Thursday, November 14, 2013

Farewell Festus Iyayi, Hero of Justice and Truth

Prof. Festus Iyayi. President of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) from 1986 to 1988. He was born in 1947, in Ugbegun, Ishan, Edo State.

Comrade Festus Iyayi, the first African writer to win the Commonwealth Writer's Prize for Best Book Overall for his classic Nigerian civil war novel Heroes in 1988 has died with his boots on in active service for justice and truth in Nigeria.
He paid the supreme price in supreme sacrifice to secure the future of the poor masses of his socialist cause for true democracy and governance in the most populous country in Africa.

The issues he raised and addressed in his sociopolitical novels and essays have finally cost him his illustrious life as he was killed on Tuesday November 12 in an auto-crash in Lokoja when his vehicle was hit by a Nigerian Police escort truck (Toyota Hilux) in the the convoy of Kogi State Governor, Captain Idris Wada (retd.) The Kogi Sector Command of the Federal Road Safety Commission blamed the driver of the police escort truck for reckless driving by overtaking another vehicle in the convoy and then ramming into the Toyota Hiace bus belonging to the University of Benin's chapter of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in which Mr. Iyayi and two others were travelling in the opposite direction. Eye witness accounts reported that Iyayi's vehicle somersaulted three times before hitting a big tree in the bush. He died on the spot.

This tragedy is not unlike the other numerous preventable tragedies in Nigeria that made Iyayi to write Violence, one of his fantastic novels, which include The Contract and Awaiting Court Martial.
Festus Iyayi will be remembered as a highly principled African writer and one of the fearless champions and heroes in the nation building of a New Nigeria in the leadership of Africa.
May his great soul rest in peace.


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