14th November, 2013
More tributes have continued to pour in for former President of the Academic Staff Union of University, ASUU, Festus Iyayi, who died Tuesday as a result of an accident involving the bus he was travelling in and a car in the convoy of the Kogi State Governor, Idris Wada.
An Assistant Professor of English at Texas State University, USA Dr. Ogaga Ifowodo described the late Professor of Business Administration at the University of Benin, UNIBEN as someone who was always ready to sacrifice himself for the betterment of his colleagues no matter what the consequence may be.
Ifowodo went down memory lane recalling how the late Iyayi while at the University of Benin battled vicious acts of the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida.
While mourning the sudden demise of Iyayi, Ifowodo said :“As scholar, writer and humanist, I had always been inspired by the example of Iyayi and ensured to visit him whenever I was in Benin City, the last time being just four months ago.”
Ifowodo further described the late Iyayi as a doughty, intrepid and incorruptible fighter for a free and livable Nigeria.
“I will eventually come to terms with the brutal fact that, once again, a precious life has been sacrificed to the insatiable Moloch called the Nigerian state. And the question every grieving Nigerian must be asking now is, when does this human sacrifice end?”
Tributes are also pouring in from his immediate constituency, UNIBEN as all forms of activities have been stopped to mourn him.
Activist lawyer, Bamidele Aturu said he is yet to come to terms with the reality of the passing away of Iyayi, who until his death lived a purposeful life.
He reacted this way: “It is difficult to accept the wasting of one of Africa’s most cerebral and committed scholars by a reckless driver who probably assumed that because he was ‘privileged’ to be in a Governor’s convoy he was above traffic regulations and other users of the road, including even his intellectual superiors.”
Senator Babafemi Ojudu said the late Iyayi was someone who never wavered even when others shrank and cringed in fear of the military jackboot, instead he spoke up at the expense of his life in defence of the Nigerian masses through various means, including his novels.
“Another great man has been cut down due to recklessness in high places. The convoy of this same governor which killed Professor Festus Iyayi was involved in a similar accident recently. One is tempted to ask what the rush and haste was all about. If members of the ruling class who are fed and clothed with Nigerians’ commonwealth cannot restrict themselves to the huge quantum of agony they are already causing the masses and refrain from causing further agony, then whether we like it or not, push may soon come to shove,” Ojudu said.
Tributes also came in from the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC as it described the death of Iyayi as painful and tragic.
NLC President, Mr Abdulwaheed Omar said “Iyayi’s death on his way to Kano for the National Executive Council meeting of ASUU leaves a sour taste in the mouth,” while describing him as a great activist, an uncommon patriot, a loving father, husband and a humble friend who would be missed, adding that the author deserved to be immortalized.
Governor Rauf Aregbesola of State of Osun described Iyayi’s passing as sudden, sad and unfortunate.
“Iyayi’s death is a painful loss to the academic world and the nation. It has depleted the ranks of truly committed agitators for the common good of the country.
“The Iyayis of Nigeria are the true heroes who deserve celebration for they devoted their lives to the good of humanity.”
The Association of Nigerian Authors, ANA, on Thursday described the death of Iyayi as a loss to the academic and literary world.
The association’s National President, Prof. Remi Raji told newsmen in Abuja that the literary giant stood for truth and justice, while describing the late Iyayi as a member of different Nigerian literary organisations.
The association’s National Vice President, Mr Denja Abdullahi, described the death of Iyayi as painful and unwarranted at the time the academic union “is faced with great challenges”.
He said that Iyayi’s place in the history of revolutionary and Marxist aesthetics literature was already assured and would not be forgotten.
—Alawode Adebobola & Jethro Ibileke/Benin