Opinion: Remembering the fallen, 17 years after

by Samuel Olufeso

Exactly 17 years ago, gyration turned bloody as innocent students scampered for safety. As hatchet-wielding guys and gun-flaunting elements invaded the scene of the gyration, the aftermath resulted to six deaths and many left injured. It was a tragic event!

However, the marauding beasts who orchestrated this facinorous operation against humanity are still living among us. This typifies the pitiable state of our society. What a shame!

Whenever I remember the event of this day, I ask myself, where did we get it wrong? Or what explanation can rationalize bloodletting in a citadel of learning where society-reformers are nurtured and polished with salient skills needed for societal advancement? The puzzle remains unsolved as there is a sheer disconnect.

It is often said, when the rationale of something is unknown, abuse becomes inevitable. That is why the activities of varying cult groups, since the 1980s, has turned universities into theatres of war and bizarre killings.

However, what’s the motive of college fraternities? For instance, in the early 1960s, when the Eiye Group started, it emanated from a Yoruba adage ‘eiye o ni sasun onbuta’, fairly interpreted as ‘a bird has no pot; however, it feeds well’.

As at then, the committee of birds enjoyed singing, eating and drinking. That was how it started. It was not an association of blood-suckers; however, it was a league of merry-makers.

Jide Oshuntokun, Bayo Adenubi, Bode Fadase, Dele Nwapkele, Goke Adeniji, and Tunde Aluko remained the pioneer merry-makers as they are notable achievers in their varying fields of endeavours as of today.

What of the Pyrate Confraternity? Formed to combat social ills by the Magnificent 7: Professor Wole Soyinka, Ralph Opara, Pius Oleghe, Ikpehare Aig-Imoukhuede, Nathaniel Oyelola, Emeritus Professor Olumuyiwa Awe, and Sylvanus U. Egbuche. It was a league of brains, made up of intellectuals. Not urchins and miscreants as we have today in tertiary institutions across Nigeria.

With the proliferation of cult groups in the 1980s, there was a twist. College fraternities began to house blood-suckers; disruptors of academic calendar; political thugs; elements of intimidation and oppression; forceful divorcers of thighs of innocent ladies; murders of brains in the academia; dexterous pillagers; highway bandits; and deviants who stood in dissonance with societal norms. How did we get here? Or where did we get it wrong?

On the said date, a group of cult members stormed Awo Hall, Great IFE, with guns and axes murdered students and evaporated in thin air afterwards.

Iwilade Yemi George (popularly called Afrika), was shot on the head as his head was also smashed with axe;  Eviano Ekelemu (shot in Adekunle Fajuyi Hall) bled to death from gunshot wounds; Yemi Ajiteru was shot; Tunde Oke was shot in the abdomen; Efe Ekede was shot; Charles Ita was shot; and many were left injured. It remained an agonizing moment.

Till this moment, I am yet to fathom why students will orchestrate such dastardly act against fellow students.

Of all the murdered students, there was something remarkably striking about Iwilade George. The exceptionally brilliant lad was a crusader of African culture and ideals. As a Law student, he was against the conventional white and black outfits.

He always adorned his native outfits to lectures as he could be easily spotted among his colleagues. On many occasions, he was reported to have questioned his lecturers on the existing order – white on black outfits. Afrika had liver!

Today marks the 17years after these brains were thwarted in their prime under the nose of Professor Wale Omole. Has Great IFE fared well? Its students’ union has been proscribed? Their tuition fee has been increased to a jaw-dropping point by another Professor Omole.

The university that was once a Mecca for admission seekers because of its affordable fees is no longer the choice of prospective students whose parents are occupants of the armpits of society.

17 years has past, the marauding beasts that murdered these souls are still with us; walking freely on the streets as the culprits were not brought to book.

Cult groups are still having field day in tertiary institutions across Nigeria as they kill innocent students, rape innocent damsels, engage in larceny coupled with other ant-social behaviour.

It is high time the sledgehammer of justice swings into action to bring orchestrators of evil and wicked acts on campuses to book.

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Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

Samuel Olufeso is a postgraduate student of Political Science in a Nigerian University. He can be reached via [email protected]

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