The students, currently without a subsisting union government, spontaneously inspired each other in the early hours of Thursday to continue with the protest, which was triggered the Tuesday by a presidential national address to mark Nigeria’s Democracy Day anniversary, in which the presiden announced the name change.
The students, in splinter groups, are staging pockets of protests against the name change in areas around the Akoka campus of the university. The Third Mainland Bridge, a major bridge linking the mainland to the Lagos Island has been occupied by the students, causing a major traffic glitch.
The students are also occupying areas in Alagomeji, Yaba, Sabo and the university’s main gate. Few lecturers and Alumni of the school are joining the students in the protest.
The students, most younger than the elections that earned Mr Abiola the honour, are pleading that their school be left out of national politics which they believe might ruin the school’s half century reputation.
The school authorities, although claiming ignorance of plans to rename the university after the politician, have summoned an emergency meeting with student representatives made up of faculty and departmental executives, hostel chairs and few select influential students, to curtail the rising resistance to the name change.
Renaming the half century old school was intended to be a gesture immortalizing Mr Abiola who died in detention 14 years ago after five years of struggles to claim his presidential mandate.
Although Mr Abiola’s family are estactic about the president’s gesture, both students and alumni of the school strongly kick against it. While the students and their lecturers stage street protests against it, the alumni have called an emergency meeting where it will take a decision on how to stop the president through a court process.
Day one of the protest started spontaneously too, shortly after President Goodluck Jonathan ended his hour long national address with the announcement proposing the name change. The first day was peaceful.