Rebranding UNILAG To Moshood Abiola University To Cost N1Bn – Wise Or Foolish?

Since President Goodluck announced that the University of Lagos (UNILAG) be renamed after Late M.K.O Abiola at a live Democracy day broadcast, the students of UNILAG have expressed their unhappiness with this move with protests.


Since the announcements were made yesterday, students of the university have been protesting against the move by Goodluck. The protests continued this morning and disrupted traffic on the 3rd Mainland bridge, Lagos.



The students marched from their main campus at Akoka, Yaba through Herbert Macaulay Street to the Adekunle link on the bridge, demanding the reversion to the original name of the university.

The students are also occupying areas in Alagomeji, Yaba, Sabo and the University’s main gate. Few lecturers and Alumni of the school joined the students in the protest.

The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Umar Manko, who led a team of police officers to the scene of the protest, asked the students to return to their campuses and stay calm until the government finds a solution to the problem.

President Goodluck Jonathan in his 50-minute Democracy Day address to Nigerians on Tuesday had changed the name of the institution to Moshood Abiola University, Lagos.

Taking a constructive look at the situation, brand experts have assessed the change of University of Lagos to Moshood Abiola University and said that re-branding exercise of the new name will cost about N1 billion.

Following the expected huge cost of re-branding the university, marketing operators have advised the authorities of the school to go about the rebranding in phases.

The CEO of Media Craft agency, John Ehiguese, said though the re-branding of the 50-year old university will involve a lot of money but the school should approach it in phases.

He said that the discussion against the name change is informed by emotion and believed that over time, people will get used to it. Ehiguese, who argued that name is most important to brand, said that Moshood Abiola is a strong brand.

For Chido Nwakanma, the CEO of Blue flower Limited, a public relations outfit, who said that it was a right move to immortalise Abiola but the Federal Government should have chosen a sports institution, a sector where MKO played significantly and put the cost of re-building the name to about N2 billion.

He argued that there is already a higher institution named after Abiola, insisting that naming UNILAG after him is therefore not original and will perhaps contend with the other institution bearing MKO’s name.

According to him, UNILAG has built brand equity over 50 years. “The name change will mean that the institution will start re-building equity”.
On his part, the managing director of Absolute PR, Akonte Ekine, puts the cost at several millions of naira.

Ekine said globally name change is effected to honour individuals who have made great contributions to the society. “People must learn to face the truth. Over time, we will discover what the president has done”, Ekine said.

He believed that some people are against the name change because they have strong association to the old name.

Assessing the development, the CEO of SY &T, Simon Tumba, believed that Jonathan’s government effected the name change on political reasons.

“Over time, the South West has chided the government for not immortalising Abiola, the move therefore is to appease the people”, he said.

Daniel Obi Via

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