Fond memories of the former President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), late Prof. Festus Iyayi, have continued to reverberate two years after his unfortunate demise.
Iyayi, a known union activist in the academia, was killed along Lokoja- Abuja Road, when his car ran into the convoy of the Kogi State governor, Idris Wada, thereby truncating his movement to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), where he was scheduled to attend the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of ASUU.
Though death, his comrades across Universities in Nigeria have continued to keep his flame aglow, by periodically relieving the ideals that he stood for through various academic platforms.
For instance, the ASUU chapter, UNIUYO devoted its recent memorial lecture to the contributions of its former President, recalling that his era was a defining moment in ASUU’s struggle for its place of relevance in Nigeria.
The lecture, which was delivered by the immediate past Chairman of ASUU, UNIUYO branch, Mr. Nwachukwu Anyim, titled “Do not agonize, but organize”, a title adapted from the late Prof. Iyayi’s catch phrase, dwells on the way forward for the youths.
He recalled that the late Iyayi originated the phrase “Do not agonize, but organize” as result of the many challenges he faced in the course of his labour activism, saying that “many of the improvements in public Universities are products of ASUU struggles in which the late Iyayi was at the forefront” he stated.
Anyim, also enjoined his colleagues to sustain the principles of the union, which include integrity, accountability, professionalism, objectivity, hard work, sacrifice, teamwork, patriotism, solidarity and antiimperialism.
In the same vein, the current ASUU Chairman of the institution, Comrade Aniekan Brown, pledged that the union at UNIUYO would immortalize past leaders who have invested their time and energy towards achieving the cause of the union.
He admonished his colleagues to be in the vanguard of ASUU’s quest to make public Universities to effectively play their roles as centres of teaching, research and manpower development, stressing that public Universities could only become attractive.
– Iniobong Ekponta, Uyo