I wake up Friday morning to a message from my brother. The president had relinquished his ill-advised resolution to rename the University of Lagos. The elating news made my day instantaneously. It had been nearly a year since he made that pontificating pronouncement. Whew!!!
Variety is the spice of life and as a Nigerian it is envisaged this would taste sour in some mouths while others would feel indifferent. These arrays of individuals are mostly sentimental people while others I believe mostly haven’t captured the big picture. Why am I in a state of euphoria? I’d try to make my points concise. I’m convinced there are two ideal ways to honour or immortalise the late M.K.O.
Firstly, justice must be served in his killing and that of his wife, Kudirat. The justice system is yet to bring a definitive end to the cases surrounding these murders. His death has been claimed for years to be as result of his battle for democracy. With nearly 14 years of democracy why hasn’t his assailants and that of his wife been brought to book? Now that’s honouring his memory. Secondly, as he is said to be a martyr of democracy, why doesn’t it feel like we are in one? Practicing democracy, isn’t that the best way to give accolades to his efforts? Those are the only genuine ways we can reverence his legacy, every other gesture is secondary and invalid until these prerequisites have been executed.
Accessory to the above points is his timing. For a man who seems imperceptive to his electorates the most affronting thing was to make such an announcement during the university’s mourning period for their late vice chancellor. Amongst the arguments, the constant statements that surfaced were “Isn’t Abiola’s legacy enough to warrant the name change?”, “The students don’t know what Abiola did for the country”, “Isn’t Unilag just a name?” and “Don’t these students have books to read” and so on. Sentiments! All sentiments I tell you. When people make statements like that, I mentally imagine them in a wheelchair. Spineless! If their minds functioned at all, educated or not, they’d align all the facts pertinent to the circumstance before uttering their sentimental positions. The source of a problem is often the best place to start and not its consequence. What are the motives for the gesture? If the celebration of democracy is the aim, then why FORCE a decision on unwilling participants? Why use an established body as a foundation for a monument? Where is the creativity?
As someone on a news site commented “The name change doesn’t sound so bad until you wake up one day and realise your name has been changed, without your permission”.
In a country whose educational sector is lacking greatly, even the educated among us are flawed greatly in comparison with our foreign counterparts around the world. We can’t fight so much as it is obvious even our lecturer’s constant strikes don’t count for much in this country. As the “leaders of tomorrow”, if the current ones would ever vacate their positions, and as products of the society, why can’t the other members of our society have faith that our decisions are primarily intellectual as opposed to sentiments since they are the ones that work hard to send us to school? Do they believe our education is a waste of time? Why do they believe we should be STUDYING instead of PRACTICING the rights we have been educated on? When companies spend enormous amounts of money on their brands why can’t we indicate our displeasure at the aesthetically unpleasant name we had been given which would cost a lot to implement? When that amount of money could be used to pacify the lecturers and reduce the recurrent strikes?
The students and authority put their foot down and got things done right as regards the university, not much can be said for M.K.O’s legacy. I hope the broad learns from this. Pardon my French but that’s how any man who loves a beautiful, budding, brainy lady who is ignorant of her value, would react when he sees her whoring herself around. I quote Fela “If you call am woman, African woman no go gree, she go say I be lady o” and Lupe “B**** bad, woman good, lady better, they misunderstood”. This bad b**** needs to become a woman and then become a lady and the youth have given a good example. If you want something done well, you’ve got to do it yourself! If our leaders won’t make the right decisions, she’d have to grow some balls and make it herself, literarily speaking of course.
The above was to be posted yesterday, Saturday, but it wasn’t possible. Sunday morning and I glance at Saturday’s Punch newspaper and see on the front page “UNILAG REMAINS MAULAG – FG”. The Federal Ministry of Education refuted the reports. Just when I thought we had taken a step in the right direction. Oh well, the battle is still on and I pray we win! We need the motivation. Still, SHE has to grow some balls.
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