“You were a genius, but Nigeria did not protect you”
•Marritta, wife of murdered OSUSTECH lecturer mourns
As the controversy surrounding the killing of a lecturer at the Applied Mathematics Department of the Ondo State University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa (OSUSTECH) Prof. Gideon Okedayo rages on, his wife, Marritta and co-lecturers here express different views on the circumstances of his death as contained in this piece by HAKEEM GBADAMOSI.
The frantic search for the abducted lecturer of the Ondo State University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa, (OSUSTECH) Prof. Gideon Okedayo, ended in tragedy last week when his decomposing body was found in a bush in Edo State after he was abducted by some unknown gunmen.
Okedayo, who until his death was a lecturer at the Applied Mathematics Department of OSUSTECH was kidnapped along with his driver while travelling to his Igara hometown in Edo state, but was found dead after four days of his abduction.
The news of the death of Okedayo shook the academic community and the state to the core while the authorities of the school and colleagues of the deceased called on security agencies to look beyond ordinary abduction but a planned murder which was neatly orchestrated by the perpetrators.
The institution’s branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU), insisted that the killing of the professor was likely a “case of assassination and not kidnap as speculated.” They argued that the deceased body was found around where he was kidnapped.
They explained that after the kidnap of the Professor, his driver who was also beaten mercilessly by the hoodlums was released with the vehicle, a Toyota Corolla car, but reported the incident at a police station in Edo State.
The lecturers also hinged their suspicion on the premise that family members of the deceased were not contacted while there was no demand for ransom to ensure freedom for the late Okedayo.The family waited endlessly for the abductors of their breadwinner to establish negotiation with them, only to learn about his discovered decomposing remains in the bush.
They however alleged the security agents of lapses in their findings noting that if necessary checks and investigations were carried out by the security at the spot of the incident, they would have either rescued or discovered the victimed body earlier.
The union described the development as sad to ASUU and his family members, noting that “the abductors never called anybody, either ASUU or Okedayo’s family for ransom.”
While speaking on behalf of the lecturers in the school, the Chairman of ASUU, OSUSTECH branch, Dr Dipo Komolafe called on the “security agencies to carry out thorough investigation into the death of Prof. Okedayo,” noting that the matter was more than a case of kidnapping.
It was gathered that Okedayo’s decomposing body was found last Monday in the bush, where he was captured by his abductors and might have given up the day he was captured.
Describing the death of the late lecturer as a death too many, the state government condemned the murder of the lecturer by the unknown gunmen who abducted him, describing the killing as heinous and barbaric, while the death was a great loss to the nation and the academic community
The state governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, while speaking through his Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Media and Publicity, Mr. Ojo Oyewamide, called on security agencies to get to the root of the abduction which led to Okedayo’s death and other avoidable killings that have pervaded the nation lately.
Akeredolu who also sent a state delegation to commiserate with the family of the deceased however, condoled with the family of the deceased and OSUSTECH, his last place of work, just as he prayed to God to give them the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss, and assured the family that the perpetrators of the wicked act would be brought to book.
Breaking her silence for the first time after the gruesomely murder of her husband by killers who abducted him in Edo state on his way to his home town in Kogi state, Mrs. Marrietta Okedayo lamented that the country failed to protect her husband despite his ingenuity.
Marrietta while showering encomium on her late husband said : “You were a genius with no match, but Nigeria did not protect you. My husband was embedded with relentless capacity to speak the truth at all times and act fearlessly because, you have God’s backing.
“Without ambiguity, you are a man of great finesse, industry and a lover of people. You were a devout Christian and a pastor indeed who lived an exemplary life which I am still emulating till this very moment. You were a great disciplinarian, academic, a father and a mentor. You were a genius with no match, but Nigeria did not protect you”.
In his sermon, at the service, a pastor in charge of Ondo Province 5 of RCCG, Pastor Johnson Umoren said “death was no respecter of anyone, describing the late don as a committed man of God who had made his impact in the academics and the church.
“Therefore as we mourn, we should not mourn as those without hope. We are very sure he is resting with the Lord. You must summon courage to forge ahead and continue where he has stopped. This I know will gladden his heart.
“To the wife and children. Don’t forget you are not alone, the good Shepherd has promised not to leave nor forsake you . We pray the Lord to continue to protect, keep you, raise help for you in time of need and satisfy you with long life”.
He urged the government to do more in improving security in the country.
The Vice-Chancellor, of the instutution, Professor Sunday Ogunduyile also called for urgent and more proactive approach to tackle insecurity in Nigeria, describing death as inevitable and would come at the appointed time but said Okedayo’s death came as a rude shock to the university community.
He said “The reaction of the death news on my physical body was immediate stomach “ rebellion” leading to the toilet: By the time I came to myself, I realized that my judgment about the insecurity in Nigeria became more unacceptable and condemnable”
He however said the academic community “will miss him as a great and unforgettable friend, worker, as the Dean of emerging postgraduate school, a former head of department of mathematics who worked assiduously along with others. His dedication to the growth of OSUSTECH and his community are legacies that would remain indelible forever”.
Following the development, the students and lecturers of the state Polytechnic held a procession on the campus as a mark of respect for the late lecturer, raining curses on the killers of Okedayo amid tears. The students who also marched round the town, cursing Okedayo’s killers lambasted the government over security lapses across the country.
Meanwhile,the All Progressives Congress, (APC), in the state also expressed shock over the killing of Okedayo, describing the murder of the university lecturer as wicked and inhumane.
In a statement signed by the State Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Alex Kalejaye, decried kidnapping, killing of law abiding citizens and other criminals operations, saying they are repugnant and condemnable.
He said governments at all levels would not relent in their sincere pursuit of security measures to ensure the society is made safe for all, and said “I am sure Professor Okedayo had many plans; certainly, descending to the unknown world prematurely was not one of them. May the merciful Lord grant his good soul a resting place.
“It is just unspeakable for a man who had assisted in the mentoring and nurturing of many undergraduates over the years to be so hacked to death.”
The State Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO) Mr. Femi Joseph, who described the abduction and killing of the late Professor as barbaric said the incident happened outside the state but assured that detectives would fish out those behind the abduction and killing of Okedayo.
But the family and associates of the late lecturer demanded for thorough investigation into the matter in order to unveil those behind the dastardly act and bring them to book.