Thursday, May 23, 2024

Remembering the Fallen Heroes: The Tragic Events of July 10, 1999 at OAU Campus

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July 10 is a date that resonates deeply within the hearts of students at . For those who may not be familiar with its significance, this day holds great importance in the history of the campus. It is a day that reminds us of the sacrifices made by our fallen heroes, namely George Iwilade (Afrika), Yemi Ajiteru, Eviano Ekelemu, Babatunde Oke, and Efe Ekede. These brave individuals lost their lives in the battle against cultism on the OAU campus. In this article, we take a moment to reflect on this tragic event and honor their memory.

The Events Leading to July 10, 1999:

To understand the significance of July 10, we must delve into the events that preceded it. On March 7, 1999, the student union at OAU apprehended nine members of the Black Axe cult. The students discovered these individuals in possession of dangerous weapons, including submachine guns, AK-47s, and ammunition. The accused were handed over to the police for prosecution, but to the shock of many, the magistrate overseeing the case found them not guilty, resulting in their release. This swift and questionable decision set the stage for the tragic events that unfolded on July 10.

The Heroes We Lost:

On that fateful day, George Iwilade, popularly known as Afrika, a vibrant and active comrade who served as the Secretary General of the Great Ife Students’ Union, was mercilessly butchered. The other four heroes succumbed to gunshot injuries. Their sacrifices cannot be forgotten, as they fought courageously against the forces of cultism on the OAU campus.

The Black Day: July 10, 1999:

July 10, 1999, forever stands as a black day in the history of Great Ife. The entire campus mourned the loss of these brave individuals. It was a day that changed the atmosphere at OAU, reminding everyone of the ongoing battle against cultism and the need to stand united against this menace.

The Tragic Circumstances:

Eyewitnesses recall several ominous signs leading up to the tragic events. Days before July 10, the streetlights along the path from the campus gate to the academic buildings mysteriously stopped working. The management claimed that the streetlights were destroyed, but many questioned this explanation. Additionally, a significant sum of money was withdrawn from the institution’s account without proper records. The bursar responsible for the withdrawal claimed it was for “security needs,” but the circumstances surrounding the funds raised suspicions. There were allegations of the university administration’s involvement with cultists, further fueling the atmosphere of distrust and uncertainty.

Legacy and the Miraculous Escape:

Legacy, the Students’ Union President at the time, narrowly escaped the tragic events of July 10. Held back by a friend, he was prevented from rushing out into the chaos that claimed the lives of his comrades. Although the darkness obscured his vision, he remembers encountering one of the masterminds of the attack in 2018, even after all those years had passed.

Seeking Justice:

After the incident, the case was reported to the police, but unfortunately, the cultists involved enjoyed powerful backing and were subsequently discharged and acquitted, along with Wale Omole, the then Vice-Chancellor of the university. This disappointing outcome left a deep sense of injustice and frustration among the OAU community.

Honoring Our Fallen Heroes:

Today, we remember and honor our fallen heroes, who made the ultimate sacrifice in the battle against cultism. Their bravery and resilience continue to inspire current and future generations of OAU students. As we reflect on the events of July 10, we reaffirm our commitment to rejecting cultism and fostering a safe and conducive learning environment.

We Curated Other Content about July 1999 Massacre

Their memories live on, reminding us of the importance of unity and vigilance in preserving the integrity of our beloved campus. July 10 serves as a solemn reminder of the challenges we face and the need to remain steadfast in our pursuit of justice and truth.

In honor of our fallen heroes, various commemorative activities are organized annually. These events bring together the OAU community to reflect, share stories, and pay tribute to their bravery. From candlelight vigils to memorial services, the spirit of Afrika and his fellow heroes lives on.

Let us continue to strive for justice, unity, and a safer campus for all. May their souls rest in peace, and may their sacrifices never be forgotten. As we commemorate July 10 each year, let us renew our commitment to the eradication of cultism and the promotion of a peaceful and inclusive educational environment. Together, we can ensure that their lives were not lost in vain and work towards creating a brighter future for all students of Obafemi Awolowo University.

In their honor, we say, “Never Again! Say No to Cultism!”

 

 

Conclusion:

July 10 will forever hold a significant place in the hearts of OAU students, serving as a reminder of the sacrifices made by our fallen heroes. We stand together in rejecting cultism and honoring the memory of George Iwilade (Afrika), Yemi Ajiteru, Eviano Ekelemu, Babatunde Oke, and Efe Ekede. Let us continue to strive for justice, unity, and a safer campus for all. May their souls rest in peace, and may their sacrifices never be forgotten. As we commemorate July 10 each year, let us renew our commitment to the eradication of cultism and the promotion of a peaceful and inclusive educational environment. Together, we can ensure that their lives were not lost in vain and work towards creating a brighter future for all students of Obafemi Awolowo University.

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