Satiric / The Pontifical Papers

RENAMING UNILAG: THE SILLINESS OF LABARAN MAKU’S SPEECH | by Ayo Sogunro

“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.

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28 thoughts on “RENAMING UNILAG: THE SILLINESS OF LABARAN MAKU’S SPEECH | by Ayo Sogunro

  1. Pingback: State of the Nation - Page 691 - StockMarketNigeria.com Forums

  2. Omo daada, it shall be well with you a thousand times over.

    Kudos for speaking the minds of the helpless under the leadership of some clueless individuals

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  3. as much as all this gej dogs try to make him look good they make a big fool of themselves all the time thanks Maku u have successfully exhibited how stupid and unintelligent u and ur government is

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  4. You have done well with your write-ups and i assure you that this is just the beginning of greater things to come for you. You may not know but i do know you cause you were my senior at the faculty of law UNILAG, our one and only HARVARD in Nigeria.

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  5. Wow! This is a great piece. It’s a pity our leaders have no clue at all what democracy is or how things are been done in a democratic settings.

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  6. i just don’t know why people are finding it hard to understand. this guy (president) read zoology and fishery and came out with a second class and believe me in the animal kingdom he’s doing his best. or what else do you people expect? for him to act like a doctor or a lawyer? he do his zoology thing while LABARAN MAKU or best still ABATI covers his animal-crazy with good English that’s why you employ a freaky lawyer, to cover your ass! “a breadth of fresh air”

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  7. This piece is awe-inspiring, Ayo let’s put all these common briggands where they truly belong… And as for you Mr. Reuben Abatti, your day shall come just as Mrs. Or sorry Mr. Maku got the lashing of his life.

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  8. Let me quickly acknowledge that am a big fan of yours Ayo, keep it up. Now to the point. It wont take time for a careful observer to know what this whole issue is aimed at; certainly not to honour MKO, (so, let the Mko’s family warn GEJ not to drag their name into his mess). The presidency must have thought it was a good time to feed the west with some balonies against the 2015 elections and they see this as one good medium of political propaganda. This is why nigerians must stand firmly as one against whoever wants them to trade their rights for a bag of rice come 2015. Now, to take a cue from our hypocritical MAKU; when did the nigerian govt become so sensitive to the aggitation and the plea of is people?? Let me save the list; well, if you say so. Proof it; let GEJ proof the image that his information minister is trying to sell to us( dt it was the plea of the people dt got d president into making such a mess). Proof it by retracting that act of impudence that has put the nation once again in a state of unrest.

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  9. Unilag, or any Federal university, does not belong to its students, lecturers, alumni or Senate. It belongs to the people of Nigeria. The people of Nigeria created it by an Act of dia representatives in parliament and the funding of the school have also been solely borne by the commonwealth of all Nigerians- since the school’s founding.

    The power to rename, or do otherwise the institution, therefore rests solely with the people of Nigeria through their representatives in the National Assembly. What the President has said is a policy statement and it is expected that an Executive Bill will follow, to amend the Unilag Act to reflect the name change. Ayo Sogunro’s piece is high on simplistic riffraff abuses but low on analysis. Certainly bereft of intellectualism. The slightest sense of history, and its place in the building of nations, were obviously lost on the ‘lawyer’ and perhaps, never available to him in his years of apparent narrow pursuit of a certification in Law. That he could not reach beyond the narrowness of a name he has been used to, to appreciate the symbolism of MKO to the stability of the country- symbolism established when he was still a baby- further affirms the lack of character and smallness of mind plaguing the country. To debase the memory of an Abiola in d process of adjusting oneself to a change can neither stop nor erase the change that has come to be.

    If we agree Moshood Abiola University (formerly Unilag) belongs to the people of Nigeria, then the people are entitled to name any of dia monuments and institutions as commemoration for whatever values or event they hold dear. Unilag does not add to the pathfinding symbolism MKO has now come to represent in Nigeria’s history- rather, it is MKO’s legacies, of sacrificing for an entire nation’s democratic course, that has added to former Unilag’s image. The people of Nigeria, owners of Moshood Abiola University (formerly Unilag), have decided to christene the school after one of dia heroes of democracy… The President have thereby partly yielded to the clamour to immortalise Abiola and the National Assembly is expected to amend the Unilag Act soonest in order to make babies like Sogunro get used to pronouncing Moshood Abiola University, Lagos- when they become Adults.

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    • What are u saying Mr oga¿
      If d national assembly represents the people, people who are obviously rejecting this decision, why should they pass the silly bill you propose?!

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    • If u have an issue with Ayo, go settle it with him privately. He has simply put labaran in his place. Talking about policy statement I think u need to be tutored on what a policy statement means. I doubt if you watched the presidents broadcast. You are just a freaking Unilag hater!

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      • yeah…he is just one of those who for no reasons hate UNILAG…He knows nothing about policy making………………#mcthewwwwww!

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    • Mr Adex, r u an alumus of the University of Lagos?…I don’t think so. U say d Nigerian pple r d ones dt asked for d rechristening? I don’t get it at all…please show them to us cos it means d school’s governing council, ex and current students, other well meaning individuals who think beyond d superficial and have kicked against dis renaming are probably from mars and r not Nigerians abi?

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  10. Well, mr ajax…..with no iota of bias i write this, and i hope u’ll find it helpful. I like ur epistle on history and i quite agree dt sogunro has a narrow view on history while i stress dt even ur own opinion appears to be tainted or precluded by ignorance. I dont know what ur field is; but i can say for a fact that ur epistle would av been worth it if it was not beside the point. I think we are getting all carried away with ds heroism of a thing while we negligently shy away from the subject matter. Now, i hope u know history is open for every one to access cause u made it sound like it was such an abstract subject. If u have followed the trend of occurence in the country, you wld know that the spectrum of very unpleasant events that this present administration has generated is quite enormous and so, one wld expect a failed administration like theirs to focus on salient issues affecting this Nation rather than celebrating elementry issues like a change of name. In clear terms, no one is oblivious of d fact dt MKO is an hero, but we are stressing that it is paramount for this administration to get serious and quit these political propaganda. If anyone needs a lecture on how the process of a change of name shd be, it certainly not me and i am very positive dt sogunro knows where to look 4 dt but dt is just reading issues out of context. Please dont allow urself to be shrouded by sentiment, this is a time to be objective in our words and actions. Reflect.

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  11. To Immortalize MKO, put his face on a Naira bill. Tell Mr President to focus on issues begging for answer and stop looking for diversionary tactics to take our minds off his inefficiencies!

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  12. Except the term ‘disapproval’ has a second meaning. The disapproval is as glaring as anything that can be imagined. Honour The Late MKO…our Unilag stays…Period.

    Why is President Jonathan so fond of suddenly taking decisions that are so imflamatory…Someone needs to remind him of what happened in January2012(the sucidy issue)

    Should the resistance to this decision of his gain ground…I’m sorry…we may just be preparing for a repeat of what happened earlier this year.

    Just my take.

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  13. Except the term ‘disapproval’ has a second meaning. The disapproval is as glaring as anything that can be imagined. Honour The Late MKO…our Unilag stays…Period.

    Why is President Jonathan so fond of suddenly taking decisions that are so imflamatory…Someone needs to remind him of what happened in January2012(the subcidy issue)

    Should the resistance to this decision of his gain ground…I’m sorry…we may just be preparing for a repeat of what happened earlier this year.

    Just my take.

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  14. This is an excellent write-up. It speaks the mind of the people. Should we call this administration a democratic government or a military or dictatorship where executive proclamation over-rides the Act of parliament.

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  15. if mr president had an honest mind in renaming a university, must it be unilag? Why not university of Nigeria-atleast it carries d name-Nigeria. Rather he had to choose a state like Lagos maybe to further cause a chaos lyk dt of Jan 2012. We know PDP has neva bin a frnd to d state simply bcos dey r not controlling Lagos. Dis gud act of his surely has political undertone. We still rmba how Obasanjo held onto d allocation in his tym. Unilag is a respected brand dt shuld not be put into extinction. I’m sure mr president does not know wat a brand is. I wont be surprise if he decides to rename Nigeria tmrw.

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  16. at ayo.this shows the mentality of the average nigerian..selfish and self-centered..look at this statement from the so called minister of info “i think the president is a true statesman and truly” this is the statement of a man who is obviously loyal to is job than the president himself.This was a man that constantly criticised d so called ruling party but sold his soul for that post smh..this is my view of the average nigerian.ayo can u tell nigerians out der that its not about SNG,TUC,ASUU,NLC AND THE LIKES..WHAT WE NEED IS FOR WE THE NIGERIAN MASSES TO DO AWAY WITH OUR TRIBALISTIC SENTIMENTS TOWARDS EACH OTHER,OUR HATRED AND ALL THAT.LETS USE OUR PENS AND OUR VOICES AND WHATEVER MEDIA ARSENAL WE HAVE TO FIGHT THIS SLAVEDRIVERS TO A STANDSTILL..

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