Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"We will not reverse decision on UNILAG’s name" - FG

It appears that the students of University of lagos (now Moshood Abiola University) will just have to stick to the new name and move on, as the Federal government today announced that it will not revert its decision of renaming the University of Lagos after the late winner of the 1993 presidential elections and business mogul, MKO Abiola.
Speaking to state house correspondents after Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku said that what the president did was an answer to the outcry of concerned Nigerians who witnessed the events of June 12 and the subsequent demise of the man that was the acclaimed winner of the election.
“Yes sometimes government decisions get reactions from the populace we do not as an administration see this as a disapproval. We just see it as a normal way in every democracy that when you make major decisions definitely sometimes you have public reaction but we should not allow the protest to overshadow the national significance of what Mr. President has done.

I think he has shown that he is a true statesman and he truly appreciates the significance of M.K.O contribution in the political development of our country and as people who were adults in 2003 we think that this decision has been long over due and that today Abiola can turn in his grave and say this nation for whom I made a supreme sacrifice for political development has recognized my contributions.

“It is our hope that reason will prevail and that the decision to honor one of our nations’s icons and heroes will be appreciated by all Nigerians including our youths and students who are the future leaders of this country” he said.

According to the minister, ” if there is any figure that symbolizes sacrifice of self for this nation, that figure is Chief M.K.O Abiola who clearly won the June12, 1992 Presidential election and died in that captivity because he stood for principle, he stood to defend the principle of democracy, and or anyone that is familiar with the development of our politics in the last two decades, there is no event in the political history of our country that touches the hearts of quiet a significant number of citizens like the June 12 Presidential election.

“In the last two decades there have been widespread outcry that this democracy has not given Chief M.K.O Abiola and other heroes who passed on in controversial circumstances as a result of what they did to stand for the democratic development of this country. These outcries have continued to come from citizens spread across the nation. What Mr. President did was to listen to the outpouring of appeals of persuasions by Nigerians across this country that MKO deserved to be immortalised. What he therefore did in his capacity as a visitor to the University of Lagos was to name the University after Moshood Abiola of blessed memory.

He did so in the best interest of the country, he did so because any nation that does not honor those who clearly stand out and make a sacrifice as a role model or others to follow cannot appeal to the best in its own traditions for citizens to follow.

The decision has been made in very good faith by Mr. President and we have seen the reactions by a section of the students of University of Lagos , we have also seen the outpouring of encomiums by patriots and statesmen who really understand the reasons why the President honored Abiola.

the information minister said the decision by the Federal government to rename the University of Lagos should “unify Nigeria, those who believe in one country, those who believe in one democracy, those who believe in the reward for sacrifice for the nation and I think that is exactly what the President did.

“I remember that around 1987-88 when one of Nigeria’s foremost nationalist and leaders Chief Obafemi Awolowo passed on. The Federal Government renamed the University of Ife as Obafemi Awolowo University. In addition to that also in the course of our history we have had several national institutions named after our past heroes and even living heroes” he said.

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