How Ade Ajayi Stopped Jonathan from Naming UNILAG after Abiola – Fayemi

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Eminent personalities across the country converged on Ado-Ekiti,  the Ekiti State capital to eulogise the virtues of the Emeritus professor and former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, late Prof. Jacob Ade Ajayi.

The Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who spoke at the commendation service held at the Bishop Abiodun Adetiloye Trade Fair Complex, Ado-Ekiti organised in honour of the Ade Ajayi who died at 85, further recollected how the Ekiti State-born late Professor of History used his influence to prevail on President Goodluck Jonathan not to name University of Lagos after the late business mogul, Chief Moshood Abiola.

Besides he disclosed that in response to the yearnings of the people of the state, the government has taken appropriate steps to immortalise ‘our heroes within our Heroes Park – a specially designated area that would house the tombs or epitaphs of qualifying exceptional Ekiti sons and daughters with the consent of their families.

“Already, a prime parcel of land in the Fajuyi area of the state capital has been dedicated for this purpose. Also, a bill for a law to provide for the creation, management and control of Heroes Parks in Ekiti State and related matters, is being finalised to be sent to the Ekiti State House of Assembly for necessary action.

In the draft of the bill, some of the qualifying criteria for those to be honoured include an exceptional and long standing commitment to the development of Ekiti State as well as bringing honour to Ekiti State on account of exceptional contributions to any field of human endeavour.

He noted that the architectural design of the park would also include demarcations for burial sections and recreational facilities. The burial sections would also be further delineated into categories of different walks of life, such as military and paramilitary, medical sciences, law and human rights, governance and politics as well as religion, among others.

“The draft bill provides for our heroes to be typically honoured in the park in either of three ways – the allocation of a burial space; the allocation of space for the erection of an epitaph; or the emplacement of the name of the hero on the Walls of Honour categorised according to different walks of life”, he said. [eap_ad_1] On the renaming of UNILAG, Fayemi said, Prof. Ajayi’s passion for history and preservation of monuments made him to write a personal letter to the President in his capacity as a former Vice-Chancellor of the institution.

He told a gathering that the Professor alternatively asked President Jonathan to look for a better way of immortalising late MKO Abiola rather than tampering with the name, “University of Lagos.”

In the letter, Fayemi quoted late Ajayi as telling the President that “Nigeria is passing through a turbulent period. At times like this a sense of history, institutional memory and continuity are important to help restore stability.”

Fayemi quoted the letter further saying,”University of Lagos is an important part of our institutional history and I urge you to restore its founding name and consider a more meaningful and befitting way in which to pay tribute to Chief MKO Abiola.”

According to the governor, “Such was (Ade Ajayi’)  keen sense of history and responsibility, it is no surprise that with such weighty intervention, Mr President had to rescind his decision.”

Fayemi who described the late Ade Ajayi as a big believer in Nigeria’s possibilities, said though, he was never a student in Prof. Ajayi’s classroom when he was a student at UniLag, “most of those that taught me were taught by him.”

Also in a tribute, Unilag Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Adisa Bello, described late Ajayi as an architect of modern Unilag, saying most of the present day structures at the institution were built by him when he became the third VC between 1972-1978. (Thisday)

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