BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
The ancient city of Ile-Ife in Osun State was in total lockdown on Monday as aggrieved indigenes continued their protest against the appointment of a non-indigene of the town, Prof. Adebayo Bamire as the 12th Vice-Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University.
Recall that the indigenes had kick started their protest last week Friday after the university authorities announced Bamire as the new VC elect out of the sixteen candidates that were interviewed for the position. An indigene of Ile-Ife who also contested the office was said to have come 9th in the race. Bamire is said to hail from Oyan town, in Odo-Otin Local Government Area of Osun State.
The protesters, while carrying placards with several inscriptions amid solidarity songs, had on Friday, blocked major roads, including the popular Sabo junction, Enuwa Square, and Lagere. They disrupted the movements of public transports in all the areas they passed before storming the campus gate.
There was commotion at the school gate as the protesters allegedly assaulted those manning the gates before shutting them. They closed the campus gates, both Road 1 and Road 7, leaving commuters stranded.
Some of the protesters were sighted beating commercial motorcycle riders said to be members of non-teaching staff of the school. They, however, allowed students and workers who could trek to and from the campus but restricted vehicular movements for some hours.
On Monday, the indigenes regrouped as early as 7:00am at the campus gates and locked them. They prevented workers and students from entering the campus neither did they allow anyone to go out. It was gathered that the disenchanted indigenes had warned commercial drivers and motorcyclists not to operate in the town. To this end, there was a total vehicular restriction as areas such as Sabo, Lagere that lead to OAU were blocked.
A message that went in circulation in the university community on Sunday night read, ” Good evening all. This is to notify all out members that National Road Union (Bus drivers Ife Unit) will not be working tomorrow, please, let’s find another means of transportation for tomorrow (Monday). Extend the notification to any of your siblings. Thanks.”
Traders within and along all the roads leading to the campus were not allow to display their wares. The gate leading to the popular Sabo market was shut down while no trader was allowed to sell. The campus and its environment were desolated after students and workers were turned back.
Some of protesters threatened to continue their demonstration until an indigene of the university host community is announced the Vice-Chancellor.
“We did not steal neither are we fomenting troubles, we are only seeking for our rights from the university authorities to make an indigene of Ile-Ife to manage the university. So, all of us should return to our houses. Our children that are working on the campus are only slaving, we also want them to be bosses on Obafemi Awolowo University. Great Ife!” An elderly protester said during protest.
Meanwhile, since the protest began on Friday, academic and administrative activities on campus have been distrupted. On Monday, it was gathered that there was no lecture as workers and students were not allowed entry into the campus.