Dark ashes flying into the warm levels of the sky, silence eroding the streets of Angola hall to PG college. Thriller cries whispering into our ears sorrowfully as though we could hear the voice of that boy in his Kampala dress with his aluta fist held and raised up to the heavenlies.
The blood of the innocent painting the walls of Fajuyi Hall and the play grounds of Awolowo hall. The vision of the massacre!
Perhaps, the most emotional and spirited day on OAU campus is always the July 10 remembrance.
The scary times are when histories that beckon sorrow, shame, regrets and hatred tend to repeat themselves not as fairy tales, not as narratives but as occurrences for the ears to hear and the eyes to see.
I had just gotten back from one of those clinical postings when my former roommate and classmate messaged me on account of the recent happenings that had happened while I had been offline for days. He sent me the popular screenshot that I later realized has been flying around of a particular threat written by a particular group to scare and kill a particular community. It was a breathtaking moment! Could this be happening in my school? As much as I quickly discarded the authenticity in my mind, the brain could not but give a second thought to the possibility of it being true. Well, even if it is not true, I said, why will this kind of message generate such uproar in the first place? Something must have gone wrong somewhere. Something must have happened. I went to the website of popular news platform on campus to find out what had happened and I found news enough to feed my ignorance to that satiety.
What have we done wrong? Oh yes, I know the school has always been porous and lackadaisical about security but I never for once thought such deeper concept could even surface. Cultists attack? How?
It will be a sacrilegious act if we at this point pour the efforts of George Akinyemi Iwilade Afrika and others who we lost to the July 10, 1999 massacre into the pit of our own passiveness.
Many have faulted the onset of this crisis on the fact that we do not have a students' union. Maybe and maybe not. However, I agree with the argument that the bulk of the security of students is mostly being ensured by the students themselves. There is little to what the men in uniform have been doing to ensure that properties of students are not whisked away by the night workers of our realm and that the lives of people during the dark hours not only rest with how much cautious they are themselves. This is not to say that the men in uniform don't do their best, but certainly this best could only be buffered and taken to the absolute maximum with the consciousness and cautiousness of the students themselves.
Like I said, we have an extremely porous university, one which only is strong at querying students for wearing a jean torn at the knee but fails to question the thugs who find their way into the school in the name of bus drivers and business owners. We have a system that conveniently harbors thieves from everywhere in Nigeria while chasing the shadows of bonafide students who merely squat with friends in the hostels. We live in a world where events and lecture theaters very often populated at night are left unsecured but a senate building with almost nobody in the building at late hours is fiercely guarded.
The response of the University management to this threat remains unclear to me. First, because it never came in official and second, because it never came in early enough as supposed. A letter of threat is flying around that blood will be spilled, a letter reminding us of the bloody memories of July 10 and our management failed to respond with the iron teeth of the crocodile. If not for anything at all, at least for the sake of restoring peace and ensuring safety.
For whatever, this message might not be as true as painted because of my personal experience with sponsored stories so as to appeal to consciences and circulate propagandas but what if and just what if it is true?.
Another fact to be cognizant of is the opportunities this will provide evildoers who dwell amongst us. The ones who will see that day or the near days to it as a good time to perpetrate evil without an atom of suspicion pointing at them.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I have only one message especially now that the ones arrested have been released back to the community into which they are a threat to its peace. It is not for us to fear but for us to remain cautious and alert, oriented and active to sense, smell and view anything around us that is suspicious and poses threats. It is now time for us to be as strong as those who fought for this zero tolerance for cultism and to uphold the legacy they left behind. Walk in groups, look around, stop the parties for now and we will get over it soonest.
Peace upon us.
LOLU AKINTEYE is a 500-Level student of Medicine of Obafemi Awolowo University and a former Parliamentarian of the Great Ife Students' Union.