GRIEF, tears and anger were visible on the faces of scores of students of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State as they matched out in long procession during a candle-light procession in honour of one of them, Miss Mary Motunrayo Ibitoye. The late Ibitoye, a Part Two law student was gruesomely sent to her early grave two weeks ago by a careless school bus driver in Osogbo, the capital of Osun State.
We learnt that Ibitolu had gone to a bank in Osogbo on the fateful day to cash some money but was compelled to rush home to take her identity card to facilitate the banking transaction.
On her way home on a commercial motorbike she rode, she was hit and crushed by the bus driver who sought assistance of passers-by to help push the faulty school bus to a start. When the engine of the bus came alive, Ibitolu, who was seated at the back of the motorbike, was unlucky as she was hit by the driver due to alleged mechanical failure. The impact of the accident was so severe that health workers in a nearby hospital Ibitolu was rushed to could not save her.
News of the tragic death of the late law student quickly spread to town like wild harmattan fire.
The late Ibitolu’s death was more painful to members of her immediate family, friends, admirers, colleagues and her church members when her untimely departure was not caused by illness but one of the Nigeria factors which has cut the life of many short in their prime.
The procession comprised OAU undergraduates and students of Our Lady and Saint Francis Catholic College (OSCCO), Osogbo, the alma mater of the deceased. They could not control their emotions as they wept uncontrollably and chanted various dirges to reflect the mood of the moment.
The candlelight procession kicked off at the premises of OSCCO, through the popular Olaiya junction and was terminated at Old Garage area, Osogbo. The Students’ Union of OAU and its Law Students Society (LSS) visited the Osun State Police Command in Osogbo to make enquiries about the driver of the school bus that crushed Ibitolu to death while she was on a motorcycle in front of Osogbo Grammar School on Iwo-Osogbo Road.
Officially announcing the painful departure of their colleague, OAU Student Union president-elect, Kayode Omotayo said in a statement that, “With a swollen heart, a grievous mind and a mourning soul we announce the passing away of one of the shining stars, dynamic and distinguished image of our union, whom we lost to the cold and vicious hands of death, who inadvertently fell the victim of being a Nigerian. The atmosphere that beclouded her untimely death and the event that sent her to her early grave is already in public domain.’’
“The Great Ife union believes that the inept of the government both at the state and federal levels have continued to hunt the innocent Nigerian students. We discovered that late Miss Mary Motunrayo Ibitolu, who was an emblem of beauty and brilliance cum intelligence, upon her accident, was not quickly attended to by medical personnel. The vehicle that hit her did not by any standard meet traffic regulations that could warrant the owner to put such on the road.”
“If the apparatus of the government had been up and doing, the young lady might have been saved or the accident might have been avoided in the first place. However, we have come to the reality that she is no more with us. The Great Ife community continues to mourn Miss Mary Motunrayo Ibitolu who will forever remain in our heart.”
Commenting on the outcome of a meeting with Osun State Police Command, the Vice President-elect of OAU Student Union, Miss Oladunjoye Opeyemi said the union was not satisfied with the response of the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mrs Folashade Odoro on the whereabouts of the driver accusing the police authorities of shielding him from justice. She said:
“The police seems to be hiding something from us as regards the school bus driver that killed our colleague because the PPRO refused to tell us in plain terms whether he (driver) was in their custody and when prosecution would begin.”
While maintaining that the union would do everything in its power to ensure that justice is done, Oladunjoye charged the police to come out clean on circumstances surrounding the ugly incident and ensure that the culprit is brought to justice.
Although Oladunjoye said the PPRO said the strike embarked upon by the Osun State judiciary was delaying the arraignment of the suspect, she however commiserated with the bereaved family.
Manwhile, many students paid tributes to Ibitolu during the candle light procession. They described her as a committed, brilliant, hard-working and God-fearing student who contributed immensely to the survival of her indigent friends.
The president of OSCCO alumni in OAU, of which Ibitolu was the Vice president, Mr. Adesiyan Adedolapo said her departure has created a vacuum in the association,adding that she was very humble and accommodating.