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Renaming UNILAG to immortalise Abiola
IT was very refreshing that on the long run, the Federal Government decided to immortalise Nigeria’s martyr of democracy, the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, late Chief MKO Abiola, in recognition of the supreme sacrifice he made for the democratic government we enjoy today.
Though belated, one must commend President Goodluck Jonathan for yielding to popular demand, more so as he is not a Yoruba man and is not the first president, since the travails and ultimate death of Abiola on detention. Indeed, a prophet is not without honour except in his country and among his own people.
All the same, Abiola’s role and significance are beyond his tribe, place of abode and geo-political zone. Therefore, a more appropriate and fitting institution to name after him should be national and nationwide in all its ramifications, in the nation’s capital, Abuja.
If it must be in the field of education, the University of Abuja is free and as I once advocated on newspaper articles that the Liberty Stadium be renamed Obafemi Awolowo Stadium and the National Stadium, Abuja be named after Abiola, I still stand by that proposition.
Happily, the Liberty Stadium has since been renamed in honour of the first Premier of Western Nigeria, who established it, action should be taken to name the National Stadium, Abuja, Moshood Abiola Stadium, as the business mogul and philanthropist invested so much on sports development, that he was designed as the Pillar of Sports in Africa. After all, there is a subsisting resolution of the National Assembly on this matter, which President Jonathan can fall back on without any loss of face. Abiola’s sacrifice and the move to immortalise him should not divide us, but unite us. Femi Faloun has also added that the Eagle Square is available to be named after MKO.
As it is, the renaming of the University of Lagos is causing ripples as it has been said that the Federal Government did not consult the authorities of the university.
Besides, legal luminary, Aare Afe Babalola, opined that, as the act establishing the university had not been amended to reflect the change, though noble on its intention, the procedure adopted is illegal.
The Federal Government should not insist that its decision is irreversible, but should follow the dictates of reason to review the matter.
Kunle Olasope, MON,
written by Pearse Odunlami, June 22, 2012