Mr Omodunmiju Akinyose 1939-2021

Mr Dunmiju Akinyose: My Brother!
Where do I begin to talk about the recently departed Mr Omodunmiju Akinyose? To us in the Fakinlede family, he was many things. More than a Brother-in-law: A brother. He was a consummate father. He was more than a husband to our dear sister, Adunni, he was a soulmate and friend. He was deep, jovial, and relaxed.
Sister Adunni – the oldest child in the Fakinlede family was passing through her early twenties – a beautiful and desirable young woman. And I was nine years old. How did I know?
We greatly misunderstand young people and often underestimate what they know. They gather a map of the world so fast from the data they receive from adults and make an accurate, realistic judgment of the world around while adults continue to supply information by saying all sorts while they are around.
Young people can also be as vain as adults as they drink from the same wells of virtue and of vice. Add that to the fact that in our time, our father stubbornly refused to read his letters by himself – preferring to ask us to read them to him. It is interesting to note that the same man read his bible to pieces by himself! This fact made my 9–12-year-old mind – quite a knowledgeable one. I read the marriage proposals to Baba. I read the letters of discord, of broken relationships and of formal wedding contracts! I was a scribe – at age eleven!
The genesis of the relationship between my sister and Mr Akinyose was well documented in my mind. And, coming shortly after the end of another relationship, I had taken sides. And I was not on Mr Akinyose’s side! My main beef with him was that he had no car! How dare him marry my sister when he did not have a car!
Character? Who cares about such an unnecessary superfluity called character? I just wanted to see my sister driven about in a car and Akure Town seeing her in splendor! Handsome? The only handsome things were vehicles! Give me the least attractive person in a car, I was OK!
Secrets! Of course, I never shared this with anyone! I just kept it to myself! My father himself did not have more than his two bicycles, but I thought that my sister was of a higher quality – fit only for those that had pleasure cars!
I do not remember attending the wedding in 1968 but saw the several times that Sister and her new husband visited Baba at his shop near the central motor park. I still have a tape of that motorcycle and her sitting position. And in my mind, I would be thinking of her inside a car if she had made a different choice!
Then the children came! Then we visited at the School of Agriculture. After this the family grew. Then they drove their own car. Then they became more prosperous. Then they owned their own houses. Then he retired from government service. Then they lived in the village. Then he went into politics and became the Chair of the local Government. And at last, they had Segun – the only one remaining at home with sister rejoicing that, but for him, the house would have been empty!
It was always a joy to visit this family each time I passed by Ore on our way from visiting in-laws in the Delta. He was either at home or relaxing with friends – sometimes playing draughts.
We met on many family occasions. The last major of which was at Mama Talabi in Ikole (2002) where we were lodged together in this large hotel by anty Lucy.
It was that late night talk that I saw into the father’s heart of the Man, Dunmiju Akinyose. His concern that night was Nireti Oke and their early married life struggles in Warri with stability in jobs, business as they grew their family. Breaking down his children’s different situations and the worry in the mind of a father that night was a glimpse into the consummate father’s heart.
I arrived late after the Thompson’s wedding in 1996. I still remember the friendly scolding he gave me from a surprising side. “Ana mi, we kan ya duro timi die”. Why did I not come to stay a while to console him that his darling daughter was leaving! He said it half-jokingly and half seriously.
Seeing all these children grown up to the state they are today and the deep family values they share tell me two things: The end of a journey is much more than the beginning thereof. And the most important asset for growing the family is not early wealth, but early stability!
I know several other families that started stronger from a financial or social standing. The end is not fully determined by that! Mr Dunmiju Akinyose was blessed with a deeply effective family with family values and results that beat many with better starting positions.
Apart from family stability, this family also had deep religious roots and community roots. And since the burial service emphasized the religious depth, I concentrate on the community roots. These are all related values. None exists independently of the others!
Mr Akinyose did not become a local Government chair the way many politicians do: Just find a way to get a high office and enjoy the perquisites! No. He was a man connected deeply to his roots. He lived his life in the community! He did not live in Abuja or Lagos, and suddenly came to the community to establish an address for political purposes! Sister Adunni herself often surprised me in speaking – not standard Yoruba nor our Akure dialect. She spoke (and still speaks) the language of Odigboland! Even when talking to us, her siblings, her Akure is now suspect. This family trait has deep effects on the children! The language is just the visible part of the cultural depth. If the children have lost this, as I think they may have – following the trend of speaking only in another tongue to their family – they, like many modern families have not passed to their children, they cultural advantage they had! That cultural identity that can make Olu Akinyose spend so much time at home in these times and still feel connected is a deep portion of the cultural roots that propelled all of them to succeed in foreign lands! They know who they are, and they know where they come from!
We morn the loss of our dear brother, Dunmiju Akinyose. And I ask myself, what does the future hold for his widow? Sometimes you wonder if the loneliness and sense of loss that follow a successful marriage are not points to discourage it! Well, the loss is not only a loss and a lonely afterwards. It is also a time full of memories. The tape of life and memories are some of the rewards of the successful life of a relationship like Mr & Mrs Akinyose. When you now add the strength of the well-connected families of Yemi Thompson, Nireti Oke, Duti Olayinka, Olu and Segun, these well-connected families, scattered over the world and helping one another is perhaps the most desirable way for the end to come. How else would you want it?
To you, my sister, I am sending you this private note to let you see some parts of your life from your little brother’s view. Meanwhile, I commend you to the mighty grace of God; more than able to sustain you at this time and for the rest of life. May you live long and healthy to continue as a rock of reference for those that mourn the loss of Mr Akinyose. And may they continue to be worthy ambassadors of that great legacy. Amen!

Professor Babatunde Ayodeji Ogunnaike 1956-2022

It is tempting, as one sees the flood of tributes that naturally follow the news of Tunde’s departure, to feel complacent and assume there may be no need to say anything. Afterall, Tunde Ogunnaike is the closest we get to a polymath. His life influenced people in several seemingly unrelated ways. That brings in friends from a wide variety of human interests that, on the surface, look incompatible: Hockey and Statistics, Drumming and Chemical Engineering, Chess and Bible Study, Calligraphy and Differential Equations, Fine Art and Control Systems, Football coaching and PhD Supervision! If you can navigate the connections between things like these, then you are beginning to know Tunde Ogunnaike.
Other tributes have delved into this, I shall therefore stay in my personal space.
The last time I visited Tunde and Anna in Delaware was in 2017 – shortly after the loss of my own wife. That visit was eventful only in the fact that it was, perhaps, the only time we spent such a considerable time together without concluding it with a game of chess! Anna, knowing how he longed for chess was always so happy I was playing him! The last time he visited me in Lagos was 2020 when he came to Unilag as a visiting scholar. We had Ogbono soup for a meal since he would not take carbohydrates. I knew he was being careful about health. But Tunde sometimes takes decisions that discomfit; for example, eating the white and forgoing the yolk of an egg! I suspected no serious problems.
As we entered Unilag together at the same age in 1973 and he graduating a year earlier than me, we maintained a friendship that climaxed at the time we went through the most consequential decisions in life: Marriage and work. And we talked several hours into the night on each of these! I know the struggles with living at Oshodi and the effects of a harder Nigeria on his young family. The gradual pauperization of Nigerian people that started in the 1980s and its effects. I know he tried all that was humanly possible to give back to Nigeria.
What did Tunde not do? Many know that he authored books. How many know that the first one, written at the Chemical Engineering Department at Unilag was hand-written? That is an example of the extent Tunde would go if he wanted to do something. He never was the one to take “no” for an answer! Of course, he had a good handwriting and was an artist so he could do all the illustrations, he did these because he had no better choice. The book must come out! No excuses! And, came out it did while he was in Nigeria. As he went back to the US, many of the publishers could not accept the work as original until they had no choice, but to do so! This time, it got properly published.
In the past 24 hours, knowing that Tunde leaves us, a little over a month before a birthday, my mind is on overdrive, trying to make sense out of it all. This dynamite package of a human being, quietly influencing things around him, had to go. He was on loan to us for a set time. That time is over! Easy for me to say, mighty hard to bear for those who know and love him best. To Anna and children with young families, only the mighty grace of God can comfort and thoroughly console. Even that has to have the cooperation of Father Time.
The last major thing Tunde and I did together was to connect the work going on at the University of Delaware on Covid response to the University of Lagos and the Nigeria Academy of Engineering. The personal funds that Tunde expended on this project is perhaps only known, on this side, to Professor Tokunbo Denloye and me. Despite his calm demeanor, Tunde was a warrior! And warriors always go with a battle salute! Farewell my brother and friend, Tunde Ogunnaike, you have fought a good fight!


Whither Nigeria?

It is pertinent at this time in our history and national underdevelopment to ponder a few things. Nigeria, to some, a geographical expression; to others, the indivisible nation to which we must pledge allegiance, like it or not, is, once again at crossroads. Crossroads, for many great peoples and nations are often events or periods of great national calamity that cause peoples to reimagine their future. Great peoples such as Indians and Chinese were humiliated by decades, if not centuries, of domination by Western powers, reached their crossroads in the middle of the 20th century. Chairman Mao Zedong asked himself: “In this vast land, who rules the destiny of man?” With a strong determination, he embarked on his “long march”, closed his country to foreigners for another half century, taught self-reliance, educated his people, and organized his country until his grandchildren, capitalizing on the structures he created, are now a giving the same Western powers nightmares while teaching them lessons in human capital and social development. It is an ongoing story.
India, another great nation that had also been humiliated, is not too far behind: A completely different methodology. When Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, created the Indian Institutes of technology around mid-20th century, he may not have imagined that his actions will lead to the near dominant stranglehold later Indian generations will have on the worldwide Tech Industry in our time. India has seven companies among the world’s largest 500 companies according to Forbes Fortune 500. While India is not known for being an Oil rich nation, the combined revenues of India Oil companies, listed on Forbes, is as large as half the revenues of the largest oil companies in the world! For Korea, it is about Ships and Chips! At the end of the Korean war, South Korea was devastated, hungry and desolate. Helpful western Charities kept orphanages for many homeless children. In fact, up to the early 1970s, South Korea’s electricity production capacity was lower than that of Nigeria! Today, they are not only producing 50 times per capita, the Nigerian production, they are manufacturing semiconductors, consumer electronics products, cars, and trucks in addition to their historical world leadership in heavy industries including ship building! The return of the so-called losers of the second world war: Germany, Japan, Italy, etc., whose cities were flattened by bombs, into economic winners in its aftermath is another case in point of what successful nations do when they are at crossroads.
Wrong Questions
Beginning from organizations such as MASSOB, IPOB and movements for the Yoruba Nation, centrifugal forces have been unleashed via the ineptitude and nepotism of the Buhari Government in an atmosphere of conspiracy theories on the intention of the Fulani nation that, despite their minority status, have long dominated Nigeria’s politics. The land needs healing from the armed banditry, kidnappings and killings attributed to the herdsmen of Fulani stock, Boko Haram and ISWAP all over the country. Brave Governor Ortom has been shouting from the Benue and others have simply had enough and are ready to break the nation into smaller pieces. How these will all end requires the insight of a prophet – not the kinds of prophets Nigeria is famous for – Horoscope Prophets, living and dead!
While uncertainty pervades the air, unelected Deputy President Garba Shehu has been doing what he does best: thrown a little more fuel into the raging fire by making pronouncements – insolent, to be charitable, idiotic, to be accurate, on the reason why, for example, it was necessary to attack Igboho’s house, looking for arms while ignoring the armed criminal Fulani bandits, ISWAP and Boko-Haram operatives and sympathizers, etc. that routinely kidnap northern children and take ransom money from hapless travelers nationwide! The “professionalism” of the boastful DSS operators remains AWOL when it is needed to confront the Boko Haram/ISWAP alliance that recently held “elections” in Borno State with its own “governor”, “tax” collectors, “law” enforcers and other paraphernalia of “government”! That is where Nigeria finds itself in 2021! And, of course, the situation makes people to ask questions.
Channels Television had two contrasting guests last week: Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, a Fulani, and former Secretary of INEC and a vociferous “Southern stalwart” in Dr Katch Onanuju. The questions they were asked and the issues that appear to concern many in Nigeria are not about wealth creation, infrastructure, employment or competitiveness, but where the next president should come from in 2023! First of all, listening to Baba-Ahmed, I wonder why, given that such articulate Fulani people exist in this country, why is it that the ones that actually get to be president need to sometimes have their WAEC certificates presented to them after they have been head of state? If we must have a Fulani President, give me Baba-Ahmed and replace all else we have had in this land!
Of course, he did his best to feign ignorance of the attitude of Northerners in demanding the presidency after Jonathan, such is the selective amnesia and subterfuge that pervades national discourse in Nigeria. Asking the tribe of the next president, unfortunately, is the wrong question in an era of secessionist agitations, large scale insecurity, stagflation and poverty, unemployment, degeneration of public and social infrastructure, and general despondency. Baba-Ahmed asked what the demand for a Southern president would achieve. A journalist drew his attention to the fact that the ACF forgot to ask the same question when the Fulani irredentist, Professor Ango Abdulahi, made similar demands for a Northern president in 2015; a question which Baba-Ahmed masterfully dodged!
The truth is that Baba-Ahmed, cleverly advancing the Fulani agenda, asked the correct question! What is a Southern President supposed to do? (Baba-Ahmed did not ask this question about the Northern presidency in 2015.) Are we going to have a Southern equivalent of Buhari? “A president that will further alienate the North?” because to Baba-Ahmed, it is the North, not the South, that is being alienated right now! Is it supposed to be a temporary opiate for the South till another version of Buhari comes again with his own man-Friday or co-president like Garba Shehu? Suppose there is agreement for a Southerner to succeed Buhari, will that trim the wings of the forces of secession already in full flight? What happens if a Yoruba woman becomes the president in 2023? Will that, for example, stop Nnamdi Kanu from calling Nigeria a Zoo, making him and some fellow Biafran zoo-keepers the only humans in this land? By the way, let us not forget to remind him that some zoo-keepers occasionally end up in the belly of hard-to-tame tigers! Suppose we have an Igbo president, will that assuage the following of Sunday Igboho that believes that nothing short of an Oduduwa Republic will be needed to stop the humiliation of Yoruba people whose potentials have been curtailed by the heavy load of belonging to an unworkable contraption called Nigeria? Will such a president be able to mobilize Northerners against the Boko-Haram/ISWAP alternative governments that only slowed down a little when, Buhari, their spokesperson, was made President? Can the agreement for a Southern president create an atmosphere to begin to develop Nigeria? Will it make us to start talking about wealth-creation, developing local capacity to build large infrastructure projects? Move away from NNPC as a bazaar company to energy and technology companies that use modern technology and research to create energy products and whose scope is not limited to the natural resources of Nigeria alone? Work on improving the Judiciary, law enforcement and fairness for everybody before the law? More accountability: Is it true, for example, that the great railway link between Lagos and Ibadan could have been between Lagos and Maiduguri for the same amount? Will it lead to better, more competitive education for our children?
Right Questions
I have little optimism that the present regime will end well. I pray to God that I be proved wrong while trembling at the fact that I may be right! That will be a shame because, in all likelihood, we shall all pay for the errors committed by Buhari and his government one way or another. Indeed, we have started paying: We pay in hard cash at the market where the most basic food item is becoming difficult if not impossible for the average family to buy; we pay in ransom to criminal Fulani herdsmen and local copycats in the bushes around the highways; In the payments by various governments and individuals to retrieve kidnapped schoolchildren; in the disruption of society by social mobilizations for secessionist movements; in midnight visits of “professional” DSS operatives that only win their successes in unarmed civilian neighborhoods where they can kill and suffer no concomitant casualties; in the exportation of privileged youth whose parents despair of a future for their children and therefore package them overseas to start afresh in new lands where they will need another two generations to fully belong; in many other ways.
It is not likely that these will be our last payments. If we are not careful, the success (or even the failure) of the vocal secessionist movements may easily place us in the same position as Southern Sudan. Divide Nigeria to any number of parts you want, the border of the new entities will be drawn by blood. And it will be our blood (or that of our relatives); you and I – we may not be spared! Perhaps that will be noble and even necessary, for what is the need to live a useless life when there is a good death to die? Perhaps, after such bloodletting, another set of leaders, totalita alia, from what we presently have, may emerge that will allow the different peoples here (Igbos, Yoruba, Hausas, and others) to reach their potentials. They may look back and thank us for giving blood, when it was necessary, to furnish them a sense of purpose and a bright future.
The question we need to ask ourselves at this time is, whither Nigeria? Today, there is no corporate entity in the whole of Africa in the Fortune 500 wealthiest companies worldwide! Not even South Africa nor Egypt has an entry! Nigerians like to ask those of us in the universities how we rank compared to the rest of the world. Wrong question! Universities in Nigeria exist in an ambience, a system and an environment! How do the roads in Nigeria rank? How do the transportation system and motor parks in Nigeria rank? How do the sanitation system and garbage collection arrangements rank? The city transportation and danfo vans? Law enforcement, policing and the Police Stations? Health system, health financing, and the hospitals? The judiciary, their independence, fairness and courtrooms? Rental accommodation, mortgage system, or say, a typical two-bedroom flat in major and minor cities? The hygiene of food service if you want a snack on the fly? These are the corresponding questions that help to situate the answers you get. They are related!
Instead of asking where the next president will come from, let us begin by asking: President of what? Will there be a Nigeria (nation, contraption or geographical expression) to preside over? Or, if you like, to “rule” as Information Minister Lai Mohammed informed us? How will such an entity, if it survives and endures, generate the competition among its constituent elements to create better schools, more efficient industry and fairer social justice that will unleash the creative potential of its citizens? Do the people asking for secession want anything different from these? Why are we always hung up on the opiate of the tribal orientation of the leadership as if they will therefore solve our existential problems? Why is General Buhari and his Government so bent on scoring own goals by foreclosing such discussions insisting that the only changes he will accept must come form the National Assembly and that he cannot listen to those who have not won elections? Has General Buhari forgotten that in a scant six years ago, “inability to win elections” that he is so happy to denigrate now, defined him? That he relied on mass action to make his case? That he did not get any help from the national assembly?
If we break it down, in simple terms, we may ask, how will the electricity generation be tripled in the next ten years? How many local governments will be self-sufficient in infrastructure and power generation as a result of distributed power production that will therefore attract the best and brightest to itself and create wealth? How will infrastructure development companies be developed locally to challenge the tertiary institutions to supply more able products? How do we begin to measure the cost and quantity of contracts awarded in Nigeria to similar ones overseas and keep costs down to the level of our labor costs so to gain an advantage and build more things? How can we produce more doctors to the extent that they not only keep us healthy but also create a health tourism system attracting inhabitants of our region here? How do we make it more attractive to develop local environments instead of always reaching for the sharing bazaars in Abuja?
More than all this, what do we need to do today so that inhabitants of this space, 100 years from now, will consider us as worthy forbears that took them into consideration when planning at the crossroads?

How to get Zero in Olympics

If the watching of foreign football matches can be made into an Olympics event, I am sure Nigeria would have got some medals at the last Olympics. Unfortunately for us, medals were given to nations that developed their people rather than those who specialize on the consumption of the products of other, thinking people. There are still more Olympics to come in the future. There are several ways to continue scoring zero in these games. We shall explore some of them here.
1. Business as usual. While other nations spend up to ten years catching their athletes at a very young age and developing them, a nation that wants to score zero will wait till there only a few months left; Go after those of their countrymen and women who have long abandoned their fatherland to sojourn in other lands but were not sufficiently good to meet the team list in those countries; present these rejects as your Olympic team.
2. Ignore the development of primary and secondary school sports facilities. In the 1960s when foreign missionaries ran our schools, a primary school compound had a school field lined with race tracks; a weather station, Nature Study corners in class rooms; stocked school libraries. Today, governors boast of achievements once they have put roofs on four walls for classrooms on bare earth and everyone is expected to clap! There used to be competitive meetings among secondary schools from the AAA meets to Ionian Cup in the West and the Principals Cup in Lagos. To get zero in the next Olympics, refuse to develop these facilities.
3. Ignore proven experts in the respective areas and appoint party apparatchiks, Political cronies, children, wives and other family members of governors and presidents (incumbent or former), etc into serious positions. Pay more attention to the welfare of officials while neglecting that of the actual sportsmen and women who are the ones that can win medals.
4. Depend on good luck to run governments when other people are using scientific methods and availing themselves of all that experience and empirical evidence can give. Praying fervently for miracles after you have left undone what things you ought to have done.
5. Refuse to adjust the educational curricula so that specific sporting activities and development programmes can earn credits in secondary and tertiary institutions.
6. Allow Old stadia such as National Stadium in Lagos to rot while looking for money for new mega projects.
There are more things to do (or to leave undone) to arrive at the same end. It is time again for Nigeria to choose. Rio 2016 is closer at hand that it appears. A stitch in time …

No Going Back

OA Fakinlede

“Yes sometimes government decisions get reactions from the populace, we do not as an administration see this as a disapproval.” Labaran Maku, Minister of Information

If the present government ends its life as the best government Nigeria has ever seen, all the praises would go to President Goodluck Jonathan. And behind every successful president, there are several loyal officers whose untiring efforts assisted in achieving that success. If, on the other hand, this government, as I fear, ends up to be one of the most effete that Nigeria has produced, the first blame will be for the president of Nigeria while lesser blames will be for the officers. It is no use blaming people for not giving the president good advice. In a presidential system, the incumbent has the power to select his advisers from among the 150 million Nigerians. If he selected those who have a flawed sense of history and therefore give wrong advice, he better changed them, else, whatever faults they have, the bucks stop on only one table.

With the background in the above observation, the pronouncement of the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, reported in the media yesterday is quite noteworthy. Before looking at Maku’s statement, let us observe that he is a product of the Nigerian University system. He is expected not only to have the amount of history dictated by his age, but beyond that as a university graduate capable of reading about events that took place long before he was born. There is therefore no hiding place for Mr Maku. The press reported that there is “no going back” on the decision of Government to change the name of the University of Lagos to Moshood Abiola University. What reasons is Maku giving for this obduracy? Is there no going back because Abiola is deserving of honour? Is it because the president has the power to name and (un)name? Is it because due process has been followed? Is it because people are happy with the decision? Is it because there are no viable options to achieve the same objective in a non-controversial way?

Of these pertinent questions, Mr Maku addressed only the first. He even went on to picture Chief Abiola “turning in his grave” with approval. This statement may not have been intended by Maku as the signal point in his argument, however, on a closer look, it seems consistent with the whole mindset and understanding of this government. We shall now examine this in a little more detail.

To the Minister of Information of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the spontaneous demonstration and protest of the students of the University of Lagos is NOT viewed by the Jonathan Government as a sign of disapproval! Ladies and gentlemen, did you hear that! And, coming from Labaran Maku, you should please believe it! Remember that Labaran Maku is from Plateau State. He attended university in Jos. Over there, when you disagree about something – especially in recent times, you do not just protest. You set markets on fire, you throw bombs at people, you massacre villagers by setting their huts on fire. Is that what Mr Maku will want to see before understanding that the people are voicing out their disapproval? Now that the authorities of the university have decided to close it down in order to avoid a breakdown of law and order, how can Mr Maku be convinced that people are not happy with the illegal renmaming of their university? Or is it the Boko Haram paradigm that is defining for the Minister what true dissent is and how to express dissent? Is it not allowable in this present government’s eyes that dissent can be expressed in a peaceful and orderly manner? If those who make peaceful change impossible can be blamed for the inevitability of violent change, what can be said about those who find it difficult to understand peaceful dissent?

The most damaging conclusion we can draw from Maku’s announcement is that this Government is happier with the approval of dead people. Late Chief Abiola, according to Maku is approving from the grave; the protest of living university of Lagos students, which everbody can see does not constitute disapproval! Such convoluted logic in leadership may well explain why Nigeria is not getting it right! Are there more people like Maku in this administration? That will be a great pity! It is time for us to look for governments that will take the protest of living people seriously. Governments that will not wait for people to first die before hearing what they are saying!

Mr Maku is sure of Abiola’s worth to be honored. On that, we agree fully. We even think it’s a honour that should have been more thoughtfully considered earlier. There is no need to belabor that issue. This appears the only point in favour of the government and it even appears that the decision was taken with good intentions. Yet, as the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The fact therefore you have good intentions does not secure your destination. It will therefore be necessary, for the sake of Nigeria, its future and the life of its teeming young adults that Officers of government be such people who allow their minds to engage reality. It is pertinent therefore to note that neither the president of Nigeria nor its council can legally change the name of any university that was given by an act of parliament. The due process has not been followed and hence this present act is not only reversible but is a nullity as it stands.

The violation of the process is beyond the arbitrary naming ceremony of May 29. The president went further that there will be a Center for Democratic Studies at the University of Lagos in Honour of Abiola. Commendable! But still a nonstarter so long as it has not been examined and approved by the Senate of the University of Lagos. I am sure this is a large pill to swallow for people who have been brought up in the party with a culture of “capturing power”. The essence of a democratic setting is that of separation of powers. The president of Nigeria has tremendous powers to have things done in the way he wants at any Federal University. Dictating by military fiat is NOT one way of getting this done! The Government has the power to dissolve the governing council and appoint a new one. The most powerful positions in this body are selected by Government in a way that nobody can legally challenge. That is tremendous power but can only be exercised with patience. President Goodluck has Patience! He should exercise patience and use his power appropriately. A council can approach senate and convince it of the need for a new Centre that will be well funded by the Federal Government. With patience, it should have little problems. Setting it up “with immediate effect” on a radio announcement will not fly. This is beyond President Jonathan’s powers!

The present controversy over university renaming may still end well. Government officials such as Labaran Maku will need to get some more education on democratic processes or be shown the way out. The government will find that it is much more pleasant to eat the humble pie and follow due process than face the snowballing of opposition he will inadvertently create by the obduracy announced by Labaran Maku.