Download (PDF, 573KB)
It is interesting to see how much can be achieved within a single tenure! It is shameful we currently don’t equal that rate of progress . I am thankful that I was privileged to stay in Jaja hall during my time at the University. The ‘new’ and ‘newest’ hall complexes which are newer than the likes of Jaja and Mariere halls are nothing in comparison.
I imagine what it must have been to be a student at the University of Lagos in the 70s. For one, I’m certain that the students then enjoyed all manners of privileges that I can only fantasize about. I wonder if anybody has memoirs. Why was the coeducational hostel system stopped? Also, I like the name Haile Selassie Auditorium better. Any idea why it was renamed?
Most of what you know today as Moremi Hall is actually the extension of a very small girl’s hostel – part of which still exists on the right side of the complex.
Jaja Hall and the Moremi extension were apparently expected to have been completed around the same time. While Jaja was being built by Cappa, I think Moremi was given to a contractor who messed things up and had to be removed. The University therefore had a problem at the beginning of the 1974/75 session as there was not enough space for the girls. The decision was to temporarily use Jaja for both sexes. Moremi extension was promptly given to the same contractor as Jaja and by the next session, things were back to normality.
Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia (who was also the Chairman of the Organization of African Unity)laid the foundation stone of the auditorium. It was named after him after completion. Our 1977 set was the first graduating set that had the convocation ceremony in that Hall. The military coups in Nigeria and Ethiopia eventually led to the overthrow of Haile Selassie. The times did not favour a retention of the name. The students saw to it that Yakubu Gowon’s name was removed from the main library. This became the official position after the assassination of Murtala Mohammed when Gowon was no longer in the good books of the Obasanjo regime.
I think a return to the original name will fill the hall with a sense of history. I don’t know if there will be sufficient drive to see it through though.
Prof. Fakinlele, you have done a fantastic job with your eulogy on Prof. JF Ade-Ajayi.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *