In an interview with Punch News, Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities at the University of Lagos, Dr. Oghenekaro Ogbinaka, argued that the union was not in support of the authorities’ decision to close down the university
What is ASUU’s position on the change of name of the University of Lagos to Moshood Abiola University of Lagos?
The leadership of ASUU, University of Lagos Branch’s leadership has diligently read the material details of President Goodluck Jonathan’s May 29th speech to the country. Without empathy, we sympathise with a Peoples Democratic Party-led government that has almost nothing to point to – as any achievement of substance of 13 years into our democratic dispensation. In crass demonstration of its continual lack of the feelings of Nigerians at a time that matters most, Jonathan’s PDP-led government has chosen this “moment of bereavement” of the entire UNILAG community to unilaterally announce a change of the institution’s name to the bewilderment and annoyance of all stakeholders.
ASUU, UNILAG salutes the courage of our students and all who have spontaneously rejected this change of name. UNILAG is the first university to have been established by an Act of Parliament in Nigeria. It is the first and only outstandingly well-built university by the Federal Republic of Nigeria at a time Nigeria had little funds.
The Obafemi Awolowo University was established and built by the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s Action Group-led Government; Ahmadu Bello University was established and built by the NPC led government of Sir Ahmadu Bello; the University of Nigeria, Nsukka was established and built by the Eastern Region; the premier University of Ibadan was established and built under the regime of our colonisers and subsequently acquired by Nigeria at independence; the University of Benin was established and built by the then midwest government.
The University of Lagos is the first University to have used the brand name UNILAG, unlike UI, ABU and UNN, thereafter, most other universities have chosen to be branded “Uni-this or Uni that” The 1962 Act of Parliament that established the university clearly states:
“as from the appointed day the university established by the UNILAG Act 1962 shall be a body corporate by the name of the University of Lagos…”
We, therefore, condemn the most undemocratic and military-like/inspired approach the President has gone about his not-well-intentioned honour of Chief M.K.O. Abiola.
The Federal of Nigeria has chosen the wrong institution and the wrong time. We are not taken aback on this. UNILAG will not go into celebrating its golden jubilee with a PDP-led Jonathan government’s name.
So how do you think Abiola should have been immortalised?
In order to honour the late Kwame Nkrumah, the people of Ghana established and built a new university named Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, the University of Ghana, Legon; the University of Cape Coast and the University of Education retained their names. No university was rebranded by the United States of America in order to honour the Late Martin Luther King, Jr. The condemnable action of the Jonathan-led government is a cheap and lazy approach of a government that is unable to build any worthwhile institution that can be named after a nation’s heroes. This is shameful.
UNILAG is a brand that its stakeholders have laboured, for 50 years. We are not ready to sacrifice this; as the implication of so doing is enormously disastrous to those who attended the university, who are in the university and who aspire to come into the university. If the Federal Government is “in truth and indeed” desirous of honouring Chief MKO Abiola with a university, we will advise President Jonathan to name any or all of his newly, established nine universities that are yet to issue certificates to anybody after him. The wrong rebranding of UNILAG will impose huge financial cost on the university in the face of corruption.
So, what will ASUU want the government to do now?
That is simple. We, lecturers at UNILAG will call on the Jonathan administration to do the right thing by reversing this wrong decision. It is wrong to do a right thing wrongly.
But the authorities of UNILAG have shut down the institution for two weeks as a result of protest embarked upon by the students. Do you think this is justified?
The union interacted with the students from hall to hall and it was clear that the decision (to shut down the university) was uninformed and unpopular. Under our leadership the Dean of Students Affairs assured the students that nobody will eject them from UNILAG and we, as academic members of staff will commence lectures on Monday. The shut down order won’t stand.
What is ASUU going to do if the Federal Government refused to reverse the decision?
You cannot change the name of child at 50 without his or her consent. We will fight this for the interest of all universities in Nigeria. Nobody will use universities built by others to score cheap political points. MKO Abiola deserves to be honoured. The ingenious Federal Government of Nigeria should learn how Ghana honoured Kwame Nkrumah and how USA honour Martin Luther King Jr. What they have done is very uncreative and an insult on Nigerian educational institution. Only military dictators can be that unimaginative.
What do you think will be the impact of this name change on the university?
That is the point. Let National Universities Commission, Tertiary Education Trust Fund, and the Federal Ministry of Education tell the world what it would cost to rebrand the biggest university brand in Africa and how it will be funded. Is that the priority of UNILAG? Let the corrupt leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress tell us what they will contribute to this rebranding. What value will the name Moshood Abiola add to the name University of Lagos? He should be honoured with any of the nine new universities created by the Jonathan-led government. We are not against that as you do not use a wrong action to right another wrong situation.
#EndSARS Protest: Sanwo-Olu Orders Closure Of Schools In Lagos
The Lagos State Government led by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has ordered the closure of public and private schools indefinitely in the state.
The closure of schools in Lagos was announced in a press statement on Monday by the state’s Head of Public Affairs, Ministry of Education, Kayode Abayomi.
The statement which was titled, ‘Lagos directs students to stay at home’, quoted Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo, the Commissioner for Education, as saying that the schools were shut down over “tension generated by the anti-SARS protests.”
This is coming at a time #EndSARS protests against police brutality and bad governance by Nigerian youths grounded academic activities in some schools in the state on Monday.
“A new date of resumption for all classes will be announced as soon as possible.”
NECO Shifts Exam Over #EndSARS Protest
The National Examination Council, NECO, has announced the rescheduled of one of the practical examinations supposed to hold in October till the next month.
This was contained in a statement made available to newsmen on Sunday, October 18, by the Head, Information and Public Relations Division for the Nigerian exam body, Mr. Azeez Sani.
He announced that the Paper I Computer Studies Practicals examination which was supposed to be taken on Monday, October 19 is now delayed till November 16, 2020.
Sani revealed that the postponement is a result of the ongoing #EndSARS protests across the country, particularly the blockage of movement of transport at the entrance gate into Benin City, the Edo state capital.
He noted further that the truck conveying NECO examination materials had left its take-off point two days earlier to deliver to some states but has been held up in the ‘blockage.
FG, ASUU Meeting Over IPPIS, UTAS End In Deadlock
The meeting between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Thursday ended in a deadlock.
Although some agreements were reached at the meeting, the meeting is set to reconvene on Wednesday, October 21, 2020, by 3.00 pm after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting for ASUU to report back on the decision of its NEC.
In a bid to end the strike, the federal government agreed to release N30billion for payment of arrears of earned academic allowance to the university lecturers.
The communiqué issued at the end of the meeting revealed that the release of N20 billion funds for revitalisation of public universities will be payable by the end of January 2021.
On the issue of Earned Academic Allowances(EAA), which had accumulated to N40 billion since November 2019, the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) made a commitment to release N30 billion on or before November 6, 2020.
He said the remaining N10 billion would be spread equally over the two tranches to be paid in May 2021 and February 2022, respectively.
The communiqué also revealed that ASUU agreed to take the offer to its members for consideration and revert by Wednesday, October 21, 2020.
The issue of the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) almost stalled the meeting as the federal government asked that IPPIS be allowed to operate in the interim until the test run on UTAS is concluded.
But ASUU insisted on payment of outstanding salaries on the old GIFMIS platform before full implementation of UTAS.
- National News9 hours ago
Nobel Laureate, Soyinka Denies Video Claim On Igbo, Yoruba
- News Feed21 hours ago
Tinubu Visits Sanwo-Olu, Says “I’m Still The Jagaban”
- Entertainment24 hours ago
#EndSARS: ‘Please Stop The Violence’, Dammy Krane Pleads
- News Feed24 hours ago
#EndSARS: Hoodlums vandalize Senator Gershom Bassey’s family house in Calabar
- Entertainment23 hours ago
‘End SARS Protest Is Beyond Police Brutality. It Is Battle Between The Rich And Poor’ – Filmmaker Chika Lann
- Entertainment7 hours ago
Actor Deyemi Okanlawon Reveals Next Strategy For #EndSARS Protests
- National News9 hours ago
Lekki Shooting Casualties ‘Have Questions To Answer’ — Tinubu
- Entertainment23 hours ago
Entertainment: Top 5 Trending Stories Of The Week