by Paul Osas
Leaders of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, have accused Kogi state governor, Idris Ichalla Wada of insensitivity to the plight of victims of the accident involving his convoy, that led to the death of a former ASUU president, Professor Festus Iyayi.
Contrary to the claims of the governors spokesperson that he showed care towards the injured survivors of the accident, a leader of the union said: “We are surprised that a state governor could resort to telling lies because contrary to the claim by his spokesperson that he showed care towards our colleagues, he did not.”
The ASUU leaders, including Dr. Biodun Ogunyemi; the Ibadan Zonal Coordinator, Dr. Nassir Adesola; the Chairman, Lagos State University chapter of the union, Dr. Adekunle Idris; Monye-Emina; Iyalo and lecturers from the Federal University Lokoja however sent the governor away from the hospital’s emergency ward where he had gone to visit their injured colleague, Dr. Ngozi Ilo, and commiserate with them over the death of their former President, Prof. Festus Iyayi.
Other passengers in the ill-fated vehicle were the Chairman, University of Benin chapter of ASUU, Dr. Anthony Monye- Emina; and the Benin Zonal Coordinator, Dr. Sunny Iyalo, who had minor injuries and were therefore not admitted into the hospital.
Speaking on behalf of the leaders, Dr Idris said the governor who drove off after the accident, only to show up 6 hours later at the hospital can not say he showed care, describing the governor’s action as the “height of insensitivity”.
He said: “Somebody that did not stop after his convoy killed our leader; somebody that did not come to the hospital until some minutes to 5pm (on Tuesday) after the accident that happened around 11am could not be said to be caring. That was why we chased him out of the emergency ward of the hospital and we also prevented him from seeing Prof. Iyayi’s corpse in the mortuary.
“We are not happy with the fact that he came very late to the hospital and the fact that when he came, his press crew attempted to take photographs and video record of Dr. Ilo, who is our national welfare secretary. We stopped them because that was the height of insensitivity.
“Somebody that could not provide us with an ambulance cannot be said to be caring. We had to call UNIBEN for an ambulance that took Ilo to the UNIBEN Teaching Hospital while our colleagues from the Federal University, Lokoja, with the assistance of the vice-chancellor, gave us the ambulance that was used to convey the remains of Prof. Iyayi to Benin.”
Idris added that though Wada left the hospital “like a gentleman,” some of his overzealous security aides tried to be naughty. He said, “Some of the policemen that followed him to the hospital wanted to be naughty but we lectured them. The hospital workers and the residents of Lokoja who witnessed how we chased the governor away were happy.”
But the Special Adviser, Media and Strategy to Wada, Jacob Edi claimed that the ASUU leaders did not chase his boss away from the hospital. He said, “When the governor went to the hospital, the ASUU people had a kind of adverse reaction to the governor. But they did not chase away the governor. Nobody chased away anybody.”
On his part, Adesola expressed dismay at the efforts made by the governor to rewrite the incident.
He said, “It was actually the last of the governor’s convoy that veered off the road and ran into a vehicle that was conveying Iyayi and others. When the governor’s convoy came with noise and harassment, everyone on the road moved to the side of the road for them to pass but unfortunately, the governor’s aide has told the world that an ASUU vehicle was avoiding a trailer and ran into their escort vehicle. What manner of reckless lying is that? The front of the ASUU bus remains intact except for the windscreen that broke. Iyayi was sitting at the back of the bus and the escort van ran into it.
“The most annoying part is that the incident occurred around 11am and the governor did not even visit the hospital until around 5pm. He came with a large number of pressmen and security aides and was attempting to make some political capital out of our misfortune. We actually had to chase him away from the emergency ward where our welfare secretary was still receiving treatment .”