JULY 10 1999: OAU Remembers Her Fallen Heroes.
Olatunji .S. Tolulope
The students of Obafemi Awolowo University commemorated the July 10, 1999 massacre, which led to the death of the Former Union secretary and 4 others.
The entire students, on Tuesday, were brought to memory lane about the fateful event that happened at the level of Awolowo Hall of Residence at the wee hours of July 10, 1999, exactly 19 years from now, where some great icons in the persons of , George Iwilade, secretary general of the Student’s Union 99, Babatunde Oke, Eviano Ekelemu, Godfrey Epkepe, Yemi Ajiteru were all murdered in cold blood by some cultists allegedly sponsored by the then Vice Chancellor, Professor Wale Omole.
Former leaders of the Student’s Union, then Speakers of the Student’s Union SRC and some eye witnesses of the fateful event like the then president of the union at the period when the event happened, Com. Adeleke Olarenwaju (Legacy), Mr Wale Ogunruku, Mr Adekunle Ajayi(Wise man), Com. Akinwunmi (REVO), Com. Oluwole Olabanji(Engels), Com Juwon Sanyaolu, Com. Andrew Ogumah (Karl Marx) and among others, graced the event and commemoration of the OAU5 as they were called.
The event which was tagged “July 10 1999: the untold story” took place at the Awolowo Hall café.
At the course of the event, Com. Adekunle Ajayi opened the floor with his speech, he started on cultist violence and independent Union.
“The operation and the smooth running of the university system is based on the system of Nigerian government. The issue of cultism is related to the conscious attack of the Student’s union on various tertiary institution nationwide. The great power to stop insecurity on campus is the power of the mass of students. For you to have peaceful and serene environment entails massive and collective organization” he said
“Nigerian security is made up of thugs, rogues, and indiscipline persons, it is also applies on the security department of the school community, who are also the proponents of insecurity” he added
“Education is never complete without gatherings of collective organization, fight for the reinstatement of your Union, you should not allow shady and cunny political actors to come to your campus” he declared
Then, a living eyewitness and also the former PRO of the Student’s union and also a president of the union in the person of Com. Adeleke Olarenwaju, said the story of how the OAU5 were slain and what preceded the fateful event. He started by saying OAU is different from Harvard when we are to compare them from the level of the union.
“We are different from Harvard because she was built on capitalism tradition at the expense of the poorer nation” he said
“On a day like this we must remember the fallen heroes who died for a cause in order to ensure that the campus experience peace and life devoid of cultist.
We used three and half years to fight the case of the event that happened in July, 10 1999. The case was transferred from Ife to Osogbo. Most times I and my colleagues will have to travel down to Lagos for the case” he said
He summoned all student in the café to stand for a minute silence for the fallen heroes who sacrificed their lives to ensure that Great IFE students live a life devoid of cultism. Then he narrated how he assumed the office of the president of the Student Union.
“Barely 9 days of assuming office, had the school management increased the tuition fees of the stalites from #590 to #10,000 and of the freshmen from #1000 to #20000. This issue went viral to the extent that the case was moved from Ife to Lagos, I and Afrika were arrested for a month.” He said
The vice chancellor wrote a letter personally to him, but he rejected it because he was not properly addressed as the union president. The school management had to write another letter to him addressing as the union president.
“We started the meeting of negotiation by 8pm and we ended by 7am, he gave the excuse that the school is stranded financially” he added
He spoke about the proscription of the union, he said that the union is the students of the school, so it must be reinstated
“Your union is yours, 90% percent of it is yours, and the school authorities have no right to interfere. You cannot be self-protected, if you are not all protected” he admonished
He then narrated the story that happened on July 10, 1999. He started by saying Prof Wale Omole operated an autocratic rule on his agbada
“Prof. Wale Omole was involved in the killing of the OAU5, let him come and challenge me on that. One of the cultists named as Efosa, said that the then VC said to be their patron. One of the cultist known as Kazeem Bello(UNILAG) said that the VC sponsored 48 cultists that involved in the massacre of the OAU5, with #330,000 disbursed by the VC PRO, Femi Idowu on July 8,1999.” He said
In this case, the school management shutdown the school and ask the students to vacate the school within 24 hrs. He declared this cultism case as the fastest case led by Justice Ogunleye, at he interviewed the judge the reason why the case just died down, the judge replied him that the then VC, Wale Omole was behind the case.
“We were all tired before the event happened including Afrika who was about to initiated into the kegites club. That day was the first time in history I slept in my office alone. This event happened around 3:30 am to 4 am. A lady from Moremi came to wake me, at which I was a little bit conscious about what was happening at the time, and as she entered her hostel, she heard 4 gunshots and those gunshots awakened my consciousness again from the sleep” he said
“I regretted not helping Tunde who was brutally wounded, his intestines were brought out, and Afrika whose head was shattered on the bed. The cultists killed Ajiteru on the corridor, later they went to Fajuyi Hall to kill two more of our students. I later summoned an impromptu congress by 6am, where student came out en masse to agitate on the behalf of the fallen heroes” he added
He admonished the student to call for the reinstatement of their Union, he challenge the students to sue the school authorities in demanding that the Student Union should be reinstated. He told the students that, it is when the union is reinstated that all thing will come to normal and student can live the life devoid of victimization, oppressions, and cultism.