Vanguard (Lagos)

14 February 2013

Nigeria: UNILAG/MAULAG Controversy - Jonathan Was Ill-Advised - Afe Babalola

Photo: Vanguard
UNILAG protest

Legal luminary and proprietor, Aare Afe Babalola University, AdoEkiti (ABUAD), Chief Emmanuel Afe Babalola (SAN) has urged President Goodluck Jonathan's administration to settle out of court the pending case on the renaming of UNILAG to MAULAG, saying that the President was ill-advised about renaming of the university.

He said that better honour should have been given to the late acclaimed winner of June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief Moshood Abiola by naming the Supreme Court, National Assembly or Aso Rock after him. Afe Babalola who spoke after he was conferred with Doctor of Law by the University of Lagos said; "The incoming governing council of UNILAG should settle the name change case out of court."

His words; "When I heard of the change of name, I was the first to go to the press and write to the President that UNILAG was established by an Act of Parliament and that for it to be changed, it must also pass through the same process. The President was ill-advised. Instead of him saying 'I am sorry', he was again ill-advised to run to Senate to amend the Act while the case is already in court. I wrote to him that that was wrong again. You cannot change the Act when a case is in court."

Afe Babalola

He, however, enjoined the in coming UNILAG Governing Council to approach the President to settle out of court. Babalola reiterated; "Let us give appropriate honour to Abiola by naming the National Assembly, the Supreme Court or even Aso Rock after him."

Moreover, in his commitment to the development of education, Babalola who had single-handedly built a hall in Unilag said; "In the first term of my tenure, I ordered that all my allowances should be paid into an account maintained by the university. The money was in the first term turned over to Endowment Fund.

All my allowances for the second term still remain in that account, I understand that they still have about N3million in the account. I intend to issue a cheque of N10million to include the N3million which is in the account to be paid to Stanbic Bank in the name of Afe Babalola Endowment Fund for the University of Lagos in perpetuity.

The capital of N10million will yield interest of more than N1million only. This N1 million accruing from the interest should be utilised as follows:

The sum of N500,000 as award to the best staff whether academic or non-academic who has shown great leadership traits in the discharge of his duties.

The sum of N500,000 as award to the best student whether undergraduate or post-graduate who has shown great leadership traits in his relations with other students and or in his interactions and relationships with the university community as a whole. Whatever is left over and above the N1million shall be added to the capital.

Also speaking, President Goodluck Jonathan who was represented by the Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayyatu Rufai charged universities to engage in meaningful research work saying that is what will bring about national development.

She said; "Our universities must make creative research their priority and continue to provide answers to the problems of our society. The search for knowledge and its application for the development of new products and services and for the resolution of the challenges confronting our immediate environment, should now constitute the core of their activity.

"Indeed, the time has come for us to pursue aggressive and creative research if we are to obtain a competitive edge and rise to the top of the global economy. As one of the strategies to attain this goal, I encourage other universities to adopt the Annual Research Conference format of UNILAG which started in 2002 and adopted by the National Universities Commission (NUC) in 2004."

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