Friday, 24 August 2012

From University of Lagos To Moshood Abiola University: Cucullus non facit monachum.

I am still trying to figure out the reason behind this change of name and have therefore come to the conclusion that the move by the Federal Government of Nigeria may have been an irresponsible decision that will not add anything to the image and reputation of the university.

What the University of Lagos needs urgently just like many other Nigerian universities is uplifting of her academic image, enthronement of professionalism and first class rebranding to enable her compete with other universities in the world. Renaming the university after Moshood Abiola will certainly not achieve these. It is a big shame that no Nigerian university currently features in the best 500 universities in the world and a cursory look at each of them tells a tribal story. Often, the vice chancellors and other academics come predominantly from the region the university is situated.

The same is also the case with the student population. They often come from same region; no variety despite the fact that it is believed that variety is the spice of life. This trend is bad and very dangerous and does not represent what a university is or ought to be. A university is supposed to be a melting pot for all manner of people, shades of opinion, intellectual glocalisation and academic freedom. Nigerian universities are still very far from these ideals and the implication is that they are still very far from being called a 21st century ivory towers and may not feature in the best 500 in the world in the next 100 years!

Compared with other universities around the world, the University of Lagos just like other Nigerian universities is occupying a dominant position at the bottom ladder and most Nigerians are aware of this for they have often described our universities as glorified secondary schools. Most of these universities lack robust endowment and efficient medical, engineering and law schools as well as necessary equipment worthy of a university.  This is what the Federal Government of Nigeria should have focused on and not renaming of these universities after people who may have never contributed nothing to the building of Nigeria.

I wish therefore to state that it is sad, irresponsible and undemocratic for the Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan to even effect that change without consulting the senate and management of the university. This behavior is an affront to what academic freedom stands for and the fact that he is the Visitor of the university does not justify it at all. That is a Nazi style of leadership and obviously portrays him as a president with a temperament of an African chief.

I wish he would listen more to the feelings and sentiments the academic community.

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