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What Truly Killed Festus Iyayi

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The name Festus Iyayi symbolizes struggle for academic freedom, democratization of our educational system, national development and socialism.

He was the President of Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) in the 1980s and in 1987, under his leadership, the Babangida administration banned ASUU, terminated the employment of Prof. Iyayi from University of Benin and subsequently arrested, detained and tortured him.

tearsforiyayi

It is to the credit of Prof. Iyayi and ASUU leadership that ASUU survived those repressive measures and is operating based on its founding principles. Most organizations, even when they survive, hardly are able to make any claims to values.

No doubt, the 1980s was a defining period for popular organizations in Nigeria. It was a period that the Federal Government, under the military, virtually declared a war against freedom to organize and, to that extent, declared leaders of organizations as subversives.

In the circumstance, organizations like ASUU, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) faced direct attacks especially under military rule between1984 and 1999. During this period, these organizations were banned severallyand the leadership persecuted, victimized, arrested and detained without trials for months.

Laws were promulgated by government to justify these and in some cases, these laws besides coming with ouster clauses that disqualify our courts from entertaining cases bordering on enforcement of fundamental rights of victims (most of whom are leaders of these organizations), they in some cases even face charges of life and death sentences.

Without any questions, the capacity of organizations to survive those dark periods was challenged and leaders like the late Dr. Mahmud Tukur, Prof. Iyayi, Prof. Attahiru Jega, Alh. Hassan Sumonu,Alh. Ali Ciroma, Comrades Wahab Goodluck, Dapo Fatogun, the late Chris Abashi, Lanre Arogundade, Hilkiya Bubajoda, Emma Ezeazu and many others were illustrious in their contributions.

ASUU provided the intellectual foundation for the radical orientation of these organizations to resist and outlive military rule. Sadly, NANS is way distant from its radical nationalist orientation of the 1980s. NLC lives in virtually its old glory. Both for NANS and NLC, values may just be limited to bearing a “Comrade” title with hardly any meaning.

More than any organization, ASUU has remained consistent and was able to grow a community of leaders with organic links to wider society. Unlike NLC and NANS, the community of leaders in ASUU have till today sustained ASUU’s organizational focus, orientation and commitment to broader values of national development, which has underpinned its demands and struggles over the years. In the Nigerian context, ASUU is one of the few non-governmental organizations that have been consistent and in many respect still linked to all its leadership since it was founded.

It was this link that explains Prof. Iyayi’s role and why he was traveling for ASUU NEC meeting on the fateful day, Tuesday, November 12 and lost his life. The pain of Iyayi’s loss has made many of us to ask questions that are at best immaterial. Of course, for many who only knew Prof. Iyayi remotely, their response reflect a confusion of what may happen to the expected suspension of the three months old ASUU strike.

‘Iyayi made us’

For those us who were privileged to know Prof. Iyayi, I am not sure any word can convey our feeling. It is a feeling that borders on admiration, respect and obedience. I was privileged to serve as NANS President 1988/89 at a time when Students’ Unions were banned in almost all tertiary institutions in the country.

In July 1988 when we were elected, our primary mandate was the re-activation of Students’ Union structures in the country. In the face of repressive measures, a team of more than 20 students leaders from all over the country was basically reduced to a team of four. The first person that resigned from that Exco was the NANS Secretary whose father being a Deputy Commissioner of Police was threatened.

For many of us, it was a period that exposed us to the fact that there are Nigerians that have broken all barriers and risen above all primordial sentiments. These Nigerians related with us in very special ways. Although not older than their children, they discussed every issue with us with respect, treated us like their peers, which in many respects challenged our intellect. In the process, we had good access to academic literature.

Prof. Iyayi, the community of intellectuals in ASUU, patriotic leaders of NLC and other Nigerians really made us who we are today. Without the support of these people, many of us who grow through the ranks of the student movement would have simply evaporated into the confused Nigerian society that recognizes no skill or talent.

Unfortunately, some of us who are privileged to find themselves in the corridors of power forget this fact. A good example was the way one of us in the current government described Dr. Dipo Fashina as a “character” during the January 2012 fuel subsidy strike. This was to say the least an uncharitable statement coming from somebody who was a product of the sacrifices of people like Iyayi and Dipo. As brothers and comrades, we have a responsibility to be brutally frank to each other.

Calamity

Part of the calamity that has befallen us is the fact that we made very stupid mistakes on account of which some of our best are today serving one of the worst governments produced in this country. I am certain this will be contested largely on opportunistic grounds. However, I can accept that, at the end of it all, the basis of all justifications is simply our stupid mistakes of not engaging the Abdulsalami transition programme in1998 in an organized way. On account of this mistake, people like the comrade now in government have taken individual decisions and may have forgotten their own history.

This highlights a strong disconnect between those of us who have passed through the mentorship of people like Iyayi. One cannot but salute the capacity of that old community of leaders that include Prof. Iyayi, Dr. Fashina, Prof. Olorode, Alh. Sumonu, etc. Somehow,these leaders must be going through traumatizing experiences of having to absorb all these shocks and continue to provide unwavering leadership in the struggles for Nigeria’s development.

Part of the criticism against ASUU is the fact that it has only one weapon of fighting bad governance and dictatorship. That weapon is STRIKE. Under democracy, there are other weapons, which include lobbying National Assembly. Of course, given the realities facing us, it is legitimate to have low confidence with respect to outcomes of engagement with National Assembly. There is also the fact that strikes have worked very well for ASUU. Since the early 1990s, all ASUU strikes have succeeded in terms of winning demands. In some ways therefore, ASUU and its leadership are only responding instinctively.

Options to strike

Perhaps, we need to find ways of engaging some of our leaders and mentors such that they are challenged to act more logically and scientifically. I have no direct answers with respect to this but I believe that strike, especially the current one, may not be the best logical and scientific answer to the problem of breach of contractual agreement. There are certainly other solutions. The best tribute we can give to Prof. Iyayi is for us all as a nation to commit ourselves to finding all the options at our disposal to address the problem of irresponsible conducts of our governments and leaders.

Prof. Iyayi would have been very much alive with us today but for the irresponsible conduct of our federal government to breach the agreement it willfully entered into with ASUU. On account of that breach, unquantifiable amount of resources have been wasted, including loss of lives. The loss of Prof. Iyayi is the high point. May it be the turning point such that as a people we are able to commit ourselves to rescuing this country? May the death of Prof. Iyayi awaken all of us to the need to discover new ways and methods of solving all our societal problems especially those created by the irresponsible conducts of our governments and leaders. Finally, may the death of Prof. Iyayi serve as the watershed in the struggle for higher education in the country such that strikes become the remotest of weapons and least employed?

Rest in peace Prof. Festus Iyayi!

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Chukwu Chidinma Adaku

    November 18, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    May your soul rest in perfect peace Amen.You died in active service,in pursue of academic excellence for the betterment of this nation Nigeria;your struggles , legacies shall remain evergreen and will be a “legend” for the Leaders of ASUU.ADIEU ! PROF. ADIEU ! AN ACTIVIST. ADIEU ! ACADEMICIAN.

  2. name

    November 18, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    Last JOB recruitment 0PPORTUNITY for 2013 now on in GOLDEN LIFE International, LAGOS Nigeria.
    VACANCIES available for only WAEC certificate holders with work experience,UNDERGRADUATES and GRADUATES.
    COMPULSORY REQUIREMENT- applicants must reside in lagos.
    COMPANY BENEFITS- *Very attractive salary scale with incentives and bonuses
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  3. Akinwale

    November 18, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    ADIEU PROF

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Social media spreads what you feed it – Ruggedman tells Lai Mohammed

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Social media spreads what you feed it – Ruggedman tells Lai Mohammed

Ruggedman, Nigerian Rapper has stated that social media spreads what it is fed with.

The rapper said this in response to calls for social media regulation by Nigeria’s Information minister, Lai Mohammed.

 

RuggedMan tackles Lai Mohammed

Information Nigeria recalls that Lai Mohammed had said there is a need to regulate social media before it destroys the country.

RuggedMan tackles Lai Mohammed

Reacting to Lai Mohammed’s call for social media regulation, the famous rapper asked the Nigerian government to feed social media with contents of their completed projects and earn accolades rather than advocate for its regulation.

According to the musician, only those who are afraid of their failures being exposed are afraid of social media.

He tweeted, “Who is us? Social media spreads what you feed it. Feed social media with positive works you have done and it will be spread it. You will in turn get respect and accolades. Only those who do not want their unproductive, failed selves exposed are afraid of social media. #DoYourWork.”

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Protest against police brutality: Protesters loot shopping mall in Philadelphia (Video)

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Protest against police brutality: Protesters loot shopping mall in Philadelphia (Video)

Protesters in have taken to the streets to break into and loot into businesses for a second night after officers in Philadelphia shot and killed a black man who was holding a knife in an encounter that city officials say raises questions.

The protests began after a Philadelphia Police officer fatally shot a Black man in West Philadelphia.

Protesters gathered in West Philadelphia around 7 p.m. Tuesday, October 27, and marched to the 18th District police headquarters.

Also, Tuesday night, the lawyer for the family of Walter Wallace Jr., who was shot dead by police, said the family had called for an ambulance, not police, to get him help with a mental health crisis.

The death of Walter in front of his family members sparked outrage, which in turn sparked demonstrations and then lootings as hoodlums took advantage.

Philadelphia police said that two officers were hurt during Tuesday night’s unrest, but they didn’t reveal the extent of their injuries.

Along with the protest, more looting occurred in the city Tuesday night and continued into Wednesday, despite Wallace Jr.’s family’s denunciation of such actions.

Many cars could be seen pulling up to the shopping centers as people ran in and out of stores with carts full of merchandise and even televisions. Police would move in and scatter the looters, but people would sometimes return once the officers left.

Below is a video:

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Social media influencers, Omohtee and Aunty Risi fight on Twitter over surgery, school fees, sex, others

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Social media influencers, Omohtee and Aunty Risi fight on Twitter over surgery, school fees, sex, others

Social media influencers, Omohtee and Aunty Risi have thrown caution to the wind by exposing their dirty secrets on Twitter.

Omohtee had called out Aunty Risi for being able to afford plastic surgery but not school fees.

omohtee

In a series of tweets, Aunty Risi had called out the influencer for selling her body to in order to afford basic livelihood.

Omohtee, however, returned the favour by dragging Aunty Risi to filth and further accused her of trying to seduce her once.

See her reply below …

“I WORK HARD FOR MY MONEY RISI AND EVERYONE AROUND ME CAN TESTIFY TO THIS.

“You on the other hand doesnt even have a job, what do you do Risi? Apart from fucking local men around ajah for peanuts and also tax men on twitter and still claim classy! WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU DO?

“I’m a serial entrepreneur, I model, I influence for brands and still run an event brand. I can comfortably fend for myself and afford my lifestyle

“You say I do runs but please mention 1 person you know that has fucked me? Mention someone I’ve done runs with?

aunty risi twitter

I’m hardworking and heavy on savings hence why I can afford some of the things I get.

“I have a man and people that loves me around me that gifts me stuff and it’s not my fault if your life is nothing to write home about.

“Just because I don’t know how to type insults of keeping quiet when tou ahipid girls come for me slant mean I’m stupid.

“I am tired of the numerous subs and being called a runs girl bu stupid bitches that has never Worked for a penny in their life.

“@risi_aunty you are a bastard And it will not be well with you if you bring out someone I’ve done runs with. You have obviously been waiting for this date from your tweets and I’m also ready for you now.

“Are you jealous & still mad I didn’t allow you to touch my body any further when you tried to seduce me? @risi_aunty did I tell you why I even started avoiding you and stopped picking your calls? I’m straight as a pencil and I didn’t want you to violate me any further!”

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