Edo - Edo Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, paid tribute to the late Professor Festus Iyayi, the former leader of the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
The deceased, who was 66, died on in a car accident on his way to Kano where the union was scheduled to announce an end to the months-long strike that has paralyzed education at universities around the country.
Oshiomhole described Iyayi, who was born in Ugbegun in Esanland, Edo, as a true and committed Nigerian who “gave up his personal comfort and joined the masses in the trenches in the fight for a better society.”
“Iyayi was a distinguished Nigerian who served not only ASUU, but the whole Nigerian academic community. He had a passion for education and I am proud that he came from Edo State. I found him so resourceful that I appointed him a member of the Governing Council of the Ambrose Alli University. The history of popular struggles in Nigeria today will not be complete without a mention of Prof Iyayi’s selfless sacrifices and intellectual contribution,” said the governor in a condolence message the Chief Press Secretary, Peter Okhiria, signed.
Iyayi was president of the ASUU in 1986.
He was detained later that year when the union was briefly banned.
“He was a radical comrade capable of interrogating power and facing those in authority eyeball-to-eyeball on critical matters that affect the people, without calculating the political or economic consequences of his actions. Iyayi not only stood up and spoke out, but he inspired many to do same through his literary engagements and academic interventions in his quest for social justice, equity and fairness in the country,” read a statement from the Edo governor’s office.
It added, “Today is a sad day for the people of Edo State. It is sad day for the Progressive Forces, a sad day for the radical movement and a sad day for the community of Academic and even Non-Academic Staff. We truly have lost an illustrious Nigerian, a Pan-Nigerian who believes that this country can do better. My heart goes to his family and friends, the ASUU President and the entire Nigerian Academic Community and I pray God to console them and grant the late Iyayi eternal rest.”
– CAJ News