The chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Lagos branch, Karo Ogbinaka, has said that his union will resist the recent change of the university’s name.
President Goodluck Jonathan, in a nationwide broadcast, Tuesday, to mark this year’s Democracy Day had announced that the 50 year old university will now be known as Moshood Abiola University.
Minutes after the president finished his broadcast, students of the institution took to the streets and social media to protest the decision.
“We are resisting it, all the unions and the students will resist it, the Alunmus will resist it,” Mr. Ogbinaka told PREMIUM TIMES.
“The truth about the whole thing is that it shows the level of intelligence of those people in government.
“Nobody will change Harvard’s name, nobody will change Cambridge’s name to Winston Churchill University.
“University of Lagos is a brand, for 50 years,” Mr. Ogbinaka said.
“The first university established by Act of Parliament and one man trying to score cheap political point?”
“When people go outside and you ask them what university are you from? What name will you pronounce? They’ll ask is it a new university? Is it the name of a toothpaste?
“It’s a senseless thing and are going to resist it.”
The university authorities said they were kept in the dark about the change of name.
“The minister of Education was here, the Executive Secretary of NUC (National University Commission) was here, top government functionaries have been coming here,” said Mr. Ogbinaka.
“They never gave any inkling that they were going to change the name of the school.”
The students’ protest, which lasted several hours, blocked all the access roads to and around the university.
Solidarity chants and songs blaming the death of their Vice Chancellor on the president were also sang.
Students displayed placards showing their disdain at changing the name of the university.
A medical student told the crowd that the president “forgot to take his drugs this morning” as students danced in circles and screamed obscenities at the president and the nearby police officers.
More than 10 police patrol vans and dozens of police officers watched from a safe distance.
The funeral ceremony of the Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Adetokunbo Sofoluwe, is scheduled to start on Wednesday with a Special Senate Session at the Senate chamber and later a wake keep at the Multipurpose Hall.
Lying in state and interment would take place the next day.
“We are going to use this befitting burial to protest this,” said Mr. Ogbinaka.
“People will come and we’ll bury our VC and if care is not taken, after the burial of our VC, we’ll storm Lagos.”