Following the call to rename the Federal University of Technology Akure, after the late former President Shehu Shagari, the alumni of the institution have kicked against the call, saying it might mar the brand of the institution.
It was gathered that after the death of Shagari, there have been calls from some quarters, that the former President be immortalised by naming one of the federal universities, established during his administration between 1979 to 1983, after him.
Speaking with journalists on Wednesday, the President of the FUTA Alumni Association, Olaitan Adesomoju, appealed to the Federal Government to disregard the suggestion that Shagari be immortalised by renaming FUTA after him.
According to the alumni president, a name change for FUTA would do more harm than good to the institution, which he said, had over the years created an international brand for itself with the name FUTA.
Adesomoju said, the focus for the institution should be how its infrastructural and academic advancement would be uplifted by the Federal Government, stressing that aside FUTA, one of the other institutions established in various parts of the country by Shagari could be renamed after him.
He said, “Our attention has been drawn to a statement credited to Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), in his tribute to the late Alhaji Shehu Shagari with the title ‘’Name Federal University of Technology, Akure after Shagari ‘ published in several National daily newspapers.
“We, the entire members of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) Alumni Association worldwide, view this as a personal opinion or a mere suggestion from Aare Afe Babalola (SAN), whom most of us refer to as a father.
“After extensive consultation and discussions with alumni members globally, we wish to state clearly that the overwhelming majority vehemently oppose any name change to our great alma mater.
“It is of note that the Federal University of Technology, Akure was not the only University established by an act of parliament during Alhaji Shehu Shagari’s regime, at least six other Federal University of Technology were established. Furthermore, FUTA is an established professional brand that is globally respected for technological innovations.
“FUTA has also 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 whim of an individual.
“Evidence abounds that previous name changes for purposes of immortalization have done a lot of damage to institutions of higher learning than good and there is nowhere in the world that institutions of higher learning over five years old are abruptly renamed after the demise of a leader. For example, Harvard and Oxford have kept the same name since their creation and establishment; these brands are globally respected and identifiable.”‘
Adesomoju, however, advised the Federal Government that rather than renaming the institution after Shagari, it should consider building a world-class infrastructure like science laboratories, lecture theatre, or any other infrastructure that will last for a long time in FUTA and name it after the late former president.
“This will help resolve some of the challenges we have on our campus rather than compounding them with a name change. We hereby plead with the Federal Government to allow the brand ‘FUTA’ to remain in the name of posterity and peace.” the alumni president urged.