Alumni, Students Urge N’Assembly to Disregard UNILAG Bill
JUNE 8, 2012 BY SEGUN OLUGBILE, JAMES AZANIA AND TEMITAYO FAMUTIMI
National President, University of Lagos Alumni Association, Prof. Olaide Abbas, says President Goodluck Jonathan’s decision to send a bill to the National Assembly seeking legal backing for renaming UNILAG after his pronouncement is “an admittance of error.”
In his May 29 nationwide breadcast, Jonathan said the government had decided to change UNILAG to Moshood Abiola University in honour of the late MKO Abiola for his contribution to democracy in the country.
Abbas called on the members of the National Assembly to throw out the bill, saying the President’s action was tantamount to putting the cart before the horse.
The don,in an interview with our correspondent on Thursday, said the National Assembly should not be a rubber-stamp of the Presidency.
He said, “The late MKO Abiola had a history. UNILAG has its own history but the President should not use one history to destroy another. So, it is not a question of sending the bill to the National Assembly, it is a question of owning up to your error
The National Assembly should not be a rubber-stamp. What he has done can be likened to issuing a decree like a military dictator and later come back to seek the approval of the members of the Supreme Military Council.”
Also, a Lagos lawyer, Mr. Wahab Shittu, called on members of the National Assembly to throw out bill.
He said, “The President as a democratic President ought to have allowed his action to be guided by the fundamentals of democracy, that is due process, rule of law, constitutionalism, transparency and accountability. For him to have changed the name of the UNILAG unilaterally and thereby throwing the nation into protest showed that he is anti-democracy.”
But the Pro-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Chief Wole Olanipekun, has urged the opposition parties in the country not to crucify Jonathan over the renaming UNILAG.
Describing President Jonathan’s manoeuvre as being reminiscent of Nigeria’s military era, the lawmaker said no retroactive law must be allowed to come into being under the current dispensation.
He said, “Now, it shows that the executive arm has not outlived the military practice whereby they make a pronouncement and back it up with a decree. We are now in a democracy. What is more is that we have just celebrated 14 years of democracy and it is happening when people are going to court and more are gearing up to do so.