“Áfríkà eh Áfríkà!” again would have been another shout in June if weather forecasts had lied. Hmm…
Creative OAU students.
3rd of May, 2019 ushered in a wave of fear which could still be fresh in the minds of returning students of Obafemi Awolowo University. The spotlight artiste at the time, Zlatan Ibile, hosted a music tour in the university’s Amphitheatre which eventually turned out to be a sour night for the university in particular. The whole chaos started when suspected cultists from the neighbouring Oduduwa University, Ipetumodu (OUI) attacked OAU students who attended the concert as a result of their displeasure caused by the alleged disrespectful attitude of Zlatan towards them. He was alleged of being a member of the ‘OJU’ cult and didn’t deem it fit to stop over at the cult’s base in Ile-Ife. This reportedly angered the cult and they decided to disrupt the show. They were spotted in distinctive yellow outfits which aroused a high level of suspicion.
At a point, it became a free for all clash and eventually seven members were rendered powerless and beaten by the students before they were apprehended and detained at the university’s security facility. Few days later, the school received a message full of loaded threats. The cult let out a string of scary sentences and threatened to shed blood on the university grounds just like the July 10, 1999 incident which claimed the lives of the ‘OAU Five’, most popular among them, George Iwilade alias Áfríkà.
Excerpt from the letter:
“Never forget how you take helpless for 1999. Ta àwọn ọmọ okùn dúdú bá ayé yín jé. For every of our people that you take, we go take 7. Blood for blood”
This spread fear in the hearts of students and many people began making plans to go back home to their respective families.
However, the university authorities didn’t take the threat just lightly and began to tighten security. Students without identity cards or other means of identification were denied entry into the campus and various security officials were spotted in specific places around the campus. Following this, the students massively deserted campus grounds for nearly five consecutive days; May 30th to June 3rd, even though many stayed behind. Even fellowships were not left behind. As June came closer, some students began to prepare to travel as a lot were scared of being victims of cultists attack. This however didn’t stop MTH 105 lecturers from holding a test already slated to hold that day. Present 200 level students who missed the test, I offer my sincere sympathy.
Among many hilarous phrases that sprouted that period, ‘GOT: the long night is coming to Ife!, Winter is coming’ was the most popular.
However, it was disappointing as the long awaited attack never came. At least, the authorities made highly commendable provisions for the security and safety of students only on campus.
About a year after the incident, InsideOAU media reporters decided to gather thoughts and opinions from students on the incident and a few came out as most striking:
Banjo, a student of Linguistics and African Languages expressed his thoughts while talking to InsideOAU and said:
“When Zlatan Ibile held a show on campus, we did not go. Na gist we hear.Then Mr. And Mrs. color yellow sent letters saying June 1, they will clear everyone. Campus was empty for good three days, Saturday June 1,Sunday June 2 and, Monday June 3. Naso I no watch Champions league finals”
Another student who didn’t deny the fact she was scared also relayed her experience
“June 1st 2019 was a day a lot of students of Obafemi Awolowo University looked forward to. Asides students, even staffs and residents of the environs of the varsity.
I was not excluded as the tension in the air found its way into my heart a few days before June 1st.
I remember vividly that I had called my parents and relayed the situation on ground because as a part 1 student, I was scared for my life and was not ready to be a victim of cultist attacks, and not that I’m still not scared. Looking back at the event now, I want to believe the fear creeped in finally when a stop and search mode was adopted by the security unit and an identity card was necessary to pass through the huge gates of the university.
Truth be told, on the 2nd day of June, though I had locked myself up in safety the previous day, I was a little bit disappointed that nothing happened because apparently, the threat messages were all a lie. A huge prank played on the management, students and guardians of the school even though it wasn’t April 1st.”
A lot of people didn’t hesitate to lament at the kind of fear they experienced due to the threats.
Jolade told her story and amidst stifled laughs, we saw reasons for tension. She said:
It wasn’t a fun moment being directly threatened from a secret organization to my university which basically affected me.
I had a test to prepare for, MTH105.
I wanted to ditch the test to travel back home since it carried just twenty marks but twenty marks in OAU is like an extra live in a game.
I wasn’t quite sure of what the day might be like after hearing numerous stories of the massacre in 1991 i think.
Waking up that morning, i dressed fit putting on jeans and a shirt to allow easy running and jumping fences and the likes if it came to the worst.
The funny thing was the Friday before June 1st, i was skeptical yellow house would fix a test date on that day but they did relying on the presence of security agents in the university.
I did my test in fear with ears alert and hair standing. To cut the long story short, we were delayed by the invigilators for exam malpractice, i wanted to cry, having to stay in the hall for an extra hour.
Immediately i was cleared, i hurried home not glancing backwards.
Never have I felt so insecure.”
Obafemi Awolowo University would have taken off already the pride of ‘No more Cultism’ if the threats were loaded. We were both relieved and disappointed as Winter themed by Game of Thrones fans never occured.
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