Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has described the protests embarked upon by some Ile Ife indigenes over the announcement of a non-native as the next Vice-Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University as “crazy”.
Soyinka, a former lecturer at OAU, spoke at a lecture titled, ‘The Politics of Black Intellection and Creativity, at the University of Pennsylvania, the United States, which was the first of the newly-inaugurated Distinguished Lecture series in African Studies.
Reacting to a question by Professor Wale Adebanwi, Presidential Penn Compact Professor of Africana Studies, Department of Africana Studies, University of Pennsylvania, Soyinka said he’s “shocked” over the incessant kidnappings, ritual killings, and violence that have become the order of the day in Nigeria.
Asked to express his reaction to the agitations that the next Vice-Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University must be an indigene of its host city, Soyinka faulted the protesters.
He said, “An Ife person wrote me and say, look at these people disgracing us. I told him to go there and disgrace them. You are an Ife person. You should be in the front line.
“The Ife people should say those people don’t belong to us, we don’t know where they came from. And they should be dealt with ruthlessly. Why should there be an Ife VC anywhere? I just don’t understand what they put in the water these days. It is crazy.”
Determined to ensure the installation of an Ile-Ife indigene as the next OAU VC, some indigenes entered the varsity’s campus with charms and other fetish objects on Monday 21st of March.
They also closed the varsity’s two major gates, thereby preventing staff, students, and other stakeholders from either coming into or leaving the University.
The protests by the Ife indigenes started last Thursday, March 17, 2022, shortly after the university’s Governing Council, led by its Chairman, Owelle Oscar Udoji, announced a professor of Agricultural Economics, Bamire, as the 12th substantive VC.
The protesters, who initially blocked the main gate of the university on the first day and threatened staff and students to stay away from campus, allegedly became violent the second day as they beat up workers, particularly the staff of the Security Unit, and vandalised their office at the Main Gate.
Author: Dr. Funmi Beckley