UNILAG Or MAULAG: Lest We Forget



By Olamide Olabisi 

In the thick of the UNILAG VS MAULAG upheaval, I tried to maintain a creative sanity amongst the people I led to the protest ground and I always tried to make them know why and what exactly  we were fighting for so that we didn’t say jargons to the press or make any frivolous mistake at all. I tried to make sure that we didn’t cause further havoc, but sadly enough,in the spirit of this logic am sorry to say, a vast majority of my colleagues that I encountered gave very inane and unintelligent reasons for joining the protest. For instance, some said in pidgin English: ‘the name no sweet for ear’; ‘dem no fit they call me maulite’.

Even though the name change was going to follow an ego-complex and a dent of psyche, that wasn’t supposed to be the reason to trek from Abule-Oja/school gate to the Third Mainland bridge- shouting, clamouring, singing, acting, carrying placards and momentarily hindering people from getting to their workplaces. No! Some of us actually lost it. I  tried to correct such opinions as much as possible by constructing BCs on BBM and giving everybody cogent facts and statistics to digest.

But it may please you to know that Nigerians have this special gift of focusing on the rave of the moment and rant about issues as they are heating up. Immediately another gruesome event unfolds, they change focus like an impending earthquake and they begin to rant again. The Dana air plane crash on Sunday 3 June this year has taken its turn, Oga Farouk Lawan and Otedola are still having the spotlight. What is next?

I realised the name change, though may be a form of honour, still had so many critical technical hitches- one of which is that he disturbed peaceful repose of the soul of the dead, our vice chancellor who had gone to rest with the Lord some weeks before this whole trouble started. The whole school was in a state of mourning and President Jonathan decided to look for trouble because he was bored. Apparently, this declaration was going to elicit a protest and a critical disapproval from every sane person or stakeholder. He should have waited till the dead was laid to rest. Such a decision is a key factor for a so-called ‘sensitive’ administration.

My vitriol exploded when I realised the senate had suggested that the Abuja National Stadium be named after MKO. Others suggested Aso Rock or Villa or whatever, the Eagle Square et al, some said a day should be dedicated for him just like Martin Luther King’s. Those are beautiful options but I thought out something again, Malcolm X of the United States is the face of their stamp and generations after generations are still using it, inquisitive youths are trying to research increasingly why he is the face of the stamp thereby remembering him in decorum. This could also be a path to resurrect NIPOST. But GEJ is not ready to work or think! The NIPOST is not even part of his ‘unrealistic transformation’ project.

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It keeps lingering in my mind, How much will it cost to change the letter head, envelopes and other print works with Unilag on it? There are also sign posts, car posters, website certificates and official notifications to relevant agencies. Let us not forget the enterprises the university set up to generate revenue- UNILAG Consult, UNILAG Ventures- they all have to change name, documents and labels. Any  idea of the cost? I heard  that N1 billion was released for the name change but come to think of it, an incompetent person would have been pencilled down by the PDP as a beneficiary for this contract. It is his turn to eat from the national cake, when the bakers are wallowing in unimaginable poverty. That’s the country that we live in, we misplace priorities on a steady basis.

Such funds could be diverted to execute reasonable projects but the truth is, we are only going to be told it has been diverted. We will never see the outcome.

Finally, my school has resumed anyway and the typical UNILAG morning is emerging- where everyone you encounter has a lecture for 8 a.m. (whether true or not), where the cab driver doesn’t wait for all the passengers to alight before he engages the gear to rapidly pick up students from the long queues wherever, the ‘phone call & recharge card’ clausal-noise blaring in your ears from those who have taken it as a source of livelihood, girls and guys looking beautiful and handsome in elegant outfits preparing for the ‘toasting’ in the evening.

The bustling evening is also taking its turn when the smoke of the chicken & chips sellers won’t give you rest, girls clinging to guys at several locations as they order the sharwarma seller to serve them varieties, girls and guys holding themselves at the love garden, where everyone is holding something assorted, Oppressing-automobiles trooping in cavalcade to pick selected girls in bikini and sultry leggings or juggins. I need to stop here.

At least , the federal high court Ikeja has declared that the name remains, so we are on course, we are making progress. GREAT AKOKITES!!!!!!!

•Olabisi is of the Faculty of Science, Unilag. Follow his twitter @presidhent. 08064486066.

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