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Renaming UNILAG after Abiola is ‘mere tokenism’ – Lisa Akerele

Channels Television  
Updated May 29, 2012

Former special assistant to the late Chief M.K.O. Abiola, Lisa Olu Akerele, has described the naming of the University of Lagos after the late winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election as “mere tokenism and not far-reaching enough.”

Akerele in a press statement in Abuja on Tuesday, stated that the activities of late MKO Abiola transcended the South-West geo-political zone where he came from, noting that naming UNILAG  after Abiola tends to limit his recognition to the Yoruba speaking areas of Nigeria.

Though he commended President Goodluck Jonathan for honouring Abiola, he advised that the president should have named the Eagle Square, Abuja or the University of Abuja after him for sacrificing his life for democracy.

Akerele, who spent time in Abacha’s gulac along with Abiola, noted that being the Pillar of Sports in Africa during his lifetime, it would also have been appriopate to name the National Stadium, Abuja after the late doyen of sports.

He said it was not late in the day for Jonathan to name Eagle Square or the National Stadium after Abiola.

He said he was pleased with Jonathan’s recognition of Abiola’s role in returning the country to democracy, but requested that the family of the late winner of the 1993 presidential race be compensated.

Saying “anything worth doing must be done well,” Akerele noted that Abiola was owed millions by the Federal Government, while his business empire was destroyed by the government during Sani Abacha.

“Jonathan needs to settle these bills as well as compensate the family for government’s deliberate action in stiffling Abiola’s businesses,” he said.

He berated former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who he said was the direct beneficiary of Abiola’s sacrifice, for refusing to acknowledge the late doyen’s contributions to democracy, adding: “With Jonathan’s tokenism, Abiola’s ideas have outlived Obasanjo’s wickedness and self-centredness.”