Students at the University of Lagos in Nigeria’s commercial capital, are fighting for the university to keep its name. For a second day in a row, they are holding protests against President Goodluck Jonathan’s decision to rename it “Moshood Abiola University.”
Students protested in front of the university on Tuesday.
President Jonathan announced his decision
in a televised broadcast on Tuesday, which was Democracy Day, a Nigerian national holiday. This took students by surprise; hundreds immediately gathered in front of the university to express their anger. On Wednesday, they gathered on the Third Mainland Bridge, Africa’s longest bridge, which connects the Lagos peninsula to the mainland. On Twitter, students created the hashtag #OccupyUNILAG (the university’s name is often shortened to UNILAG) to organise their protest.
On Wednesday, students blocked the Third Mainland Bridge. Photo published on Twitter by @tosinadeda.
Many students expressed their desire to keep the university’s original name because this institution, founded in 1962, enjoys a very good reputation in Nigeria. To young Nigerians, UNILAG symbolises success; some students are worried that if the university’s name changes, future employers will no longer recognise the importance of their diploma. Other students say that the government should focus on more important issues, such as improving the university’s course offerings and infrastructure.