The invitation of a chieftain of the National Union of Road Transport Workers in Lagos, Musiliu Akinsanya, aka MC Oluomo, to an event at the University of Lagos, Akoka, has generated criticism on the social media.
Many Nigerians on Twitter criticised the decision to invite MC Oluomo to the event, saying it would pass the wrong message to students of the institution.
Although the university management asked for time to respond to enquiries from our correspondent, checks by PUNCH Metro revealed that the event, which was organised by the National Association of Geography Students, UNILAG chapter, held on Tuesday.
A snapshot of the event’s banner was posted on Twitter by a user.
The user wondered why the detained leader of the #RevolutionNow movement, Omoyele Sowore, was banned from visiting UNILAG and addressing students before his detention, while MC Oluomo was welcome.
The Muslim Students Society of Nigeria, UNILAG branch, had invited Sowore as a guest speaker for an academic counselling seminar at the J. F. Ade Ajayi Auditorium.
He was, however, abruptly barred from speaking as the group, in what it termed a “regrettable correspondence,” said the university management had instructed it not to bring him to the campus.
“This country is mad. How can UNILAG allow MC Oluomo as a guest speaker on campus, but won’t allow Sowore address students…it’s so sad (that) our society gives honour to whom it is not due…imagine a national thug to give speech at UNILAG…the same school Sowore is not welcome…what picture is UNILAG painting?” the user wrote on Twitter.
However, one Olamilekan, pointed out that the transport union leader was only invited as a special guest, and not a guest speaker.
As of noon, the subject had generated controversy and was the most trending topic on Twitter in Nigeria, as many users called out the institution’s management.
One David Hundeyin wrote, “So MC Oluomo is a ‘special guest’ at a university event.
“As @EuginhoCortez likes to say, we will surely reap the outcomes we are currently sowing.
“What this clearly tells kids is that thuggery and anti-intellectualism are to be rewarded with high status in Nigeria. Well done.”
Emmanuel Olabayo believed money was behind the invitation.
He said, “MC Oluomo will give UNILAG N5m. Those that invited him together with the ogas will share N3m. They will give the remaining N2m to the institution.
“Ten students will vow to be like MC Oluomo after graduation. At least seven will eventually be. The evil of today will produce evils tomorrow.”
Anorher user, @Elcrufixio wrote, “Saw MC Oluomo trending, checked and I’ve been laughing my ass off since.
“See ehn, maybe I have lost every fight in me, but I have come to terms with the fact that everything is possible in Nigeria now.”
However, some other users said the union leader was knowledgeable in transport and his experience could add to the discussion at the forum.
One Ayoola wrote, “Y’all don’t even know the reason why MC Oluomo is invited to UNILAG to speak, the programme is on transportation and he can give an insight about Lagos State transportation systems. But your ignorant self and the clout you’re chasing won’t let you make findings.”
He noted that MC Oluomo might have been invited to raise funds, pull crowd and air his views as a representative of the transport sector.
Supporting this point was another user, Chinedu, who said there were many successful business people, who did not go to school.
“MC Oluomo knows things about transportation in Lagos that no school can teach,” he added.
However, a user, Oluwafifunmi, said there could be no justification for the invitation of MC Oluomo based on his alleged pedigree.
She said, “(The) University of Lagos inviting a thug, MC Oluomo, as a guest speaker and people are saying it’s because he is knowledgeable. On what?
“No wonder we call on past leaders, who have looted and destroyed this country before, to still lead us now because a person’s image isn’t relevant in Nigeria.”
Checks by our correspondent revealed that aside from MC Oluomo, several other top officials of the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation were invited to the event.
One of the ministry officials, who spoke to PUNCH Metro, said he did not attend the event or send a representative.
MC Oluomo, who spoke through his personal assistant, Jimoh Buhari, said he could not attend the event because he was in Abuja for an emergency meeting.
Buhari stated, “I don’t know the reason why people are going against the invitation, because the people who invited him knew what they wanted him to say. If he had gone there and said something wrong, then the critical reactions would have been justified.
“Is it a crime not to be educated? Should people who did not go to school commit suicide? I think that if someone did not go to school and he has a large following, it is enough reason for people to invite him to occasions. Those who invited him to the event had a strong reason for doing so.
“People are judging MC Oluomo based on hearsay. You don’t judge a book by its cover. We are also making efforts to change the negative impression people have about him.”