By Samuel Ajayi
“Pray for me Uncle. They are coming for us at the police station and the policemen are running away. They are about setting the station on fire. Please pray for me.”
These were the last words of Adewunmi Seun Paul, a graduate of political science and native of Imojo-Ekiti, Ekiti State. He was one the youth corps members killed in Bauchi on April 19, 2011. He was actually calling the then Venerable (Now Bishop) Samuel Ojo who was then Provost of African Church Cathedral, College Road, Ifako, Ogba, Lagos. That is where I worship.
Seun did not just die. He was killed. Gruesomely killed. Ironically, no one was put on trial for his death and those of others. They were: Teidi Tosin (Kogi), Adowei Elliot (Bayelsa), Okpokiri Obinna (Abia), Gbenjo Ayotunde (Osun), Ukeoma Chibuzor (Imo), Nwazema Chukwuonyerem (Imo), Adeniji Jehleel (Osun) and Akonyi Sule (Kogi).
Some of those who killed these lights of their families probably walk free on the streets of Bauchi today shouting “Sai Baba”; the same thing eye witnesses said they were shouting as they macheted Seun and his colleagues to a most painful death!
If today hate speech (or anything close to it) has become an offence, Seun and his colleagues were killed because someone lost an election he was never destined to win in the first place and resorted to hate speech!
Candidate Muhammadu Buhari of the now defunct CPC had worked his supporters to believe that he could only lose the election if it was rigged, they went on rampage and targeted NYSC members. It was in same Bauchi that he told his frenzied supporters:
“Let us get the Kafri out of Ask Rock.”
Till tomorrow, Buhari never condemned the violence. In fact, he more or less goaded them on. Baboons were really soaked in blood as he said in his “love” (not hate) speech. Yet, hear same Buhari in 2017: “Opposition does not mean hostility, enmity or antagonism. Democracy needs opposition, one which is vibrant but responsible.”
As we continue this debate on hate speech, we need to know where we are coming from. Let those people, especially Yorubas, who could die for Buhari go and visit Seun’s still agonising mother and pray: “MAY YOUR FATE BEFALL US MA”
Then I will know they really love their man!
Note: Photos above show a distraught Seun’s mother (left) after the news of son’s death was broken to her. Second picture is Seun in his NYSC kit.