The Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Julius Okojie, said on Thursday that President Goodluck Jonathan consulted widely before renaming University of Lagos after the late business mogul, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola.
He also played down the import of students’ protests over the renaming of school, saying it is a common thing for students to protest government decisions.The Executive Secretary, who spoke to newsmen after meeting with the president, also recalled that before UNILAG six other universities in the country have also been renamed.
President Jonathan in his Democracy Day broadcast renamed the institution after Abiola and the Federal Government has already said despite the students’ protests its decision on the issue was final.
The decision did not go down well with the UNILAG students who took to the streets for two consecutive days before the school was shut down on Wednesday.
Prof. Okogie while speaking on the process leading to the renaming of one of the country's second generation university said the president did the proper consultations before taking the decision.
He said, "Who told you there was no consultation, Can the President act alone? Even on the issue of the nine new universities, from the scratch I know the committee that worked on it.
"Jonathan is the most engaging President, he is very accessible, I can tell you about that. Saying that he didn't consult will not be the truth."
When asked if the Vice Chancellor or the school Senate were consulted before the decision, he responded, "Is that the final level of consultation? Who is the proprietor of federal institutions? It is the federal Government of course. It is not at that level he will consult but they have been told."
On if there is any need for the National Assembly to confirm the President's directives, Okogie said, "The President has never said there is no due process, he has not said we should go and pull down the Bill Board of University of Lagos today and put Moshood Abiola. He is a man who believes in due process and he won't do anything out of the ordinary."
On how soon would the due process be expected, he replied "I do not run that system but it will take the due process."
"We are familiar with this issue of students’ protests. I have been in the University system for this long. I speak as Executive Secretary of NUC and a regulator of universities. We have had University of Ife changed in 1987 to Obafemi Awolowo University, we have had University of Sokoto, now Usman Dan Fodio University and we have had Federal University of Technology, Yola, now known as Modibbo University, Adamawa,” he stated.