The announcement of Professor Adebayo Bamire as the new vice chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife by Owelle Oscarudoji, Chairman of Council OAU didn’t seem to go down well with the indigenes of Ife as they immediately reacted to the news with a protest that held briefly in evening of the 17th of March, the same day Professor Bamire was announced as the VC.
The indigenes said they want a son of the soul to be in the position of the vice chancellor for the first time in 61 years. The gate of the campus was locked thus preventing vehicles from moving in or out of the campus premises and students in the premises were kept from going out too.
The protest escalated on Friday as the mob were seriously protesting and attacking everyone at the gate including the school securities and they also destroyed properties.
Akinkeye Okiji, a young man who was also part of the protesters said “we have been lenient with the OAU community for 61 years, we own this land; our fathers gave us this land, the soil is ours, if we cannot produce a substantive VC for 61 years then we have failed”
The protesters were seen displaying placards with various inscription as “Ogunbodede is a traitor and betrayer of the land”, “No Ife indigenes as OAU VC, No state election and general election”, “No Ife indigene as OAU VC, No VC in OAU”, “OONI ADEYEYE SAVE OUR SOUL “, “No Bamire for VC OAU, 61 years is enough” among others.
Another protester, Abimbola Afolabi said “what we are clamoring for is that for the period of 5 years just a single term, test Ife we are somebody that can do it” he furthered threatened “ we are here just briefly but we’ll be here Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and we really mean business this time around, we’re going to fight it to the last score. Bamire should go back to Odi-Otin to be a VC there”
The protesters fulfilled the promises they made on the 18th as they suspended campus drivers from working thus, making it impossible for students to gain access into the campus. Traditional worshippers (yeye osun) were seen dressed in their full regalia protesting in the campus premises, singing and chanting incantations against the university council chairman. This activities left the students awe stricken and terrified as they began to run helter skelter for their lives.
On Tuesday, the protest took a new dimension as masquerades were seen parading the school gate and within the premises with all sort of fetish materials, carrying out rituals and placing sacrifices on strategic corners in the school.
The governor of Osun state, Governor Adegboyega Oyewole, got a wind of the attitude of the people and has pleaded the citizens of Ile-Ife to allow peace reign and bring an halt to the protest. He further stated that the state is less concerned with whoever the VC of the university should be but the state is wholly responsible for the safety of the people.
Rotimi Akeredolu, Governor of Ondo state also criticizes the action of the protesters. He conjectured those who lost in the process of selection of VC responsible for the ongoing wild protest.
The Commissioner of Police of Osun state together with the S.A to the Governor on security matters held a meeting with Obalufe and others at the Ooni’s palace to settle the issue between the town and OAU. They also stated their grievance and after much appeal by the CP they promised to suspend the protest indefinitely.
Currently, everywhere seems to be calm as some students of the school claims that buses are now working and the gate is free from protesters, this may be due to the interference of the state governors.