KUNLE ADEPEJU MEMORIAL DAY: TO BE OR NOT TO BE?
Tears shouldn’t stop us from seeing…
“DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT IS”. “Like brunette.” “THAT’S DARK, ISN’T IT?” “Not altogether. Facially, I am brunette, but, madam, you should see
The rest of me… – WOLE SOYINKA, Telephone Conversation
First of all, I congratulate the new lords in our midst on their successful matriculation as students of the premier University. May the good Lord that made you pass the Post-UME save you from all the “seen” and “unseen” forces of Tsunami. As observant minds, my Lords, you will agree with me that the political tempo of the University community has suddenly changed. Once again, the ban placed on electoral madness has been lifted. The portal has been opened and political minions have been let loose again to poison the serenity of the atmosphere. Permit me to admonish the new lords on how to survive this electoral period: Order for some silicone rubber earplugs from www.alibaba.com (You won’t get those from Jumia/Konga). You will also need to buy some fool-proof dresses because a lot of fools will be hugging you and if you are yet to know, do note that foolishness is contagious. Finally, endeavour to mind your business, don’t immerse yourself in the murky waters of politics yet, and try as much as possible not to front campaign for any of the aspirants, for none of them is worth it. Time has proven to us that the freedom fighters of today are the looters of tomorrow.
I am sorry for the digression my Lords. The case before us today is that of the proposed Kunle Adepeju Memorial Day planned to come up next week (5th of May) and I have come before this honourable court to argue for its merit and total support. For the benefits of the new Lords, permit me to give a crash course on Kunle Adepeju 101 by quoting from an article I wrote last year in his honour: “It was on the first day of February, 1971. The students of the premier university, University of Ibadan had all filed out to protest against mal-administration, oppression and injustice of the school management towards the students. The students in a bid not to be “as bad as the oppressor” as Mohandas Gandhi has rightly said decided not “to keep silent in the face of oppression”. They had trooped out in great numbers to march against high-handedness and institutional bungling. But then, something happened, the policemen were called to quench the students’ peaceful riot, and in their foolishness shot at the students to scare them away. One of the bullets boomed out and landed on the body of one of the students, Kunle Adepeju!”
As I have said in this very courtroom, Kunle Adepeju has made it to the records of time as the first student martyr in Nigeria. His blood was the very first we sacrificed for liberty and dignity. My Lords, I see no reason why anyone will want to stand against the idea of having a memorial day for such a person who paid the capital price for freedom. May I remind you my lords that a similar case occurred last year when the BB-led administration erected a statue in honour of Kunle Adepeju and some bad elements were quick to refer to it as something like the “mannequins you find in cloth stores at Dugbe”. I was able to establish it last year that what matters is the substance, which is the unchanging essence of what his death stood for and not the form in which any clueless Students’ Union administrations have chosen to manifest that philosophy.
My Lords, we are all aware that some unscrupulous students are already planning to make sure that the Kunle Adepeju Memorial day is put aside based on such flimsy excuses like , “how can you have a memorial day of someone killed on the 1st of February in May?”, “Why must you walk down to his grave”, “Why must there be a lecture-free day?”, “Why must it be schedule for a day when the Vice Chancellor will be celebrating his birthday?”, “Is it not that HunterSola administration wants to use that as an avenue to cover the mess in his administration?” and a host of other flimsy questions. My Lords, it is true that I cannot pretend to close my eyes from the rot in the present HunterSola’s administration. I cannot pretend not to see how this administration has so much distanced itself from transparency and inclusive governance. I cannot pretend not to see the corruption, favouritism and administrative recklessness. But as I’ve always said, it is better we separate the baby from the bad water. It is better we don’t allow our students’ leaders’ inadequacies to corrupt our collective values. My Lords, if we close our eyes for a bad administration to walk by, we may not know when a memory we treasured so much walks away with it.
My Lords, Edosa-led administration organized a Memorial lecture in honour of our fallen hero. Not only that, he also instituted a Kunle Adepeju scholarship for indigent students. We all know he wasn’t perfect but he did his best and moved on. BB-led administration contributed his own quota to the evergreen memory of our brother by erecting a monument in front of the Students’ Union Building to celebrate him. We all know BB was worse as a Union leader but he did his best and moved on. HunterSola’s administration is also here to add beauty to the memories of Kunle Adepeju, my Lords; though we all know he is still contesting with BB on the award of worst Students’ Union Leader of all time, but why can’t we just give him the chance. It is true that we’ve never had it perfect, but who knows we may yet regain our consciousness one day if we don’t stop reminding ourselves of the essence of Kunle Adepeju‘s untimely death.
Finally, in deciding this case, I will strongly plead this honourable court to employ reason ahead of cheap sentiments; thoughtfulness ahead of hasty evaluation, and foresight ahead of the present ignominy. I rest my case.
No, it is a scam in disguise!
“OF ALL HUMAN TALENTS THAT OF DECEPTION IS THE CHEAPEST TO MASTER”
“SOME IRONIES ARE RUDE; THEY SHOULD NOT EXIST IN PAMPHLETS THAT HUMANS READ” -‘Gbogi Tosin, Poet and teacher
My lords, the case for this week poses no dilemma. Those who have eyes beyond these two lamps adorning the head should have no difficulty choosing the negative path.
In less than two months to the end of their tenure, the Students’ Union president and his deception team are planning to honour the first student martyr, Kunle Adepeju, in a series of events that seem to be afterthoughts. My lords, it is official; HunterSola is really striving hard to outdo his predecessor in the display of cluelessness.
HunterSola is playing politics with the dead, and we, the living, cannot be the judge. However, rather than stand like the Kunle Adepeju statue that typifies the state of the union, we should concern ourselves with the actualities in this big joke. We should see through the antics of a failed leader who probably recently heard of/read Steve Farrar’s “Finishing Strong”.
On February 1, 2015, I remember posting a poem on the Students’ Union Facebook Group. It was a poem in honour of Kunle Adepeju. As at the time I posted the poem, no member of the outgoing executive council had said anything concerning the memorial either on or offline. And this could mean two things: one, they are all bad students of history, knowing little or nothing about a Union they claim to lead and represent. Two, in their usual state of irresponsibility, they concerned themselves with other things and forgotten a date that has arguably become generally acceptable as the national students’ day. Late April 2015, more than 75 days after the anniversary, the leadership of the union has finally woken from its slumber and is ready to honour Adepeju. My lords, this is the joke of this administration. The timing and the hasty manner in which the programme has been put together raises questions.
The proposed event mocks the reality. The present sets of student leaders have no moral standing to celebrate a man whose memories they continually insult- Their approach to students’ welfare and the principles of Student unionism are in sharp contrast with what the memories of Adepeju represent. Shall we begin to recount the many humiliating actions that have brought the union to greater disrepute? The escapades of HunterSola and his cohorts are reasons to banish them from every sphere with regards for decency and integrity.
In his usual manner, HunterSola is insulting every student that knows what ought to be. His team has continually ignored the save-our-soul(s) pleas from residents of the presumed GRAs (government-rejected areas) and have little or no regard for their well-being. It is quite funny that the same neglected students are part of those expected to join the remembrance walk for Adepeju and all that he represents.
My lords, HunterSola is merely seeking an attention-gathering platform. Those who attended the student’s union lecture and the orientation programme for fresh men should be quick to align with this assertion. We should not disregard his reputation for diverting events- The public lecture suddenly became a fund raising programme for a non-existing ultra modern students’ union event centre project, and many were left asking if the present event centre is in a bad state. The freshmen orientation programme on the other hand became a horn-blowing stage for folks like Babatunde Badmus, who showed little restraint in recounting his many achievements that got many calling him the worst student leader in recent times. HunterSola is not worthy of being trusted with such a task as organising an event in honour of late Adepeju!
Finally, my Lord, there is no justification whatsoever for this line of action. As a people, we must refuse to be distracted by the antics of the deception team, and stay on course in our quest for the rejuvenation and true redemption of our union. I rest my case!
CONCLUSION: This column is about you, it presents the two sides of a case courtesy of two writers from different schools of thought. “audi alteram partem” means hear the other side before passing your judgment. Take the gavel, make your decision and slam because you are the judge in this courtroom.
KUNLE ADEPEJU MEMORIAL DAY: TO BE OR NOT TO BE