By: Moyosore Orimoloye
The University of Ibadan is currently faced with an administrative imbroglio, the magnitude of which has not been seen in recent times. Citing the loss of scholarship opportunities, the solemn desire to be identified, and the important fact that they have paid for I.D cards, the Student’s Union of the University of Ibadan resolved to rally students to protest the travesty among other travesties.
In response, the Vice-Chancellor promptly locked down the institution, proscribed the Union, and ordered the truly surprised students home. He later boasted that this move “deflated the gra gra” of the agitating students.
A lot of anger has poured from the keypads of UItes and concerned alumni on Facebook and Twitter (where #OlayinkaMisfit is now a trending topic). In this highly necessary agitation against an administration that has shown tendenciesof near totalitarianism, we are on the brink of forgetting another culprit that should also be victim of our righteous anger: Oyo State Commissioner of Police; Abiodun Adekunle Odude.
Lest we continue in a culture of forgetfulness, a collective amnesia that has plagued the country’s populace for years, I feel the need to remind everyone that this randy policeman, confronted with the dangerous, terrorist-level, red-alert spiking possibility of students engaging in a peaceful protest outside the university (meant to draw the attention of the general public to the terrible spate of things), issued a verbal threat to the President of the Student’s Union that is unprecedented in recent history. Yes! It must have been a very dangerous peaceful protest that was sure to be hijacked by terrorists for this CP to have told Mr Ojo Aderemi that he will pick dead bodies from the ground if his plans came to fruition.
The SU President, surely in a bid to hear more clearly and confirm the words of this officer that was sworn to protect citizens, that has, along with others in the black uniform, been touted by several media campaigns as “friend of the people”, called the CP again. This time, he recorded the call. The CP upbraided him severely, promised to hold him responsible for the “wasting of lives” that was to ensue if the gates of the institution were broached by peaceful protesters and promised to not just deploy men for this wasting of lives, but be personally there to supervise it!
In saner climes, this repulsive specimen of an officer, this disgrace to the police force would have begun the fight to keep his job, begun organizing press briefing upon press briefing to attempt clearing his name and the clarification of his unclarifiable and taped position. Nigeria is, however, not a sane clime and this fate has not befallen the CP.
The crux of this opinion piece are these questions; should this police officer,who is obviously a danger to the humanity that has been entrusted in his care, a man who is claearly an enemy of all forms of intellectual struggle and human rights, a relic of the despotism that reigned supreme in those forgettable pre-democratic days, be allowed to sleep peacefully at night?
Should he be allowed the privilege of sleep without, at least, the aid of diazepam, bromazepam, zopiclone or other anxiolytics? More importantly, should he still be allowed to remain on his job? Allowed to control the police force of that large state? This self-proclaimed danger to innocent young lives? Should he not be made to sit at home long enough for his children, if he has any, to ask him why he sits at home jobless all day and have him forced to confess to them that he threatened to assassinate and maim young students not quite far removed from their ages? That he threatened, in essence, to put out lights that might in the near future have been destined to lead this country out of its darkness?
As I pen these words tonight, I know that that CP is tucked somewhere relaxing and basking in the aura of his power to stop protests with just his tongue, his control over guns and goons that could silence hundreds of dreams and because of this, I feel enormous unrest. I hold that we, intellectuals, have the solemn duty to knock this preening bird off its comfortable eerie. We have the solemn duty to make this man an example to his kind within the force who issue threats (intended to be carried out to the letter or not) to ‘free’ citizens of this country (within and without ivory towers). I also feel we owe this spiritual duty to the memory and indeed the ghost of Adekunle Adepeju, the student after whom the currently locked SUB was named, whose dreams were also felled by the bullets of men in black.