After the protest by the students of the institution which lasted two days, the school has been shut down and the students have been instructed to go on a two week compulsory holiday to enable the school authorities meet with the federal government to see how normalcy can return to the school.
When Saturday Vanguard went on the streets to capture the opinions of some of the students, they are of the opinion that the institution had suffered in branding its name and therefore, it should be handled with great care and caution.
It is an act of negligence --Com Sheriff Adeola
We see this as an act of negligence on the side of the federal government. How can the president wake up and decide to change the name of a school like UNILAG which has been in existence for over 50years? Can somebody just come up and decide to change the name of Harvard University like that?
This university was created by an act of parliament in 1962 and that same act stipulates that for the name of the institution to be changed, it must be supported by two third of the national assembly which the president did not meet before making the controversial announcement on democracy day.
Democracy Day Gift for UNILAG student; A Peaceful protest by University of Lagos student , at Yaba Roundabout, over the re-naming the University of Lagos to Moshood Abiola University on Tuesday 29-5-2012, in Lagos. PHOTO; Kehinde Gbadamosi
The school management said that they were not aware of the change and that they were shocked on hearing that on the 29th of May by the president. So, we have been expressing our grievances by a peaceful protest. We have met with the school chapter chairman of the academic staff union of universities and the acting Vice-chancellor of the school and they said that they will get in touch with the national assembly and the president and they will relay the information across to us.
I believe and accept the fact that Chief M.K.O Abiola was a hero who fought and died for democracy and he ought to be immortalized but not with a brand name like UNILAG. There are other ways through which he can be immortalized. We have the international airport, the Eagle square, national stadium, and many other things.
It is such a name that is supposed not to be tampered with. It is not going to sound well for somebody who has graduated from the school in the years back to hear that his alma-mater now bears a new name all in the name of immortalizing someone.
The name alone matters so much to us the students so we won't like to miss it. This renaming to me will bring about regionalization. I have a friend who schools at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. She used to tell me what they pass through there in the hands of the northerners.
They feel that they are the owners of the university irrespective of the fact that it is a federal government university just because, it is in their land and it bears their name. But here in UNILAG, equal opportunity is given to everybody irrespective of your tribe. But with this renaming of the institution, it can generate problems like that in the nearest future.
There is a site we opened were people are contributing there opinion as regards to the change of name, it will interest you to know that as at Wednesday, more than 3,000 people were against that and majority of them is our alumni.
They are saying that they will not like the name to be changed for any reason at all. The chairman of the university alumni said that he should be immortalized but not with UNILAG. Even the daughter of Abiola was not happy with the development. She said when her father was alive, he loved youth empowerment and poverty eradication so if they should build something to eradicate poverty and name it after the man, and he will be happy where ever he is.
There are other ways to immortalize him, he can use some of the universities he intends to build and immortalize M.K.O. So in order not to allow the peaceful protest to be hijacked by hoodlums and be turned into violence, the school senate on Wednesday asked the students to vacate the school and come back in two weeks' time.
It's not worth it --Chidimma Uwakwe
I think it is not actually reasonable for the president to be making such a pronouncement now that there are many challenges that the country is facing. There are other better things to be done by the federal government than changing the name of a school that has been over 50years. University of Lagos is a pride to us the students and also a brand name which has been in existence for a long time now.
It is very difficult to accept that. Barrack Obama cannot just wake-up and decide to change the name of Harvard University like that. If at all he wants to name something after M.K.O here in UNILAG, he should build a big hostel and name it after him.
There are other heroes who were given just a hostel like, king Jaja of Opobo and Princess Moremi. I heard he wanted to build six extra universities so I will advise him to name one of the universities after M.K.O and not University of Lagos. It is too big for Moshood Abiola.
Govt. doesn't respect people's opinion--Oluwole Omoseyi
Well, I am not really moved. Whatever name they want, they should give to the school. Why I am saying so is that our leaders do not have the interest of the citizens at heart. No matter how you protest against their decision, they do not go back; they will not consider your feelings since they are comfortable with that; they do not care about the citizens. After the subsidy protest, what happened? So protesting for the name to be brought back to UNILAG is a fruitless effort to me. There must be a reason for the president to just wake up and take such a decision; I believe they are driving to somewhere. Personally, I am not in support of the change of the school name. Why do they want to immortalize somebody that died long ago now? He is not even a graduate of the institution as well.Why are they bent on immortalizing him in UNILAG? He can go to Ogun State or University of Abuja and immortalize M.K.O. but if they insist it must be UNILAG, they should build something here like a big hostel or an auditorium and name it after him and not the whole of UNILAG. University of Lagos is what it is and nobody should change the name. I am not happy that the students are asked to go home because, it was a peaceful demonstration and they are not causing any violence. This is the only way the students can show their anger to the government and make their voices to be heard.