Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife has been rated one of the best universities as the result of its enormous effort toward the independence of Nigeria and the impact of Late Obafemi Awolowo on the development of the country especially in the educational sector.
Moreover, for many years to date, students fight their way to be admitted to the great institution and also struggle when get admitted to be at the top of their classes during their stay on Campus.
In History, students had the freedom to protest when their rights were violated and no one dared cross the paths of cultists. In those years, a lot of damage were caused by cultists that can’t be curtailed and authorities were threatened or bribed to keep it hush.
The instance of the cultists-students clash is a tragic incident that happened on July 10, 1999, at OAU. It was a gloomy day that resulted in the death of five students and about eleven others were brutally injured. The OAU massacre of 1999 was perpetrated by 40 members of a popular confraternity group called “Black Axe.”
However, this death squad invaded the Awolowo Hall of the university at around 4:30 A.M. and were not recognized because of the masks they put on, but it was not difficult to identify that they were cultists because of their uniform dress code (black trousers and black shirt).
The account of what led to the massacre is given by Prof. Roger Makanjuola’s book “Water Must Flow Uphill” (Adventures in University Administration). Death Squad sends a piece of information to the students’ union about their gathering in the staff quarters of the school. The Secretary-General of the union, George Iwilade mobilized students in response to their letter and discovered these guys were armed.
Furthermore, school authorities were informed as these Death Squad was handed over to the police. To our amazement in two weeks, they were granted bail. No action was taken concerning the incident during the tenure of Wale Omole, Vice Chancellor. In which the normalcy of cultism was restored to campus, the student activists protested against this act but they were expelled.
Lanre Adeleke (Legacy), the Union President, reveals that his PRO and other Union Officers were working against the wishes of the majority. It highlights the presence of sly and oppressive individuals in the union body.
However, the death of Afrika and others brought liberation from cultism on campus despite it being a remarkable day in the history of OAU unionism. It was disheartening that Wale Omole, the V.C. join hands with the Death Squad.
The death of these legends would not be forgotten, for their sacrifices are the freedom we enjoyed today on OAU Campus. Where activities of cultism and illegal have been curbed. As OAU became one of the safest campuses to walk day and night without being harassed or intimidated.
Can we say July 10 is a gloomy day in OAU or a day of freedom from illegal acts?