Thursday, 3 January 2019

Renaming FUTA After Shagari Global Embarrassment, Alumni Tell Afe Babalola

Alumni Association of Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA) has rejected Afe Babalola (SAN)’s call to immortalise the late former President Shehu Shagari by renaming the institution after him.In his tribute to the late former President, Babalola had urged the Federal Government to rename the institution after Shagari, but in a swift reaction, the Alumni resisted the call.

President of the FUTA Alumni Association Worldwide, Adesomoju Olaitan, who led other members of the association to a media briefing in Akure, rejected the idea of changing the institution’s name.

Also speaking on behalf of the branches in Europe, America and other parts of the world, he said FUTA was not the only institution established by the late Shagari when he was President between 1979 and 1983.

“FUTA is an established brand that is globally respected for technical innovations. FUTA has developed several domestic and international collaborations with other leading institutions.

“These advances and relationship would be marred in an identity crisis by changing its established brand name on the whims and caprices of an individual,” he stated.The group argued that previous name changes made to institutions for the purpose of immortalising great Nigerians have done a lot of harm, insisting that foreign institutions like Harvard and Oxford universities retain their names and were still globally respected.

An alumnus, Professor Yemisi Adefarusi, said: “FUTA is an identity, a legacy and it’s not just an alumni issue, but what affects the entire students of the institution. It is an embarrassment to us, a national and global embarrassment.” Adefarusi, who is one of the second set of graduates produced by the institution, noted that the change of name would do more harm than good to the university.

She explained that a good number of the over 100,000 FUTA graduates since inception were currently working with international organisations like UNESCO, WHO, UNO, UNICEF and others and would adversely affect their certificates and resumes.

However, the association advised the Federal Government to embark on other meaningful projects in the tertiary institution rather than rename it after the late President Shagari. “It should consider building a world class infrastructure like science laboratories, lecture theatres or any other infrastructure that will last for a long time in our alma mater, and name such after Shagari. “This will help resolve some of the challenges we have on our campus rather than compounding them with a change of name. Consequently, we plead with the Federal Government to allow the FUTA brand to remain for posterity and peace,” she added.

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