Daily Trust

Cultism in campus: Lessons from OAU


The students of Obafemi Awolowo University are currently commemorat­ing the death of five students who were massacred by members of the Black Axe Confratern­ity on July 10, 1999. George Iwilade, Eviano Ekeimu, Yemi Ajiteru, Babatunde Oke and Godfrey Ekpede were slaughtere­d in cold blood in the wee hours of the fateful day. The horrible event didn’t go or slide away unchalleng­ed.

The students’ union leaders at the period mobilised their fellows and rose to the occasion. They immediatel­y swung into action, apprehende­d some of the suspected cultists and handed them over to the police. Although numerous occurrence­s have thwarted all efforts to bring the perpetrato­rs of the cult - attack to book, the ugly incident became a symbol of resistance against neo fascist elements on the OAU campus.

The students, who paid the supreme price, were therefore immortalis­ed and their remembranc­e comes up annually.

A three-day programme has been traditiona­lly dedicated as a mark of honour for the victims in the aftermath of the orchestrat­ed attack. On every July 8, OAU students troop out to sign a book of condolence­s which is traditiona­lly placed at the front of the Students’ Union Building.

After the condolence register, there comes an anti-cultism parade and sensitisat­ion against engagement in cultrelate­d activities on July 9. The most remarkable day of the commemorat­ion is July 10. On this day, a public symposium is organised where notable former students’ union leaders speak on dire consequenc­es and horror which cultism begets.

Every generation of students is properly sensitised on how cultism kills dream chasers faster than death. The sensitisat­ion has made the university community hostile to cult activities. The blood of the five gruesomely murdered students has continued to water the flower of freedom on the campus. In OAU, the supremacy of arguments has been the greatest tool to resolve conflict among students as against the survival of the fittest in some other tertiary institutio­ns.

OAU students have set a mechanism to utterly combat cult-related activities on the campus. Ironically, cultism has become a pride among students in many other higher institutio­ns across the country despite the loss of lives and casualties regularly emanating from rival clashes, battles of supremacy and some other criminal activities. It has become a norm to affiliate with one cult group or the other. It is high time other students in Nigeria’s tertiary institutio­ns broke from the yoke of cultism and set a tradition or legacy in eradicatin­g cultism. This remains the only way to guarantee a serene campus, safety of lives, future careers and dreams.

Binzak Azeez is from the Faculty of Law, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria