Jonathan Sends Bill for UNILAG Name Change to N’Assembly
JUNE 7, 2012 BY JOHN AMEH, OLUWOLE JOSIAH AND MOTUNRAYO ABODERIN
President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday sent a bill to the National Assembly seeking to amend the University of Lagos Act.
The amendment is to give legal teeth to his decision to change the name of the 50-year-old UNILAG to Moshood Abiola University.
Jonathan had during his Democracy Day speech on May 29 explained that name change was to honour the late Chief MKO Abiola.
President of the Senate, Mr. David Mark, read a letter from Jonathan to members requesting the passage of the bill to give legal backing to the name change.
House of Representatives Speaker, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal, who received the same letter from the President, also read it to the House.
The bill will have to go through three readings in both the House and the Senate and if passed, would put to rest, the legal question surrounding Jonathan’s action.
However, lawmakers murmured in the chamber as Tambuwal read the letter.
The bill will not be debated until it is raised for second reading by the House.
The President also sent two other bills seeking legal backing for the change of names of the Federal University of Technology, Yola and the University of Agriculture, Umudike.
FUTY is now to be known as Modibbo Adamawa University, while the University of Agriculture in Umudike, Abia State is to be known as Michael Okpara University of Science and Technology.
The Minority Leader of the House, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, was one of those who opposed Jonathan’s pronouncement when he renamed UNILAG.
His opposition was on the grounds that he (Jonathan) lacked the powers to do so.
He had argued that UNILAG was a “creation of an Act of Parliament, and unless the same parliament (National Assembly) amends the Act, the President’s action is illegal”.
The House also passed nine bills to give legislative backing to the nine new universities established by the Federal Government in 2011.
Meanwhile, UNILAG Press Club, has expressed fears that the renaming of the university may affect its funding by its alumni association.
President of the club, Tosin Adesile, said during a press conference in Lagos on Wednesday, “UNILAG is a federal university, but the alumni association plays a greater role in terms of funding. In the past, we made several appeals to the Federal Government requesting for a renovation of our hostels, more class rooms to be built, better laboratories. But all have been in vain.”