by Chi Ibe
A statement to the press issued today by lawyer and activist, Bamidele Aturu, insists the former president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Professor Festus Iyayi was “murdered”.
See full text of statement below:
Comrade Festus Iyayi was gruesomely murdered-he did not die-by a yet to be identified assassin in the employ of the Government of Kogi State. This is the only reasonable conclusion to be drawn from the facts that are now available in the public domain. The story is that while traveling along Lokoja-Abuja road in the company of his ASUU comrades on their way to Kano to discuss the way forward in respect of the ongoing strike, an escort car in the convoy of the Governor of Kogi State, Mr Idris Wada, rammed into the ASUU bus killing our beloved comrade and wounding, hopefully not fatally, some other lecturers.
It is difficult to accept the wasting of one of Africa’s most cerebral and committed scholars by a reckless driver who probably assumed that because he was ‘privileged’ to be in a Governor’s convoy he was above traffic regulations and other users of the road, including even his intellectual superiors. The murder of Comrade Iyayi is no doubt a product of the empty pomposity that pervades the corridors of power in Nigeria, from the Governors to their cooks. This pomposity is seen in a culture of impunity and recklessness that gives them the sense that they own our lives, and all that belongs to this country. This is the only way one can understand why they expect all other road users to disappear from the road whenever they ply the roads.
The madness of reckless killings on our roads by those who occupy government houses must stop. The only way to end it is to insist, as some of our comrades are suggesting, that the murderer in Kogi Government house or its boy’s quarters must be produced and prosecuted for manslaughter. It is a shame that it appears that the Governor of that State lacks the capacity to prevent his drivers from reckless and senseless driving, otherwise his convoy should not have been involved in another accident so soon after the tragic accident that claimed the life of his ADC just in December 2012. It may well be that his drivers expect that the only way they can please a former pilot, that he is, is to literally fly on the road. Whatever the case may be, the Governor is vicariously liable for the murder of one of the heroes of the Nigerian struggle against impunity. He too will be made to pay one-way or the other. Some of us will be willing to pursue this matter to a logical conclusion.
Our continent, nay the world, has lost one of the most passionate believers in social justice and equity. He was one of the most honest and dependable ally. We have lost a dogged advocate of decency and consummate teacher. It is indeed an irony that a man who spent his entire life campaigning against impunity should be murdered so recklessly.
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