The fact that Nigeria is a conglomeration of many nation states re-echoed on Tuesday May 29, 2012, Nigeria’s Democracy Day, when a truth we try to hide re-surfaced. Nigeria was a creation of colonial lordship without recourse to common sense and consideration for unified socio-political, cultural and economic indices and affinity that should be the hallmarks of a country.
Just like every other May 29 since the return to democratic governance in 1999, this year’s Democracy Day was celebrated as usual but not without some hue and cries. The first news that attracted news hunters was the declaration by the Federal Government that there would not be any celebration. Everybody knew why: the government was afraid of Boko-Haram, MEND and their accomplices.
The day’s Presidential broadcast took all by surprise. President Jonathan in the broadcast re-christened the famous University of Lagos (UNILAG) to Moshood Abiola University, in honour of late Chief Moshood Kasimawo Olawale Abiola, who paid the ultimate price for running for and winning the popular June 12, 1993 Presidential Election.
It was a shocker; unexpected and castigated by many. Students of the institution took to the streets in protests and the authority of the school shut down the institution. The President is still being lampooned for not consulting with stake-holders before the re-christening of the University.
As opinionated by many, I agree that Chief MKO Abiola deserves the honour. But re-naming the institution shows a truth we all avoid; that Nigeria is not a country.
And while we are confronted with yet another good but not-well-thought-out policy, most of the students on the streets may not even know who MKO Abiola was since nobody bothers about our history again. Everybody waits what comes next.
Nigeria, A Nation-States By Nature
Nigeria, a nation naturally segregated into North, South and East is famous for naming governmental institutions after individuals (dead or alive) and some of the naming are mostly parochial and not national in nature. A nation that calls itself one will not regionalize its activities.
Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Bayero University Kano, Usman Danfodiyo University Sokoto, Abubarka Tafawa University Bauchi, Hussaini Adamu Federal Polytechnic Kazaure and Waziri Umaru Federal Polytechnic Birni-Kebbi are named after northerners and these schools are located in the North; Unamdi Azikwe University Awka, Michael Opara University of Agriculture Umudike and Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education Oweri are in the East and named after people from that region; Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Adeyemi College Of Education Ondo and University of Lagos (now renamed Moshood Abiola University) that are named after Southerners are situated in the South.
If we are a country it will not be difficult to name an institution in the North after an individual from the South, and vice-versa.