“Yes, sometimes government decisions get reactions from the populace, we do not as an administration see this as a disapproval.”
You do not see the Unilag protests as a disapproval? What then is disapproval? Unilag students took to the streets, their lecturers wrote articles and gave interviews denouncing the renaming, observers also condemned the action; and these do not amount to disapproval? How about this article itself? Let me put it in clear terms, this is a disapproval. Mr Maku, sir, you are self-deluded, and that is a fact I can verify faster than you can say “disapproval”. Wait a bit, are you confusing disapproval of honouring Abiola with disapproval of renaming Unilag. Read my lips, sir: We don’t disapprove honouring Abiola. We disapprove renaming Unilag. Honour Abiola by all means, but don’t cancel Unilag’s brand out of existence to do so. It’s a simple message. Don’t you get it?
“We just see it as a normal way in every democracy that when you take major decisions definitely sometimes you have public reaction…”
You seem to love the word “reaction”. It’s an apt description of your style of government too, reactionary. No action, all reaction. Your government loves comparing Nigeria’s specific issues to those of other democracies. A very convenient sweep-it-under-the-carpet and one-size-fits-all approach. Do you have any idea how many democracies there are and how they handle major policy decisions? Have you analysed and studied them all? I doubt it, otherwise you will realise that a government like yours that has sparked off two serious protests in a major state within the space of five months has a serious policy making problem which is not common to every democracy. In fact, it is more common in military and other dictatorships. Also, the reactions you will be getting from the public going forward is going to be “definitely” not “sometimes”. Msheew, as the ladies say.
“… but we should not allow the protest to overshadow the national significance of what Mr. President has done. I think he has shown that he is a true statesman and he truly appreciates the significance of M.K.O’s contribution in the political development of our country…”
Hold it! A few moments earlier, you were saying the “reaction” was no disapproval, now you admit it was a protest. See, there’s a synonym for “disapproval”, it’s called “protest” and I didn’t even suggest it to you. By the way, I agree with your statement about the significance of the President’s actions: he has successfully distracted attention from national issues on power, security, fuel prices, corruption, economic crunch and focused it on MKO’s mandate in a renewed controversy. Sharp guy, Mr President! A true statesman! He really knew how to manipulate MKO’s contribution to his advantage!
“and as people who were adults in 1993, we think that this decision has been long overdue and that, today, Abiola can turn in his grave and say this nation for whom I made a supreme sacrifice for political development has recognized my contributions”
This is where I roll my eyes, sir. The adults in 1993 did not make this decision; it was made by the President alone, a man who is yet to clarify his role in the June 12 struggle except as an accidental beneficiary of the democratic legacy. As they say, Abeg make I hear word. Adults, my ebony posterior! As for the long overdue decision: honouring MKO is long overdue, renaming Unilag is not. And to think MKO will turn in his grave for this cheap gift is insulting to his memory, his legacy and his family. Afterall, he has an institution named after him already, he has roads, he has parks, he has a stadium. If you need Abiola to roll, you will have to name June 12 as Democracy Day or put his face on the Naira. Oh, now you’re rolling your own eyes, I see. You, sir, are a bloody hypocrite.
“It is our hope that reason will prevail and that the decision to honor one of our nations’s icons and heroes will be appreciated by all Nigerians including our youths and students who are the future leaders of this country.”
I don’t even know what the phrase “future leaders” mean anymore. I declare that this statement makes no sense. Mr Maku, does your statement make sense with Bamanga Tukur as Chairman of the ruling PDP when 33 years ago he was also Governor of Gongola State? Or David Mark who was the military governor of Niger State in 1984, and today, 28 years after he is Senate President? Take also Murtala Nyako, governor of Niger State in 1976 and 36 years after now the Governor of Adamawa State? David Jonah Jang- governor of Benue State in 1985 and 27 years after, governor of Plateau State today? Common, Labbie, don’t let’s fool each other. You know that in 20 years’ time, you will probably be the Senate President too!
“… if there is any figure that symbolizes sacrifice of self for this nation, that figure is Chief M.K.O Abiola who clearly won the June12, 1993 Presidential election and died in that captivity because he stood for principle, he stood to defend the principle of democracy, and for anyone that is familiar with the development of our politics in the last two decades, there is no event in the political history of our country that touches the hearts of quite a significant number of citizens like the June 12 Presidential election.”
Mr. Maku, I will ignore the dripping hypocrisy in your statement and point out that if Abiola had been president, in accordance with the principle of democracy, he would have consulted stakeholders and gotten the approval of the majority before renaming an established institution. The Abiola you honour would have disapproved of your actions as, in the words of Prof Soyinka, arbitrary and disrespectful.
“In the last two decades, there has been widespread outcry that this democracy has not given Chief M.K.O Abiola and other heroes who passed on in controversial circumstances their due honour as a result of what they did to stand for the democratic development of this country.”
Oh no! Did I hear you say “other heroes”? Bye-bye University of Benin; bye-bye University of Ibadan; bye-bye University of Nigeria, bye-bye all federal schools that do not bear “heroic” names. And, Mr Maku, when we’ve run out of schools to rename, we’ll start renaming the rivers and mountains, from River Niger to Olumo Rock, until every landmark in Nigeria is stamped with the nomenclature of an individual.
“These outcries have continued to come from citizens spread across the nation. What Mr. President did was to listen to the outpouring of appeals of persuasions by Nigerians across this country that MKO deserved to be immortalised.”
Did those same mysterious Nigerians specifically select University of Lagos as the ideal way of honouring MKO? I really don’t know about the mysterious fellows and phantom persuaders that the President imagines he’s listening to—but the real Nigerians that have called for honouring Abiola have all pointed to Abuja as the ideal place for such an honour! The western region has enough monuments honouring Abiola.
“What he therefore did in his capacity as a visitor to the University of Lagos was to name the University after Moshood Abiola of blessed memory. He did so in the best interest of the country, he did so because any nation that does not honour those who clearly stand out and make a sacrifice as role models for others to follow cannot appeal to the best in its own traditions for citizens to follow.”
There goes that drippy hypocrisy again. By the way, since when did the “visitor” start renaming the household without the sanction of the occupants? Mr. Maku, I hereby, in my capacity as visitor to your house, rename you Squealer. Labaran Squealer. You don’t know who Squealer is? Seriously, sir? You are the goddamn Information Minister! Please read Orwell’s Animal Farm again.
“We have also seen the outpouring of encomiums by patriots and statesmen who really understand the reasons why the President honoured Abiola.”
There is only one conclusion. The people in Aso Rock do not live in Nigeria.