It was weeping galore at the Trenchard Hall, University of Ibadan where the remains of slained Professor Opeyemi Ajewole laid-in-state for last respect from the University of Ibadan Academic community, friends, family and relations of the deceased.
The silence of graveyard was interrupted intermittently by cries as people listened to friends, colleagues, Chairman of Academic Staff Union of Universities, University of Ibadan Chapter, Prof Ayo Akinwole, President of Senior Staff Club Dr Bisi Lawuyi and representative of Forestry Association of Nigeria delivered their speeches.
Recall that Ajewole, a professor of social and environmental forestry, was gunned down in his Olororo, Ojo, Ibadan residence by yet-to-be-identified assailants on Monday evening, 5 June 2023.
Though the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Ibadan (UI) branch on Monday berated security operatives over failure to apprehend killers of the deceased four weeks after the incident, saying this speaks volume about the state of insecurity in the nation.
In his short message at the lying-in-state, Prof Ayo Akinwole, UI ASUU chairman, said the Union will continue to fight for justice and ensure that the police arrest the killers of their comrade.
“The merciless people have cut short the life of our Iroko. We will stay faithful to that course that you stood for. ASUU will not rest until the perpetrators are brought to book”
Dr Bisi Olawuyi, Senior Staff Club President, who recalled his last conversation with the slained Professor, stated that the late Iroko will forever live in the forest of “our hearts”.
“This iroko has not fallen. He forever lives in the forest of our hearts. The assailants may have done their worst, but he lives on. In the staff club he lived on in our hearts. Why are we dejected? I shared a personal relationship with Iroko. In one of my last conversations with him, I told him, “olori-ebi e maa se daadaa. And he replied, Bisi ma je ki n se daadaa nitori igi to ba to kii pe nigbo. If I shed tears, it’s not because I lost someone. In iroko, you have a trusted friend, a dependable ally. We will meet on the other side, Olori-ebi”
A representative of the forestry Association of Nigeria, Dr T Afolabi, said that late professor Ajewole contributed immensely to the association, igniting their conferences with his unique deliveries.
“It was never my plan to be here to see this. Iroko never merited this from me or the FAN family. He was unique. The children he left behind will carry on. he was a brother and I am going to miss him. I will miss his smiles. Our conferences were ignited by Iroko. It is pathetic and sorrowful. I called him the day he was killed. I have a message for those who killed him: Those who kill by the sword will die by sword. ”
As the remains were moved out of the Trenchard hall for the church service preceding final interment, friends and families could not hold back tears seeing one of their own in a lifeless state.
In his sermon, Pastor Samson Ajetumobi of Men of Issachar Vision, Ibadan said Ajewole’s life was cut short at his prime time.
He emphasised that those who planned and killed the deceased would also die by gun because blood of the deceased would get revenge.
“It is okay to die because it is price human beings have to pay but it is not okay to kill because it is purnishable before God and men, God determines our days, when you read through the scripture, you will see that dying is okay but killing is bad.”
“God hates anyone who sheds blood of the innocent. Nobody owns life. If a man killed, he will account for it.”
Dignitaries at the event include the Vice Chancellor (VC) of University of Ibadan (UI), Prof. Kayode Adebowale, Registrar, Mr. J.O. Saliu, Pro. Chancellor of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomosho, Prof. Deji Omole, Director General of Forest Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN), Prof. Zachariah Buba Yaduma and the Provost, Federal College of Forestry, Ibadan, Prof. Funmi Aderonmu, among others.