By Tunde Oyekola
Overcome with grief and anguish, students of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife on Tuesday, 12th May, 2015 stormed Osogbo, capital of Osun State to mourn the gruesome death of their colleague, Miss Mary Motunrayo Ibitolu, who was knocked down by a reckless school bus driver in Osogbo.
Motunrayo,a 300 level Law student of OAU was knocked down last week Wednesday by a vehicle in front of Osogbo High School on Osogbo/Iwo road while coming from an errand to withdraw money from the bank for her father.
The OAU undergraduates and students of Our Lady and Saint Francis Catholic College (OSCCO), Osogbo, the Alma Mater of the deceased, could not control their emotions as they wept uncontrollably while chanting mourning songs during the candle light procession held in Osogbo to bid farewell to the late Law student.
Before the candle light procession that kicked off at the premises of OSCCO, through the popular Olaiya junction before the grieving students terminated it at Old Garage area, the Students’ Union of the university and its Law Students Society (LSS) had visited the Osun State Police Command in Osogbo to make enquiries on the driver of the school bus that crushed Ibitolu to death while she was on a motorcycle at Okefia area in Osogbo.
The institution’s student union President-elect, Kayode Omotayo, said in a release made available to our correspondent on Tuesday: “With a swollen heart, a grievous mind and a mourning soul we announce and take pain to inform you of the passing away of one of the shining-stars, dynamic and distinguished image of our union, whom we lost to the cold and vicious hand of death, who inadvertently fell the victim of being a Nigerian. The atmosphere that clouded her untimely death and the event that sent her to her early grave is more than clear to the media.
“The Great Ife union believe that the inept of the government both at the state and federal level have continued to hunt the innocent Nigerian students. We discovered that late Miss Mary Motunrayo Ibitolu, who was an epitome of beauty and brilliance cum intelligence, upon her accident, was not quickly attended to by medical personnel; the vehicle that hit her was not by any standard of traffic regulations supposed to be on the road.
“If the apparatus of the government had been up and doing, the young lady could have been saved or even avoided the death. However, we have come to the reality that she is no more with us. The Great Ife community continues to mourn Miss Mary Motunrayo Ibitolu who will forever remain in our heart.
He, however, challenged the leadership of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) to rise to the welfare of its students nationwide by working on putting a lasting solution to the incessant untimely death of students.
Speaking with our correspondent on the outcome of the meeting with the police in Osogbo, the Vice President-elect of OAU Student Union, Miss Oladunjoye Opeyemi, said the union was not satisfied with the response of the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mrs Folashade Odoro on the whereabouts of the driver saying, “the police seem to be hiding something from us as regards the school bus driver that killed our Motunrayo because the PPRO refused to tell us plainly whether he (driver) was arrested and when prosecution would commence.”
While maintaining that the union would do everything in its power to ensure that justice was done, Oladunjoye charged the police to come out clean on circumstances surrounding the ugly incident and ensure that the culprit is brought to justice.
Although Oladunjoye disclosed that the PPRO had said the strike embarked upon by the Osun State judiciary is delaying the arraignment of the suspect, she, however, commiserated with the bereaved family.
It was tribute galore for late Ibitolu during the candle light procession in her honour as the students described her as a committed, brilliant, hard-working and God-fearing person who contributed immensely to the survival of indigent friends.
Speaking at the event, the President of OSCCO Alumni in OAU, of which Ibitolu was the Vice-president, Mr. Adesiyan Adedolapo, said the untimely departure of Ibitolu had created a vacuum in the association, describing the deceased as humble and accommodating.
Other associations to which Ibitolu actively belonged are Nigeria Federation of Catholic Students (NFCS), Catholic Law Students Association of Nigeria (CALSAN), Law Students Society, Equity Chambers and Alter Servers Association.
The leadership of these associations paid tributes to Ibitolu, saying she left a lasting legacy in her short period on earth. The associations prayed God to grant her family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
One of Ibitolu’s friends, Adepoju Opeyemi, said: “Tunrayo was one of the few virtuous ladies I know. Very God-fearing with the love of the less-privileged at heart . Tunrayo was a regular secret contributor to the motherless babies’ home, paid JAMB and WAEC fees for people she knew could not afford it. She was a very active lady who held various positions in all groups she belonged to. She will be greatly missed!”
Friends and colleagues of Ibitolu had stormed social media to pay tributes to her. They described her a happy person during her lifetime. The students commented on facebook, twitters and other social media platforms. One of them identified as Akinwale Albert posted thus: “ I take solace in the fact that she lived a happy life. I have never seen her frown for once. I will miss her smiles. May her soul rest in peace.”
Ibitolu was said to have visited a bank to withdraw some cash but the bank staff asked her to provide her Identity Card before she could withdraw. Ibitolu had boarded a bike home to get the I.D. Card before she met her untimely death after a school bus crushed her to death.
Her remains were buried at the cemetery of Saint Benedict Catholic Cathedral, Popo, after a requiem mass held at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Okefia, Osogbo.