Students of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), have filed a suit against President Goodluck Jonathan over the renaming of their school to Moshood Abiola University, Lagos, in honour of the late businessman and acclaimed winner of the June 12 elections.
In the suit filed in a Federal High Court in Lagos, before Justice Mohammed Liman, the students have challenged President Jonathan’s unilateral powers to effect the name change.
The students have asked the courts to declare the renaming University of Lagos after Mr. Abiola, as announced by the president in his Democracy day celebration speech, “unconstitutional, ultra vires, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.”
The students, 10 of them, want the courts to declare that the power to change or amend the name of the University of Lagos lies with the National Assembly because the school was established by an Act.
Since announcing the name change on May 29, both students and lecturers of UNILAG –with students at the forefront- have vigorously rejected the move which the president say is to honor Mr. Abiola whom he described as an “icon” of Nigeria’s democracy.
The court has granted leave to the students to serve the originating summons, affidavit and the accompanying documents on the defendant. The case is due for hearing on the 10th of July.
The students who filed the suit are: Sunday Asaolu, Julius Ayoola, Idowu Odumosu, Seyi Olowu and Oladapo Obasa. Others are: Idowu Awopeju, Adebanjo Sunday, Femi Omotosho, Segun Ogunjobi and Aiyelabola.
The students staged days of protest against the move but the president maintained his stance. He said the students are misguided and too young to understand the significance of his actions.
The president went further and subdued the protests with Ak-47 wielding police officers.
The students, jaded by the acts of the military men sent to quell the protests, lost their will to push ahead with street protests as the school authority began to enforce an earlier order, closing down the school for two weeks.
The students began leaving the school premises on Monday after hostel wardens went round enforcing the eviction. However, the students say they are determined to press on.
According to the affidavit filed in support of the suit by, Sunday Gabriel Asaolu, of the Faculty of Law, the unilateral change of name of the University of Lagos sent great alarm and panic to the entire community of the institution.