The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy (CISLAC) has stated that it is with profound sadness that it received the news of the death, Tuesday of Nigerian renowned writer, academic and leading democratic activist, Professor Festus Iyayi, whose death occurred after a ghastly motor accident on Tuesday 11th November 2013 along the Auchi and Lokoja highway on his way to the national congress organized by Academic Staff Union of University in Kano.
In a statement, the group expressed that it remembers the tireless and committed efforts put in by the development oriented intellectual in the struggle for a better Nigeria.
‘We say without any fear of contradiction that the deceased was a famous
university don, who has contributed to progressive agitations and advocacy
for people oriented development, citizen’ welfare and emancipation. We
recall his tough stance on social and political issues, intelligent
articulation of trade union and progressive positions, thought provoking
opinions and pro-poor alternatives canvassed through his several
publications,’ Ibrahim Rafsanjani, leader of the group stated.
He recalled with nostalgia, the personal contribution of Festu Iyayi to
the development of civil society in Nigeria as he was a mentor and source
of inspiration to several activists and organizations in the sector with
his insightful advice and constructive inputs.
‘We regret once again, that one of Nigeria’s leading light in social
activism and progressive struggle is lost to the death traps we call roads
in Nigeria, which continues to claim the lives of innocent people on a
daily basis. This painfully calls to mind the loss of Chima Ubani, a
renowned activist who died in a similar circumstance several years ago on
his way from Maiduguri where he had participated in a sensitization rally
organized by the labour movement to resist the plan by the Nigerian state
to increase the cost of petroleum products and make life more miserable for
the toiling poor masses of the country.’
On the particular details of the crash, CISLAC stated that it was sad that Iyayi died in an accident that involved the convoy Kogi State governor.
‘We note with concern the arbitrary use of convoys and the recklessness with which they drive on our highways, endangering the lives of innocent people. One would have thought that after surviving an accident under such circumstances, the governor would be more circumspect in his
ways. We also call on all elected and appointed political leaders to deist from
the use of unnecessary convoys and caution their drivers to drive
carefully, respect traffic regulations and respect the rights of other road
It called on the police authorities to investigate the circumstances
resulting in the accident and ensure that any defaulting parties are
brought to justice in accordance with our laws.
Equally, the group tasked the federal government to immediately take steps to revamp the state of university education in Nigeria, a cause for which Iyayi lived and died so that his death would not have been in vain