FUTA Name Change Debate And Propriety Of Shagari’s Place In History, By Kayode Ajulo

World over, immortalising leaders, either of thoughts or leaders whose time wrought evocative and prosperous indicia on the face of a nation’s history, is an age-long practice.
Even in democracies of example, leaders and legends are given primacy of place on the mind of the citizenry by immortalisation. Their names are etched on the face of a state for generations of citizens to meet and mark.
Nigeria is not an exception to this culture. The tradition of naming institutions after leaders, living or dead, has also lived with us for ages.
Nigerian Government had immortalised past political leaders by the way of naming public institutions after them or writing their images of the country’s currencies or through other means considered appropriate.
Nigeria’s political heroes past have their names on public institutions around the geographical compartments of the country, on government institutions, either owned by the state or federal government.
From the first President of Nigeria, late Nnamdi Azikiwe; the first Prime Minister of Nigeria, Abubakar Yafawa Balewa; to the premier leader of opposition, Obafemi Awolowo, these fore and illustrious leaders all have their names conspicuously immortalised around the country’s spaces.
It is in this sense that the call to immortalise Nigeria’s first civilian President, Shehu Shagari, by naming the Federal University of Technology, Akure after him and the ensuing controversies over the plan spur intervention.
Eminent citizens have reacted differently to this theme, though the voice of Aare Afe Babalola (SAN), was particularly audible in this regard.
The ace lawyer and statesman has suggested to the Federal Government to rename the FUTA after the late Shagari.
Babalola’s points are that the late former President approved the citing of a Federal University of Technology in Ado Ekiti at a rally on October 11, 1980.
According to him, the approval of FUTA spurred the then Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin-led Unity Party of Nigeria Government in the then Ondo State to announce the establishment of a university in Ado-Ekiti.
The veteran legal luminary and Rabi argued that late Shagari was instrumental to the establishment of the three higher institutions, which now exist in Ondo and Ekiti States.
For FUTA Community, the points raised by Babalola do not add up to something. They cherish the brand FUTA and would resist any attempt to alter the naming.

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