THEWILL gathered that one of the cars in the convoy of the Governor of Kogi State, Mr. Idris Wada, rammed into the vehicle conveying Professor Iyayi and some members of the union to Kano.
Two occupants of the vehicle were severely wounded and presently being treated in a local hospital.
The university don reportedly died at the scene of the crash which occurred at a bad portion of the Lokoja highway.
President Jonathan Says Saddened by Death
President Goodluck Jonathan has expressed dismay and sadness over the death of Iyayi.
In a statement by Reuben Abati, his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, the President commiserated with the family of the deceased and the leadership of ASUU over his tragic death.
The statement reads: “On behalf of himself and the Federal Government, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan commiserates with the leadership and members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on the tragic death today of former ASUU President, Dr. Festus Iyayi.
President Jonathan also extends sincere condolences to Dr. Iyayi’s family as well as his colleagues, friends and associates across the country and beyond.
The President joins them in mourning the renowned academic and award-winning writer who rose to national prominence in the 1980s with his courageous leadership of ASUU in its struggle for a better working environment for teachers and academics in the nation’s university system.
He is particularly dismayed by the fact that Dr. Iyayi has sadly lost his life while going to contribute to efforts to finally resolve the current ASUU strike which has unfortunately disrupted academics in most of the nation’s universities for over four months.
President Jonathan prays that God Almighty will comfort all who mourn Dr. Iyayi and grant his soul eternal rest.”
Delta Governor Mourns Too
Delta State Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, has expressed deep shock at the sudden death of the University of Benin teacher and called on players in the education sector, including the Federal Government and striking lecturers in the country to rededicate themselves to the pursuit of excellence at the tertiary level in honour of the deceased.
The governor in a statement by Felix Ofou, his press secretary, said the highest honour that the late Festus Iyayi deserved was the return to the pursuit of academic excellence in our universities and other higher institutions, arguing that anything short of this would have meant that the late activist might have died in vain.
Uduaghan recalled the heroic struggle and sacrifice of the late Professor and author for the working class as well as the university system, pointing out that the history of strikes and strive for higher academic goals in the country cannot be said to be complete without glowing references to the part played by the deceased while still alive.
The Delta State chief executive, an alumnus of the University of Benin, paid glowing tributes to his alma mater for providing a place of pride for the renowned poet, author and academic colossus who engineered new heights and defined the intellectual and working class struggle in a manner never experienced before his time; standing strong and speaking truth to power and championing the cause of the oppressed.
He therefore commiserated with the family of the deceased, UNIBEN, the people of Edo state, ASUU, the academic community and the nation at large on the painful loss and asked God to grant them the fortitude to bear the untimely passage of such a titanic labour leader.
Our Previous Report…
BEVERLY HILLS, CA, November 12, (THEWILL) – A former President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Professor Festus Iyayi has been killed in a fatal car crash.
Reports said the accident occurred on Tuesday morning somewhere around Lokoja, Kogi State, as he made his way from Benin to Kano to attend a meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) of ASUU where the union is expected to call off its four month old strike.