Yesterday, the 9th of April, an audio conversation between a professor of Management and Accounting, at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Professor Richard Akindele and a female student, where he demanded sex for grades, was released. It has been trending since then.
There has been no response from the accused and it will be wrong to pass judgement based on the testimony of one person. Okay, I am no Judge but we know that where there is a Plaintiff there must be a Defendant.
However, I can state here, that Sexual Assault in Nigerian Universities is as old as my great grandmother’s cooking pot ! it is not a new thing and yours truly was a victim in many instances. I will tell the story of one incident.
I was a final year student of pharmacy, and as expected, found out that I needed more than 24 hours in a day! Studying at this stage also involved finding the right place at a particular time. I mean, if I could climb trees, I probably would have tried climbing on one of the tall trees around the faculty.
It was a Saturday morning, the Sun had not yet brought out its fangs, so I decided to read under the trees, in a somewhat quiet faculty, the Faculty of Education. I mean, it’s no News that except the students there had lectures they were not going to be hanging around the classes on a Saturday morning!
I got a desk and chair and sat under a very large tree. The breeze encouraged the branches to sway and i could have been in a fully air-conditioned office.
As i commenced studying, I noticed this man walking up and down the hallway and then kinda chuckling when he passed. he must have done this waltz 10 times . I took time off my acada to survey the dude. I could see tribal marks on his face ( similar to my Grand dad’s). Okay nah, my peepu -my peepu !LOL!
My people are very superstitious and fearful of stuff that has ‘spirishua” connotations. So I knew this man was going to come to me eventually (girls know these things !), so I prepared my self, picked my words and put on my “acting being “..(please don’t even ask me what that is, LOL).
True to my assumptions, the dude came down the hallway, walked towards me, pulled a chair and sat facing my table. As he sat, baba, (obviously a lecturer), shut my book, just so that he could open the first page for my name ( imagine that ! what if I had borrowed the book??). He said” ah, Yoruba ni e, mo fe fe e you know?” ( ah, you are Yoruba, I want to befriend you, you know?) .. I didn’t look up as he spoke. I felt some degree of rage, how can he shut my book with a hand that shows his wedding band and be telling me about befriending me? person wey no sabi me?
I looked up slowly ( azin ayamatanga style) and said: ” Excuse me sah, Ebo ni mi o” ( excuse me, sir, I am a sacrifice o).
The Baba pushed back his chair and said: “ah, deacon ni mi, ni Baptist” ( i am a deacon in the Baptist Church). For the life of me, I don’t know why he felt he had to make that confession to me ..hehe.. he opened back my book, got up and walked away. It was difficult, I wanted to laugh and even roll on the floor sef, but I couldn’t, I had to keep my “acting being ” on so that I could study, even if for an hour.
when I got back to the hostel, I described him to some girls in that Faculty. They told me Prof was their Dean, well…. I never saw Prof again.