Renaming University of Lagos: Former VC Ade-Ajayi Appeals to President Jonathan to Reconsider

Student protesters at the University of Lagos gates
By SaharaReporters, New York

J. F Ade Ajayi, a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos and Emeritus Professor of History, has appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan to reconsider whether the decision to change the name of the institution represents the best or most appropriate way to honour Chief MKO Abiola’s contribution to the cause of democracy in Nigeria.

“History has shown that a true statesman is prepared to step back and will ultimately stand for what is right when on reflection and due consideration the correct course of action is clear,” he advised in a letter.   

Professor Ade Ajayi expressed appreciation for President Jonathan’s decision to recognize Chief Abiola place in Nigeria’s history, public recognition he described as being long overdue, and saluted the courage to take the decision to rectify the omission.

He said, “As a historian I have sought to increase the respect for a sense of history in our national life as I see this awareness of our past as being crucial to national development. As a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, I have a heightened sense of the real and potential role of this particular institution in preparing and inspiring our leaders of tomorrow.

“I also have a sense of the value that past and present faculty and students as well as local and international collaborators and well wishers place on their association with one of the more enduring institutions in our nation.”

He prayed that God will Jonathan the grace to stand on the right side of history in this and throughout his tenure of office.

[Full text of the letter]:

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan,

President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

State House,

Aso Rock, Abuja

       

Your Excellency

 I would like once again to take this opportunity to thank you for the honour you did me in 2010 on Nigeria’s 50th Independence Anniversary – by including me in the fifty individuals whose contributions to Nigeria, you acknowledged at the time.

I also wish to take this opportunity to appreciate your recent decision to recognize the contributions of Chief MKO Abiola to the advancement of Democracy in Nigeria. This public recognition is, almost universally, accepted as being long overdue. I salute your courage in taking the decision to rectify this.

I had a high regard for MKO Abiola as well as a personal relationship with him that dated back to a time when he sought me out and invited me to Chair the OAU Group of Eminent Persons on Reparations. The group included such distinguished Africans as Graca Machel and the East African historian Ali Mazrui. Chief Abiola committed considerable resources and his infectious energy to the cause of Reparations during his lifetime.

As a historian I have sought to increase the respect for a sense of history in our national life as I see this awareness of our past as being crucial to national development. As a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, I have a heightened sense of the real and potential role of this particular institution in preparing and inspiring our leaders of tomorrow.

I also have a sense of the value that past and present faculty and students as well as local and international collaborators and well wishers place on their association with one of the more enduring institutions in our nation.

I therefore appeal to you to reconsider whether the decision to change the name of the University of Lagos represents the best or most appropriate way to honour MKO’s contribution to the cause of democracy in Nigeria.

Nigeria is passing through a turbulent period. At times like this a sense of history, institutional memory and continuity are important to help restore stability. The University of Lagos is an important part of our institutional history and I urge you to restore its founding name and consider a more meaningful and befitting way in which to pay tribute to Chief MKO Abiola.

Finally, Your Excellency, history has shown that a true statesman is prepared to step back and will ultimately stand for what is right when on reflection and due consideration the correct course of action is clear.

I pray that God will give you the grace to stand on the right side of history in this and throughout your tenure of office.

Yours Sincerely,

J. F Ade Ajayi

Emeritus Professor of History
 

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Grandiose delusions

Wake up people, UNILAG in the scheme of things is a NONENTITY outside the shores of Nigeria and it's only people who have not been anywhere who think otherwise. If OAU, Nnamdi Azikiwe, ABU, etc were all renamed then why not UNILAG? MKO Abiola deserves far better. I'm really disgusted at my fellow Nigerians stance on this matter;bloody ingrates!!

JONATHAN THE GREAT

Jonathan will never do anything the "ordinary" Nigerian advises him as he was not "elected" by them.
Some of us saw through him and preferred a Ribadu last year.Something tells me he will be the last president of Nigeria as it is presently constructed.
Something has to give one way or the other.

buhari where are abiolas news prints-- in sokoto

Pa Rewane from the SS, was assassinated by Abacha while buhari was chopping life with him. Killed because he gave his resources and heart out for 4 restoration of June 12. Today Tinubu is telling the (drunken sailor fisher men from the SS) we never backed abiola when he was alive. How was tinubu and his confused group able to know that naming aso rock after abiola will be acceptable to buhari and the sultan of sokoto? A man from the same geo political zone with GEJ, was murdered in cold blood for using his money to finance June 12. While escapees like tinubu were busy monitoring the movement of Abiola for abacha &IBB. Buhari who said Abacha never stole the nation blind, is the man the yorubas are beatifying for sainthood in ACN. History has already recorded efforts by GEJ to immortalise abiola. Whether cause of politics or boko haram, its left for posterity to judge and not SNG, tinubu, or bakare who never supported Abiola bid for the presidency for one second.

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A word is enough for the wise...

My dear Prof. I salute u sir, u have spoken well as an elder stateman, a father and as a wise old man. Sir, they say "A word is enough for the wise". I want to use this medium to tell Mr President to think of a better way to honour the democrat of June 12, 1993. Before I quite, I want to tell people like Deri to shut their mouth. It make better sense with their silence.

Who collects money for diesel oil in Min.of foreign Affairs,

Who collects money regularly to purchase diesel oil in Ministry of foreign Affairs Abuja for the giant generator at the same time there is always BLACK OUT when PHCN takes light ? Permanent secretary should take responsibilty now !
Gen Muhammadu Buhari,take note !

Deri, A Moron

You are indeed a moron. Does a man who is around 80 years old need anybody to instigate him to fight a battle,a battle which has him as one of the principals. Deri, I believe you were old enough to know when JF Ade Ajayi was UNILAG's VC. Ajayi was one of those who built the 50 year old brand that an illiterate Phd holder in a fit of drunkenness,tried to destroy. Who awarded that man a Phd. It makes you wonder if those surrounding him as advisers/scroungers did go to school at all or,they went to all these glorified secondary schools.
For the avoidance of doubts,this fight has nothing to do with Buhari, that is another matter entirely. Be rest assured,when the time comes to face that fight,we know on whose side we are.

@deri!

I initially thought you're a Jonathan defender. It is now clear you're a smart satirist! So Jonathan was on a vegeance mission with unilag, enh? That made sense!!! I still refuse to belief the President can't reason objectively.

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@ Deri Are you as stupid as GEJ?

Is it because they refused GEJ admission to unilag that he is now attempting to MAUL the Institution? GEJ continues to demonstrate profound stupidity and ignorance in the way he runs Nigeria and all you can do is to support his stupidity and bufoonery.If indeed you genuinely love and want to help him, the only sensible course to take is to correct him when he is wrong unless you are just as stupid.

Professor go and read back

Professor go and read back page of thisday 3rd of June 2012' u will read dat all renowned world universities were name after people. U r just passionate about unilag, cos u have an affiliation there. Pls don't drag ur self into dis mess. Just keep ur mouth shut

It's really sad, d way some

It's really sad, d way some of u just open ur mouth and blah rubbish, been a professor does dat means he his always right. Pls u guys should do ur research properly, 85 percent of d ivy league school in America were named under individuals...from Harvard to Princeton...u people should do ur research properly. Am so disappointed at d professor of history, who hasn't done is history research properly...a
Is sad dat d subsidy matter made Jonathan became unpopular, dis is wat u get from an unpopular government, everything he does is criticized ...... U all lagosian should shut ur dirty mouth, if there is any state in Nigeria, dat have benefitted more from mko abiola is Lagos state. So r u guys telling me, uniport, uniben, or uniabuja should have been named mau.... Am u all Yoruba leaders, u people r just confused people.

Matthew 11:15 "He who has

Matthew 11:15 "He who has ears, let him hear."

I fear my country

Get admission into university with one name and not sure you are going to graduate with same school name. Go to work with a certain transport fair and not sure of same TF going back home. Buy food at the end of one month not sure you going to get the food at same price next month. Worst of all salary or wages remain the same and not paid on time at times not paid at all.aaaaaaaaaaaba naija watin???????????????????

Thank you Baba Ade, the voice of the masses! (4)

The international airport at New York became John F. Kennedy International Airport. But no single university changed its name to John F. Kennedy University. Even Harvard University that is located in his own state, honoured him by re-naming their School of Public Policy to JOHN F. KENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT in 1966. They did not change the name of the university.

Finally, I join in the appeal to Mr. Jonathan to reverse this decision. We not only deal with the loss of history, the unnecessary waste of funds that could be utilized in other pressing national spheres requiring funding, but the reputational and image loss the change would cause the university.

The HOOD does not make the MONK

Nomenclature has got nothing to with the name recognition of a university, rather, it is the academic excellence and how it impacts the society in finding answers, solutions and improving the general life style of people all over the world that define name recognition.

For all I care, Unilag could be renamed "Local Council University", it does not matter. It is the quality of its products - how they impact the society at large - and more so, what research feats are carried out at the university that can be said to advance humanity in every positive way possible.

My only beef is that - the government should have renamed all the federal universities as - University of Nigeria, "some name" Campus. So, Unilag could have been renamed - University Of Nigeria, MKO campus. OAU as University of Nigeria, Awolowo campus.

What a university is named does not really matter, but rather, how it is able to proffer solutions to everyday challenges and improve existing ones.

Thank you Baba Ade, the voice of the masses! (3)

I understand Mr. Jonathan also DECREED the establishment of the INSTITUTE OF DEMOCRATIC STUDIES at UNILAG. That is well accepted. Now, why not name the institute MOSHOOD ABIOLA INSTITUTE OF DEMOCRATIC STUDIES AND GOOD GOVERNANCE? You can also name Abuja National Stadium after Abiola because he was a pillar of sports while he lived. And who says you cannot name our highways after individuals you want to honour and leave out changing names of our universities? You can then re-name the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, MOSHOOD ABIOLA HIGHWAY.

If we must learn from the United States, when John F. Kennedy as US President (the President who roused the citizens in his inaugural address in 1961: "Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country") died in power two years later, several highways were named after him.

Thank you Baba Ade, the voice of the masses! (2)

If UNILAG were a human being at 50 years, it would be the same age bracket as Mr. Jonathan who is 54 years old. In Igbo land they would belong to the same Age Grade. Now, dear President, have you juxtaposed this decision with someone pronouncing a change in your name? This is the name that you answered in elementary school, high school, and the university and with it acquired three degrees topping them with a Ph.D. This is the name you answered as a Deputy Governor, Governor, Acting President and now President. Then, someone decides without seeking your opinion, that henceforth you would go by the name, DR. EBELEMI EWU BEKE.

I am certain you would call that person all manner of derogatory names and threaten hell-fire, that you cannot change your name at this age! Now, why do you think the students, teachers, and the alumni, over 100,000 of them, are up in arms against this change?

Thank you Baba Ade, the voice of the masses! (1)

I thank Emeritus Prof. Ade Ajayi for joining in the appeal to Mr. Jonathan to reverse the change in UNILAG's name. Others have expressed one view or another against it. Some have argued in favour, that since the FGN owns the university they can give it any name! These persons reason like those who because they bore a child refuse to let the child grow and chart his/her identity, so much that at age 50 years they want to dictate for the man/woman how to live his/her life.

Sir, I looked at the issue from the same perspective as you have espoused here. This is an institution that is 50 years and by all indications should be celebrating its golden jubilee this year. UNILAG is not in the same stature as the Federal University of Agriculture at Umudike and that at Adamawa that the President re-named at the same time. UNILAG stands out. Indeed, I take it as a form of punishment not only for the Yoruba ethnic group but for all progressive Nigerians to re-name UNILAG.

Thank you, President Goodluck Jonathan.

I hope and pray the Yoruba do not regret the decision of certain individuals on this matter. It is so painful that some individuals cannot see the reality of the situation on the ground. Some still hold on to idealistic views of Nigeria while those who paid the ultimate sacrifice are rejected to the background.
Once bitten, twice shy or so the saying goes. There is a time for everything.
Yoruba elite need to be more circumspect and reserved at this critical juncture of our national life. Goodluck Jonathan has done nothing wrong. It is so funny though. Having witnessed and participated in the events of June 12, 1993, I find it unbelievable that a country will treat one of its greatest philanthropists in this manner. Even M.K.O Abiola. What a country! What a people! Thank you President Goodluck Jonathan.

Prof. I duff my cap for u Sir.

It's disheartening and disgusting to behold further destruction of the Nigeria State. The Nation is truly not a Project in the hands of her ill fated leaders most especially d one occupying Aso Villa.
Other Proactive World Leaders handles and patterns their Nations with Positive and Masses oriented Programs and Actions that will better the lots of their Citizens.
However, the opposite is the case for the Aso Villa landlord who intermittently wakes up mid slumber after been fed N3,000,000:00 (Three Million Naira) three course meals per day to just announce whatever his belly and cronies vomits.
What A glutton leader.
It's very true, when d Righteous Governs/Leads the People Rejoice and Flourish. But when the ungodly dominates/rules the people and the nation weeps, mourns,groans and losses.
GOD of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob deliver us from these tyrants we Pray THEE (Amen).

and tinubu killed june 12 with bakare

Hired aents of bakare and buhari wanting to remain relevant so they had to hire professors to come and disgrsce themselves here.The same ppl who killed abiola and kudirat--a medical doctor a
yoruba man is standing trial for the murder of kudirat--shameless yoruba people--want june 12 be declared a public holiday when they cannot even fight for the post of speaker-that tinubu sold out to the fulanis--which is worst than they insult of Mama Awo by tinubu and the honoring of abiola--they want eagle square and aso rock named after abiola--can they fight for such with the fulanis who killed abiola--when tinubu could not fight for the post of speaker is it aso rock and eagles square that he can fight for--paper tigers.

prof Ade Ajayi appeals to GEJ

Has the president thought about not only the confusion but the COST of name changes?Please God, save us form this man before he finally destroys this NATION!!!

Appeal to Jonathan by Prof Ade Ajayi

I wonder why this man Jonathan is a problem prone person? he has not solved any problem since he assumes power but creating unnessary problems. Why? he deals in petty thinking like changing names all over the place than thinking big like solving nepa issue, lagos-ibadan roads, benin-ore roads, effective train system. He opens almajiri schools with funfare as if it is a big deal. Education for children whatever name you label them are their birth rights for Christ's sake. why make it look like you are God who is creating children? Did the man even think about the COST of these name changes? what is the finance minister, Ngosi saying about this? Afterall she had lived in the United States before. Please advise Jonathan what presidents do.They dont go about changing a BRAND just for the fun of it.They go about trying to change the lives of their citizery for better! Please God, save us from this man before he finally
destroys this NATION.

can abiola retain his aso rock name with the help of d fulanis

If the man has any sense of history leftin him, he would not plead that University of lagos retain its colonial name. Lagos is not a yoruba name. It was handed over to the yorubas by the protuguese-so what is so historic about a name given to them by the colonialist. That whole thing has to do with politics. Tinubu and Bakare want to score cheap political point with MAU for buhari. UNILAG does not even rank high above university of Ghana or Cape Coast. So what is the noise about? What sort of break through have they made since its establishment over 50yrs ago? That is why I have often advocated that we break up! We are just wasting time with each other. Nigeria it seems now belongs to the fulanis, yorubas and ibos. No other tribe has the right to talk and do the same things that their leaders did with the slaves in the old regions of the south south..yet the cowards take cover when we call for the break up of the country. wld the north retain d name of abiola if 9ja breaks up?

GEJ will soon be history

GEJ will soon be history for today's story is tomorrow's history. What stops any head of state tomorrow from reversing the name to Unilag, come 2015.

What is clear is that Goodluck is diverting attention from his complete failure as a human being. What a manner of luck for him to become the President of what would have been the greatest Country in Africa and a leading light for the black man and the world?

Who says that anyone needs brain to apply subterfuge to maximum effect?
If you are happy, we shall once again vote Goodluck as President next time!

Iyabo, Akala, Ikiri, and Bode

Iyabo, Akala, Ikiri, and Bode George should build a brand new university in the name of Abiola, not renaming the good old University of Lagos. Our Oduduwa brothers should apply common sense now. We are on their side. Long live Oduduwa Republic, Long live the Republic of Biafra. Death to Islamic terrorists.

Jonathan is deaf

Jonathan is sorrounded by soundproof walls. He will not hear you.

Qestion for Mr President

Question for Mr. President; why is it that the president did not consult wide before renaming the institution? Who is the minister of education that advice him or the minister was not in picture in this? what of the special advisers? God help my president

Thank you, Prof Ade Ajayi. I

Thank you, Prof Ade Ajayi. I am convinced that it takes a simpleton or a mischief-maker not to understand the subtext of Pres Jonathan's purported renaming of Unilag after Abiola, as if that was the highest recognition possible for Abiola's monumental sacrifice for democracry when he (Abiola) could just have sat back and enjoyed his vast wealth and women. Let Jonathan rename Aso-Rock Presidential Villa after Abiola and let's see if anyone will complain. Please leave Unilag alone. I'm so disappointed Reuben Abati could not steer Jonathan away from this mess.

Prof! The immediate family of

Prof! The immediate family of MKO wrote a letter of appreciation to the President for the renaming of the University, all others are noise and are politically motivated by those who don't want to see anything good in GEJ. They all made noise that MKO must not let his mandate go, and they are the same people who traded MKO for political post. You remember how many of them sat on the panel that killed MKO? Prof please don't drag yourself into mukky water, the president has spoken.

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