'UNILAG Remain Moshood Abiola University'- FG
In spite of the furor with which the name change was received by students of UNILAG,the federal Government has said that it will not reconsider its decision to rename the University. President Goodluck Jonathan during his democracy broadcast,
announced that University of Lagos has been renamed Moshood Abiola University.
The government reaction was made known Wednesday afternoon by the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting.
He explained that the honour was in response to call by Nigerias to immortalize Abiola with the institution.
Maku affirmed that the protesters and other Nigerians who did not like the idea would soon realize that President Jonathan meant well, he added that, "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's contribution in the political development of our country; and as people who were adults in 2003, we think that this decision has been long overdue. Today, MKO Abiola can turn in his grave and say this nation, for whom I made the supreme sacrifice for political development has recognised my contributions."
Continuing, Maku said it was government's hope that reason will prevail and that the decision to honour one of our nation's icon and hero will be appreciated by all Nigerians including our youths and students."
He further stated that if there was any figure that symbolised sacrifice of self for the country, the entire nation knew that it was the late 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.
"For 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 quite 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 recognised Chief M.K.O Abiola and other heroes who passed on under 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.'
"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 honoured Abiola.
Maku stated that the President's gesture should be a unifying point for the country and its democracy.
"I remember that around 1987-88, when one of Nigeria's foremost nationalist and leaders, Chief Obafemi Awolowo passed. The Federal Government renamed the University of Ife as Obafemi Awolowo University."
He added that the renaming of the institution was not the first of its kind and should not generate upheaval as it is currently doing.