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Initially, it used to be just a celebration of the fallen heroes of the July 10, 1999. Things have, however, taken a different turn as it has now become an annual tradition
to celebrate those who staked their lives and gave it up for the positive development of the school of their dream, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. Oluwafemi Ogunjobi and Wilberforce Arevore (300L Language Arts) report.
About 2am on Saturday, July 10, 1999 , about 40 gangsters emerged from a convoy of black jeeps; they were garbed in black trousers and black T-shirts, their faces deliberately concealed by masks.
They were members of the “Black Axe” and they wielded guns and hatchets.They exterminated every student in their path; the first student they shot was sleeping on the corridor. They found the secretary general of the Students’ Union, George Iwilade, aka ‘Afrika’ in his bed and shot him immediately in the head. They later smashed his head with axe to make sure he was dead. After the attack on ‘Afrika,’ they began to look for the president of the Students’ Union, Lanre Adeleke, aka ‘Legacy.’
They then went up to the Students’ Union Room, number 56, which was housing the welfare director and the financial secretary. When they got there, they found that the two officers had left the room. Unfortunately for him, Eviano Ekelemu, a Medical student, who was staying in room 55 (the room next door) opened his door to see what was happening and he was shot in the lower stomach without asking him any question. He died about 20 minutes later at the University Health Centre.”
Tunde Oke (a 21-year old student activist) alongside Yemi Ajiteru and Godspower were also killed while Lanre Adeleke, the Students’ Union President, missed the call to heaven by escaping through the kitchenette at the back of his room.
The crime scene was bloody as mattresses saturated with blood were dripping into floors and rooms below while walls were also splashed with brains. About 18 students were shot in all but only 5 died that day while three more died later.
The attack aroused the consciousness of 'Great Ife'(OAU students) against any form of cult-like activity and since then, OAU campus has become a dreaded land for cultists, even angels thread carefully. The July 10, 1999 attack is not only regarded as the saddest day the school has ever witnessed but also the day potential leaders laid down their lives for what they believed in. However, the remembrance of the fallen martyrs have gone beyond what one would call just a remembrance but a tradition which must be duly observed.
Absence of the Students’ Union made the Association of Campus Journalists, the Man ’O’ War, the Kegites’ club, and The Tea Club organise this year’s remembrance in grand style. Of a truth, this year’s celebration is the biggest as the turn-out was massive, with over 1,500 students present, the thrills were endless as some used the event to clear themselves from the exam hype which just rounded off. struggle. With array of displays from various groups, the Kegites kick-started the event with gyration and melodious palm wine renditions were chanted; the Man ‘O’ War militia thrilled the spectators with their parade and military.
Speaking with CampusLife at the event, the Kegites’ Lord Chief, Olorunisola Seun said, ‘’aside the fact that the late Afrika was an initiate of the club, July 10 has always been a day to be remembered,’’ he retorted.
President of the Association of Campus Journalists(ACJ), Adegbola Samuel said, ‘’ACJ, in the absence of the students union, is so privileged to organise the event in collaboration with the Tea club, Man ‘O’ War and the Kegites’ Club knowing fully well that ACJ is a platform to unify the minds of the university community.’’
The immediate past President of the Association of Campus Journalists, Akinyanmi Joseph said, "the greatness in Ife is not in the name but in the caliber of persons that makes it up. He further stressed that, the remembrance of Afrika and other fallen heroes reflects on the eventual end of cultism in Obafemi Awolowo University and other universities.’’
Wrapping off the whole scene, the students, with candles in their hands and mournful chants on their lips and through stunts’ display by the Kegites, left the Anglo- Moz Car Park and marched through the Halls of residence to halt at the Ken Saro Wiwa buiding, called the Students Union Building where persons like the former Speaker of the Students’ Union, Adama Joshua (aka Jadamz), the PRO of the union at proscription, Adeyemi Africano , the Clerk of the parliament at proscription, Akintujoye Eniayo (aka Paniela) among others addressed the crowd on the significance of the programme.
However, the students laid down the candles with recitation of the Great Ife anthem and dispersed at around 10pm in the nightShare