|Unilag students protesting the name change.|
The calm that pervades the main campus of the University of Lagos after resumption of academic activities last Monday after a three-week suspension may be shattered as students vowed to resume protests if the bill presented to the Senate by President Goodluck Jonathan is passed into law.
Students who on Monday resumed lectures after suspension of academic activities by the University Senate vowed to continue the protest until the name, UNILAG is restored. Nevertheless, classes were opened for lectures and hostels for returning students.
However, the hitherto busy campus in Akoka was relatively sparsely populated as most students on campus were predominantly freshmen completing admission formalities, and final year students.
According to Tosin, a freshman, lectures started on Monday without any interruption from protesting students. Prince Adeyemi Majid, a 300-level Education Administration student noted that the present peace prevalent on campus does not portray the true state of affairs as far as students are concerned.
“We have not accepted MAULAG in place of UNILAG because it is a brand name that needed not to be changed. We are calm because we are waiting for the outcome of the bill before the Senate. If President Jonathan really wants to immortalise MKO, he should associate him with something in line with democracy,” he said.
He added: “I heard President Jonathan proposing to build a presidential mansion, he could name it after the late MKO. Better still, he can rename Aso Rock as MKO Rock which could be seen as a national honour for the icon who fought and died for democracy.”
Speaking in the same vein, Oluwatosin Ogunbiyi, a 200-level student of Linguistics said students shelved the protest because they are waiting for the outcome of the bill President Jonathan submitted before the Senate.
Ogunbiyi said: “The situation on campus is calm not because we have accepted MAULAG, but because we are waiting for the outcome of the bill presented by President Jonathan before the Senate for approval.”
Nonetheless, he added, “I believe the situation will still go the way of subsidy removal protest by the whole country which yielded no positive result. At the end of the day, the federal might prevailed. If the whole country could not change the Federal Government decision on subsidy removal, UNILAG students who are relatively few cannot withstand it.”
ASUU Chairman, UNILAG chapter, Dr Karo Ogbinaka in his own contribution maintained that the university rejects the renaming, stressing that President Goodluck Jonathan’s power as visitor of the institution does not include the change of the university’s name.
He said: “President Jonathan was six years old when UNILAG was established by an Act of Parliament in 1962. He cannot just rise up and change a 50-year-old name that has produced an Attorney-General of the Federation.”
Ogbinaka added that the Ibadan zone of ASUU which comprises University of Lagos, University of Ibadan, Lagos State University and others, met and agreed that the name, UNILAG, must remain unchanged. “We are waiting for the outcome of the case in court as ASUU and the school alumni have sued the Federal Government on this issue.
It will be recalled that the renaming of the institution sparked off a peaceful protest from students and lecturers on the first day and later degenerated into violence that led to a clash between students and the Nigeria Police Force.
Subsequently, to arrest the situation, UNILAG Senate suspended academic activities for two weeks and compelled students to return home. Moreover, at the expiration of the two weeks, a week was added.