Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Controversy over Renaming of Unilag After Abiola

Jonathan should have consulted Unilag Stakeholders -Osu

The Director of Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, Very Rev. Msgr. Gabriel Osu has said that the on-going controversy generated by the recent renaming of the University of Lagos, Unilag, after the acclaimed winner of the June 12 election, Chief M.K.O Abiola, by President Goodluck Jonathan would have been averted if there was due consultation.

Reacting to the recent Democracy day speech made by the president during which he announced the renaming of Unilag after Abiola to immortalize him for paying the supreme price during the June 12 struggle, Msgr. Osu said while the gesture was applaudable, it would have been better appreciated if the views of relevant stakeholders, especially the University authorities and the students were sort before such announcement was made public.

“There is no doubting the fact that Chief M.K.O Abiola deserves such an honour and even more, but one would have expected the President to consult duly with the relevant stakeholders of Unilag before renaming the University after Abiola. Remember we are in a democratic dispensation. The President cannot just wake up one morning and take such a major decision without due process. Unilag is a national monument that has been with us for many years. So much sentiment is attached to that name. That is why you see the sporadic negative responses of the students, coming out to disassociate themselves with the president’s gesture. All theses would have been averted if there was due consultation.”

According to Msgr. Osu, there were so many options which could have been considered by the President as a way of honouring Chief M.K.O Abiola.

 “Must it be Unilag? Already, some people are saying that since the Late Abiola was more prominent in the sports circle during his lifetime, it would have been more honourable to name the Abuja National Stadium after him, rather than Unilag. This makes sense. Anyway, all I am saying is that the government should be more sensitive to the yearnings of the people. We are in a democratic dispensation and the opinions of the masses counts.

While noting with regret that the kind gesture of the President is already causing so much division among pro-democracy groups, including the opposition parties, the Clergy asserted that the greatest honour the President can give the late Chief M.K.O Abiola, and indeed all Nigerians, is practical dividends of democracy.

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