The Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Julius Okojie, said on Thursday that President Goodluck Jonathan consulted widely Playing down the import of students protest over the renaming of school, he said its a common thing for students to protest every government decision and so “its just a passing phase in the country’s history.”
Okojie who spoke to journalists after meeting with the President, also recalled that before UNILAG six other universities in the country had been renamed.
Students of the university took to the street for two days before the school was shut down for two weeks on Wednesday.
The Federal Government said yesterday that despite the protests over the Democracy Day renaming of the institution, its decision was final on the exercise because the late winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election deserved the honour.
Prof. Okogie who spoke on the process leading to the renaming of one of the country’s second generation university said the President did the proper consultations before reaching the decision.
“Who told you there was no consultation? Can the President act alone? Even in the matters of nine new universities, from the scratch, I know the committee that worked on it,” he said.
“Jonathan is the most engaging President, he is very accessible, I can tell you about that. That he didn’t On whether the Vice Chancellor or the school Senate were consulted, he said, “Is that the 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 process would take, he said, “I do not run that system, but it will take the due process.”
On the students protest he said, “We are familiar with these issues. I have been in the University system for this long. I speak as ES of NUC and a regulator of universities. We have had Ife changed in 1987 now Obafemi Awokowo University, we have had Usman Dan Fodio now University of Sokoto, we have had Federal University of Technology, Yola, Modibbo Adamawa, we had Nnamdi Azikiwe University before now known as University of Awka before. This is about the seventh.
“The President had announced that we want to honour Abiola on Democracy Day which everybody thinks is in order.
“There is nothing you do in the university system these days that students won’t react. Whether it is increase of fees or what have you. The President has given a directive, the rest is for us to follow the implementation.”