Whilst I might find the possible abbreviations of the new name quite amusing, I have nothing against a name change in itself.
Many institutions and buildings have their names changed all over the world and all through history; one of the things I find tragically comic about this type of spontaneous (dare I say macabre) re-christening is the potential cost of implementing this across a whole lot of the university’s dealings. A simple instance, did Dr(?) GEJ think about the cost of stationery change alone? Overnight, the official letterheads of the University of Lagos were rendered effectively useless for all intents and purposes. Domain name issues could also pop up, the question is still the same – have the cost implications of this “re-birth” been assessed?
Comparisons have been made with the change of name from The University of Ife to the much longer Obafemi Awolowo University, I do not know if this is apt. The University of Ife was pretty much the brain-child of the late Chief Awolowo, with close and continuous involvement / interaction with the university for most of his life. The name change was effected within 3 days of his death in 1987 – albeit arbitrarily like the MAUL name-change. As a matter of fact, a riot ensued when the authorities of the University of Ife then tried to change the name of Awo Hall (based on the premise that the university had been renamed after Chief Awolowo). Ahmadu Bello University was so named from day 0, for the later Sardauna was that much revered and influential in the northern part of Nigeria in his lifetime. Without denying the validty of claims that the Abiola name be immortalised in some tangible, national form, questions could indeed be asked about the relationship he had with the university above others in the country. And how does the university name change reflect his fatal involvement in the democratic process of 1993? If NIPSS had been renamed the MKO Abiola Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, there could indeed be a stronger argument to be made for such a change.
I sympathise with the students of the MAUL, whose vain sensibilities have been hurt, but then they should get a grip on life. In four years, it would hardly matter if you graduated from UNILAG or MoshoodiLag, the vicissitudes of life would have bludgeoned such ego-fuelled follies to submission – that is until PDP’s President David Mark decides to change the name of the university again to Moshood And Kudirat University [MAKU] (of Education). I fear for third mainland bridge when that happens!