By Timothy Agbor, Osogbo
Students of tertiary institutions in Osun state under the aegis of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) have condemned the renaming of all the higher institutions in the state by the state governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola.
But as the students expressed disappointment at the sudden renaming of their schools, a group, Osun Positive Force (OPF) has commended the state government for naming the state tertiary institutions after prominent indigenes of the state.
Governor Aregbesola had announced the renaming of Osun State University to Bola Ige University among other institutions in the state during the combined convocation ceremony of the university in Osogbo on Wednesday.
But the students have called for the reversal of the action describing the renaming as undemocratic stressing that the governor had departed from all norms of progress and societal tranquillity.
In a release signed by NANS chairman in the state, Adekitan Lukman, the Public Relations Officer, Olakunle Hafeez and the Secretary General, Abidoye Victor, the students threatened to shut down the entire state in protest should the state government failed to reverse the renaming.
It reads: “We received the news of the renaming of Osun State owned tertiary institutions with rude shock. The decision to rename the schools without an iota of consultation is totally undemocratic and a departure from all norms of progress and societal tranquillity. The students, staff, management and host communities are relevant stakeholders that ought to have been carried along.
“It is even more appalling that Gov. Aregbesola did not deem it fit to get the approval of the state House of Assembly before the unwarranted name changing. We begin to wonder if this is a democracy. We wish to warn that this singular undemocratic decision is capable of sabotaging the peace of the state if not properly managed.
“We totally reject the renaming and call for its immediate reversal; We call on the state House of Assembly to rise up in defence of democracy by rejecting this abnormality; We shall begin mobilisation in preparation for total showdown with the government if the proper thing is not done and in time”.
Meanwhile, OPF’s commendation which was contained in a statement signed by the Director of Media of the group, Yinka Diamond, said the indigenes merited the naming owing to their outstanding contributions to the state and Nigeria democracy.
The statement read: “We are celebrating 17 years of uninterrupted civilian rule in Nigeria. Many people have paid the supreme price to ensure we gain and sustained democracy and among whom were Late Chief Bola Ige, Chief Bisi Akande, and Late Chief Sunday Afolabi.
“The honour which was not limited to political sphere has Hon Hezekiah Oluwasanmi, a renowned commerce guru and Professor Wale Omole, a successful industrialist among others.
“The honour will also encourage those fighting for the good of Osun and Nigeria now to serve with their heart and might, with a view to having a nation bound in freedom, peace and unity,’’.
“The honour was long overdue, particularly for late Chief Bola Ige whose contemporaries in other states have an academics edifice named after them – Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State; Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State; Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State; among others.
“This honour shows that the labour of our heroes past had never be in vain.
The group, however, urged the government to also honour other prominent sons and daughters of Osun, whether dead or living, who had contributed immensely to the development of the state and Nigeria at large”.