by Stanley Azuakola
Gun-toting policemen manned the entrance of the University of Lagos earlier this Thursday in an apparent move to prevent any untoward incident from taking on the day the late Vice Chancellor, Tokunboh Sofowale was finally laid to rest. There was a small procession in honour of the late VC within the school premises but the main burial event was performed outside the campus.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has said that there’s no going back on the renaming of the University of Lagos. Addressing State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja yesterday, Minister of Information Labaran Maku said the president’s proclamation was in response to the outcry of concerned Nigerians who have been clamouring for the immortalization of late MKO Abiola. He called the president’s proclamation a “significant one,” and advised Nigerians not to allow the protest overshadow it.
“Yes, sometimes government decisions get reactions from the populace; we do not as an administration see this as a disapproval. We just see it as a normal way in every democracy that when you make major decisions definitely sometimes you have public reaction but we should not allow the protest to overshadow the national significance of what Mr. President has done,” the minister said.
Maku expressed hope that reason will prevail in the end and that the “long overdue” decision to honour one of our nation’s icons would be appreciated by all.
Meanwhile, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), UNILAG branch has saluted “the courage of our students and all who have spontaneously rejected this change of name.” The ASUU chairman, Dr Oghenekaro Ogbinaka, emphasised that the union stands with the students and called on the Jonathan administration to “do the right thing by reversing this wrong decision. It is wrong to do a right thing wrongly.”
Dr. Ogbinaka said that the Dean of Students has promised the students and ASUU that students would not be ejected, the school would not be shut down and academic activities would commence next Monday.
It was, however, noticed that the food vendors around the student hostels had been driven away by the school authorities. Some students were sighted in the hostels even though a majority of them had vacated the hostels.
By evening most of the tension on the school campus had dissipated and even the truckloads of policemen stationed at the school entrance had drawn back.