July 10 is one of the most popular dates on OAU campus, infact if as an OAU student you have no idea what July 10 is, I think your studentship should be questioned. That date should always ring a bell, everywhere you go.

Why is July 10 so popular? Why is everyone talking about July 10, why do we post candles on this day? Sit back and enjoy.

We are celebrating our fallen heroes, George Iwilade popularly known as Afrika, Yemi Ajiteru, Eviano Ekelemu, Babatunde Oke and Efe Ekede. The heroes we lost to the battle of Cultism on OAU campus.

Everytime you see OAU students bragging about walking 2am in the morning without fear, remember, these 5 people died for them. Whenever OAU students voice out in the face of oppression, they don’t want to be cowards, we didn’t lose our five heroes to be cowards.

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What led to The July 10 killing?

Without March 7, 1999, there might not be July 10, 1999 killing.

On the 7th day of March, 1999, nine members of Black Axe cult were arrested by the students’ union in a boy’s quarter of the residence of a university staff on campus. Many dangerous items and uniforms were found in their possession which included submachine guns, AK 47, an axe, ammunition, dagger and local firearms. They confessed to their crime and the student leaders handed them over directly to the police for prosecution (after informing the university authority).

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The accused were later charged to the Ile-Ife Magistrate Court on the 23rd day of March, 1999. But, in what could be described as the fastest criminal trial ever, the Magistrate found that the accused had no case to answer and discharged them but ordered that the sub-machine guns, AK 47 and other ammunition seized from them be transferred to the Police armourer and the remaining exhibits were destroyed. The students’ union were not informed by the police, the university was not involved and only the Investigating Police Officer gave evidence.

Who is Afrika?

Afrika, a vibrant and active comrade in the Great Ife Students’ Union who was also the Secretary General of the Union was massacred, the other four died due to gun shot injuries, but our Afrika was butchered.

Series of events before the black day

According to eye-witness reports, some days to the incident, every street light that led from campus gate to academics and halls of residence suddenly stop working. After the incident, the management claimed the streetlights were destroyed. The security unit as well as the management feigned ignorance (if you know OAU campus, you’ll know no one can destroy the street lights from campus gate to academics without getting caught, it’s very impossible)

Few days to the incident as well, a huge amount of money was withdrawn out of the institution’s account, without proper records. The bursar who initiated the withdrawal claimed to have disbursed the funds N350,000 (Imagine, 350k in 1999) for “security needs” and the funds were handed over to the Vice-Chancellor’s right hand man, Femi Idowu. During inquiry, one of cult boys, Efosa Idahosa confessed that they received that amount from the University. Remember, Wale Omole, the then VC was suspected to be a godfather to cultists.

The black day – July 10, 1999.

July 10, 1999 was a black day in the history of Great Ife, the entirety of Great Ife mourned!

The day of the incident, Afrika, who was supposed to be inducted as a Kegite went to rest after a long week, he instructed people around to wake him when induction starts properly. Females used to have access to every halls of residence, regardless of time, in the middle of the night, a student suspected to be working for Wale Omole rushed into Awo hall to inform Afrika and Olanrewaju Adeleke popularly known as Legacy (the then Students’ Union President) that a strike was about to happen, Afrika was dead asleep, Legacy was no where to be found, she ran back to her hostel.

If you’re really familiar will halls of residence, you will know that 4 people in a room in male hostel is almost impossible. Afrika had slept with a squatter they called friend, not knowing he was a spy for Wale Omole, as soon as the strike was about to happen, the squatter ran to Fajuyi hall and left Afrika all alone in the room. The shooting started from the lawn that leads to rooms that was where the remaining 4 were killed and Afrika, in the room.

Lanre Legacy’s alleged disappearance

Lanre Legacy didn’t disappear as claimed by many stories, he was held back by a friend when he wanted to rush out, that was what saved him from the death that came knocking, Legacy saw the killers even though it was dark and late. According to him, he still saw one of the masterminds of the attack sometime in 2018 at the airport.

After the black day…

The case was reported in the police station, but unfortunately, the cultists had the backing of the powers and principalities and they were discharged and acquitted alongside Wale Omole.

The death of Afrika shook the whole country that people came from far and near to Ile-Ife in mourn and demand justice. Well, the deed has been done, our heroes have fallen, but they live forever!

We join the entirety of Great Ife in remembering our heroes that didn’t die in vain.
Wherever you are always Say No To Cultism.

This story was written based on what the Author can remember after listening to Olanrewaju Adeleke (Legacy), Students’ Union President 1998/99 testimony at the 19th year remembrance of the 5 heroes.

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