OAU Vice-Chancellor crisis: Time to pray for ‘Ile-Ife’ is now

Distinguished folks,

Ile-Ife, an ancient town in Osun is in dire need of serious attention and prayers. The craddle of Yoruba race should not be left alone to withstand its ‘current shallows’. This is no doubt the best moment to rescue the ancient town from its shadow, low-self esteem, insecurity and a ‘colony of selfish cabals’ who are always taking the wrong route to display the greatness of the town. Sadly, some indigenes are making mockery of the same ladder (culture and traditions) that took the town to greatness while community leaders including the custodian of the said ladder are watching carelessly. This is the time for the truth. Ile-Ife needs more than prayers and attention. It needs caution too.

It is interesting to note that in the last twelve months, each time Ile-Ife went viral or featured in the news, the ancient town never stepped out of mud. It all started when Prince Rahman Adedoyin, a worthy contestant of Ooni’s stool who is still in prison was alleged to have been involved in the death of Timothy Adegoke, a MBA student of Obafemi Awolowo University. The case was still really hot when Naomi Silekunola, Queen of Ife kingdom and mother of Oba Ogunwusi’s only son, Tadenikawo announced via her social media handle that she has divorced the paramount ruler of Ife Kingdom, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi. Few weeks later, Heritage Ajibola, a fresh student of Department of Linguistics and African Languages, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife reportedly died in a soakaway. Apart from these viral incidents, there were also reports of burglary, rape, attacks and other social vices too.

Ile-Ife, the host community of Obafemi Awolowo University is in the news again. Besides the ongoing land tussle which has created a wide gap between the institution and the town, the selection of a new Vice-Chancellor has escalated the whole scenario. Much interests surround the vice-chancellor’s tussle. The varsity wants to protect its lands and integrity while the other party wants a vice-chancellor who must be a native of Ife kingdom. The former wants those lands for its growth and development while the latter wants to take over those lands for its growth and development too. All interests can be easily traced to lands especially resources in those lands.

The vice-chancellorship’s tussle was a clear contest of processes and tactics. In every contest, there must be a winner and surely, grievances must be allowed and taken into consideration. But the defeated party goofed. There are laid down procedures to report any suspicious moves which they completely ignored. They took the wrong route. They did not condemn the selection process that gave their chosen candidate 9th position rather they maligned the personality of the winner of the selection process.

Barely six hours after Prof. Bamise was announced as the new Vice-Chancellor of the university, the ‘borrowed peace’ the varsity was enjoying went into the drain. Some indigenes of the host community embarked on their own style of rascalism tagged radicalism, descerated the dignity cum respect for traditions and made mockery of everything the prestigious university stood for. They marched in their hundreds, distributed themselves in groups and took advantage of the town being a craddle for the Yoruba race to mock, malign and ridicule the only lasting legacy in the entire town.

Ife is no doubt the craddle of Yoruba race. It is expected to be a sacred place where deities and processions should be treated with respect. If at all, these deities and processions were to be mocked, it should not be done on the soil of the supposed craddle of Yoruba race. But reversal is the case for Ife indigenes. They mocked the deities and processions they were supposed to protect and respect. They struggled to manipulate the deities of fairness and justice.

I watched videos of how followers of River goddess, Osun were chanting the name of the deity in vain, invoking her spirit to instill fear. I also watched videos of some traditionalists including masquerades scaring and attacking innocent students and staffs of the institution. Sacrifices and charms were carelessly displayed at strategic corners of the university. This new low is disturbing.

Considering the current waves of cult attacks in Ilesa and ‘group to group’ attacks in Ede, it would have been justifiable to tag Ile-Ife as the bedrock of violence in the state of virtue. It is encouraging that Prof. Adedoyin who came 9th has followed normal procedure and challenged the selection process. This is a step towards sanity and all hands must be on deck. The rascalism cum drama is tiring and has lost its comic taste. As we call for more steps to restore sanity in the prestigious varsity, we must not forget to pray for Ile-Ife.

To be continued

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