps if everyone is encouraged and the right information are being sent, we will attain the 50,000 signatures in matter of days.
Unfortunately the next court hearing was fixed for September 21st, 2012 which is very likely to fall during our second semester break; one will begin to wonder who then will come from home to go for court hearing. Even some faculty Presidents who had been attending the hearing will be out of office by then and many of them would have become alumni.
If all hands are not on deck, our celebration of UNILAG remaining for now may just be short lived since the other is just temporary. Let every students, school management, alumni wake up from their slumber to ensure that UNIVERSITY OF LAGOS remains and if this happens, we will be making positive change and telling every Nigerians that their voice matters in a democratic dispensation


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