Aide denies Gov Wada’s involvement in Iyayi’s death


Prof-IyayiThe Chief Press Secretary to Governor Idris Wada of Kogi State, Mr. Rechard Elesho has debunked the allegations that the governor should be blamed for the of Professor Festus Iyayi along Abuja – Lokoja road during an accident involving his convoy.

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Elesho in a statement said the death of Professor Iyayi  was not only a great loss to all Nigerians, but to the academic community and the labour union and that the timing of the accident was painful and tragic, when viewed against the role the late Professor was playing in uplifting the educational system in Nigeria and bringing a closure to the ASUU strike which had lingered for so long.

He said, “Prof. Iyayi’s death like many others on Nigerian roads, occasioned by bad road and recklessness on the part of drivers of both government officials and private individuals and is most regrettable and very painful, calling for a moment of reflection and a change of attitude by road users.

“It is unfortunate that accidents kill more people in Nigeria after malaria.  Nigeria is ranked 191 out of 192 countries in the world with unsafe roads and with 162 deaths per 100,000 from traffic accidents. According to World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, over 1.3 million people are killed annually in road accidents while over 50 million people sustain different degrees of injuries from such crashes.

“Prof Iyayi’s death as painful and sudden as it was, is most regrettable and has no doubt delayed the resumption of students in various University campuses across the Country. He was on his way to Kano to attend a National Executive Council meeting towards the re-opening of closed universities. But Several commentators and writers have since the incident celebrated the death of Prof Iyayi. That of course is and was expected for the high caliber personality that he was. He was an acknowledged global academic icon.

“Most writers and those who showed concern since the death of a man many see as a role model, have painted the Kogi State Governor, Capt Idris Wada, in bad light. For these sanctimonious writers and commentators death is cheap and nothing is too sacred to be politicized. They seemed therefore in a hurry to hang the tag of a killer, murderer and hired assassin in the guild of a terrorist on the chest of the Governor. They were persuaded and went on unguided public campaign that the accident occurred because of over speeding, recklessness and wrong over-taking on the part of the Convoy.

“This is sad and rather uninformed. Those who know Capt. Wada can attest to the fact that though a mortal and not a saint, the Governor abhors violence and retains the highest respect for others. First, his upbringing as a Muslim instill the highest moral values on the sanctity of life. Second, his training and background as a Pilot of impeccable character commands no contrary view. Aviators like those in the medical industry are trained to protect life. Not to take it. They are care givers and not careless or reckless handlers. Certainly, the Wada that we know won’t hurt a fly as is now been imagined by many who have written out of emotions and lack of information.

“Yes, the death of the revered academic icon occurred sadly with the escort vehicle in the Governor’s convoy. However, it needs be clarified that the accident occurred after other vehicles in the convoy and of course, including Capt.  Wada’s had entered Lokoja. The ill fated escort vehicle was said to be trailing behind after it had a mechanical challenge. Even then, it is incontrovertible and government did not disguise the fact that the escort was part of the Governor’s convoy.

“Clearly, from the foregoing, the Governor did not supervise the death of the erudite scholar as being erroneously painted by a section of the media. Capt Wada got to know of the accident long after it occurred. It is said, “once beaten is twice shy”, thus, the Governor was overwhelmed with shock on hearing the news of the accident. Furthermore, the news about the death of beloved Prof Iyayi further compounded his sense of loss. And promptly he set aside other state duties in order to rush to the hospital on condolence when he did.”

He expressed concern over ways and manner his principal was being dehumanized by some section of media.

“The role played by the media in itself to announce the painful death of a leading academic guru was not out of place. What is worrisome is the manner most of the writers skewed the accident and involvement of the Governor who was made to look as someone who sped off the scene and didn’t stop to attend to the injured. This of course couldn’t have been true since the Governor was not present in person at the time of the ghastly crash.

“The news of the death of a man who had stood in the struggle and in the fight for human rights by his friends and associates, no doubt served as the first information the Abuja media had, which today seemed to have shaped the opinion of several writers and be clouded the writing judgment of several others.

“For those who know Captain Idris Wada at close range, his being painted the way it was reported in most media across the country does not portray his person. Captain Wada before and now as Governor, values and appreciates the right to life of others. So he does not seem to be one that endanger the lives of others. It was an accident that is most regrettable.”

The governor media aide said,  “Iyayi an internationally renowned scholar and commonwealth literature winner died in a manner that is painful and could have been avoided.

“It is unfortunate that the unconcerned attitude seen not to have been shown immediately the accident occurred led to his death. We must see it as the timing of God as painful as it may look.”

“Captain Wada  as Governor, has had cause to severally stop on the same Abuja Lokoja road to assist  and help in rescuing accident victims in the past. One now wonders why a man whose milk of passion transcend tribal and religious barriers would not stop if his vehicle is directly involved in an accident, he added.

He prayed for the repose of the soul of Prof. Festus Iyayi, besieging Almighty God to grant him eternal rest and give the family and Captain Idris Wada, who has been in the news for the death of one of Africa’s most committed scholars, the fortitude to bear this painful loss.



Babatunde Akinsola
Babatunde Akinsola
Babatunde Akinsola is aNaija247news' Southwest editor. He's based in Lagos and writes on the Yoruba Nation political issues, news and investigative reports

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