Vanguard (Lagos)

30 May 2012

Nigeria: Moshood Abiola Varsity - No Going Back, Says FG

Abuja — The federal government,Wednesday, reacted defiantly to the protest from the students and staff of the University of Lagos which was re-named Moshood Abiola University, saying that there was no going back on the decision as the late acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election deserved the honour.

Students after hijacking a BRT bus on the Third Mainland Bridge during the 2nd day of protests against the renaming of the University of Lagos.

Addressing State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive council meeting, the Minister of Information, Labarn Maku said President Goodluck Jonathan's proclamation was only a response to the over a decade clamour by a broad spectrum of Nigerians for Chief Abiola to be immortalized.

President Goodluck Jonathan announcement during his Democracy Day Broadcast renaming University of Lagos to Moshood Abiola University sparked spontaneous protests from the students of the University which led to its closure Wednesday.

Maku however, said that government did not see the protest as a mark of disapproval and expressed hope that reasons would prevail at the end of the day.

"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 's contribution in the political development of our country and as people who were adults in 1993 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.

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