Festus Iyayi, a writer and former ASUU President, died on Tuesday.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), on Tuesday, mourned the death of its former President, Festus Iyayi.
Mr. Iyayi, a renowned writer, lecturer and activist, was on his way to Kano to attend the national congress of the union when the car he was travelling in got involved in an accident.
The President of ASUU, Nasir Fagge, had earlier confirmed the death of the unionist to reporters. He said “the sad news was broken to the union in the morning of Nov. 12.’’
PREMIUM TIMES had reported how Mr. Iyayi was killed when a car in the motorcade of the Kogi State governor rammed into his vehicle near Lokoja. He was said to have died instantly.
Reacting to the news of the demise of the don, Mr. Fagge told the News Agency of Nigeria in a telephone interview that he was shocked and could not utter a word.
He said “I cannot say anything right now. We have just lost one of our own, Festus Iyayi, who was very dear to us. I am mourning.’’
The immediate past President of the union, Ukachukwu Awuzie, said the news came to him as a rude shock and was still in doubt if it was true.
Mr. Awuzie, now the Vice-Chancellor, Imo State University, also said on telephone that he had been trying to get information on the
circumstances surrounding the death of Mr. Iyayi.
“I know the NEC executives of the union should be on their way to Kano, but I am still expecting the details of the death.
“Until I get full details on the circumstances of his death, I might not be able to say much,” Mr. Awuzie said.
Ahunna Okerengwo, the Chairman, University of Port-Harcourt chapter of ASUU, said the death of Mr. Iyayi was shocking.
When contacted on phone, Mr. Okerengwo said that she was on her way to ano for a meeting concerning the ASUU strike and was still shocked by he news.
She said that she would have a better appraisal of the situation when she got to the meeting. Toni Kan, a journalist and author of “Nights of a Creaking Bed” said that Mr. Iyayi’s death was a sacrifice.
He said it was another sad loss of one of the nation’s best. Damian Opata, the Head, Department of English, University of Nigeria,
Nsukka, said the death was unfortunate. “It is very sad coming at this time,” he said.
Born in 1947 in Ugbegun, Ishan in Edo, late Mr. Iyayi obtained a Master Degree in Industrial Economics from the Kiev Institute of
Economics in the former U.S.S.R. He became a lecturer in 1980 at the Department of Business
Administration, University of Benin.
Mr. Iyayi, who was the ASUU president in 1986, was also a known author with four books to his credit.
The late unionist won the Commonwealth Prize for Literature for one of his books “Heroes’’ in 1988.
The titles of other books to his credit are Violence, The Contract and Awaiting Court Martial.
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