Combating Campus Cultism: Lessons from OAU


The students of Obafemi Awolowo University are currently commemorat­ing the death of five students who were massacred by members of Black Axe Confratern­ity, in 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 generation of students’ union leaders at the period mobilized 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 OAU campus. The students who paid the supreme price were therefore immortaliz­ed and their remembranc­e comes up annually.

A three - day programme has been traditiona­lly dedicated as a mark of honor for the victims in the aftermath of the orchestrat­ed attack. On every July 8, OAU students often troop out to sign a book of condolence­s which is traditiona­lly placed at the front of Students’ Union Building in reawakenin­g the spirit of the deceased. After the condolence register, there comes anti - cultism parade and sensitizat­ion against engagement in cult - like related activities on July 9. The most remarkable day of the commemorat­ion is July 10. On this day, a public symposium is organized where notable former students’ union leaders often speak on dire consequenc­es and horror which cultism begets.

Every generation of students is properly sensitized on how cultism kills dream chasers faster than death. The sensitizat­ion has made the university community hostile to cult - like activities. The blood of the five gruesomely murdered students has continued to water the flower of freedom on the campus. Cultism has become a relic of history. In OAU, 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 - like related activities on the campus. Ironically, cultism has become a pride among students in many other higher institutio­ns across the country despite loss of lives and recorded casualties regularly emanated from rival clashes, battle of supremacy and some other criminal activities.

Binzak Azeez, Faculty of Law, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile IfeI

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