Kunle Adepeju: The Bus Stop Dialogue, A Playlet

On February 1, 1971, Kunle Adepeju, an undergraduate at the University of Ibadan was murdered by police officers during a protest for better welfare by UI students. To commemorate the 53rd anniversary, UCJUI is publishing a series of articles about the incident.

The third of these articles is a January 2016 playlet written to depict the circumstances surrounding the incident by Oredola Ibrahim


[In the evening. The Oduduwa road looks deserted. Student 1 is seen walking past Queens Elizabeth II Hall to the Bus Stop. In his early twenties. He walks carelessly with an earpiece plugged to his ears shaking his head probably to the rhythm of what he’s listening to. He stops at the Bus Stops and sits down on the wooden bench. He brings out his phone and he starts pressing it. Three minutes later, another young man – The Spirit of Kunle Adepeju, dressed in Buba and Sokoto with a slightly bushy hair, walks to the Bus Stop and picks his seat at the edge of the bench.]

The Spirit: (Calls out to Student 1) Hello, brother.

(Student 1 already immersed in the pressing of his phone and with ear piece plugged to his ear did not respond. He calls out again, still no response. He then moves to touch him.) Hello Brother (Still no response)

(Sits down dejectedly)

Oh! These sad moments bring back memories

Sorrowful experiences that raped the vulture of his stylish hair cut

Sad event that dyed the star in the colour of mourning.

This cold evening brings back the memories of a riddle

Embalmed in the path of a stray bullet

This cold evening brings back the cruel memory of my sad transition

To this formless realm…

(He shifts back to where he sat earlier)

I can see again, the reality of my journey

In the image of the wandering goat

I can see again, the reality of my path

In the image of a wayward sheep

The helpless lizard on the wall of memory

Reminds me of my deathly plight…

O ma se o.

(Another student, Student 2, walks to the Bus Stop dressed in the same Buba and Sokoto holding a book title, “”. He sits between Student 1 and The Spirit of Kunle Adepeju. Opens the book in his hand and starts to read.)

[Sighs]

Even the old ones have once tasted the succulent side of life

No doubt the rags have once swam through the tides of admiring eyes

Time.

Its pendulum swings are erratic

These places have really changed from what they used to be

[Suddenly seems to notice the changes in the administrative block]

Oh! My God, what has happened to the Ivory Court?

What has befallen its intimidating height

What in the world has crumbled the pride and elegance of the Ivory Tower

Where were the premier historians? Where were the architects?

What were they looking at when this abnormality was enthroned?

This is a MISS-innovation

But who did this…?

Student 2: [Not looking away from the book he’s reading]The Great Oracle has done it…hasn’t he been adjudged to be the wisest of the gods?

The Spirit: [Surprised] You can hear me? Can you hear me? [Moving close to him]

Student 2: That is the order of the day.

The stories are getting popular

The tales of history ravaged by mortal egos

The narratives of excellent memories being constantly raped

By the phallic roll of “accomplishments”…

The Spirit: Now that the purity of the premier heritage has been stained

What are the premier minds doing? Is no one saying anything?

Student 2:

When the gown itself is decorated with laurels of dirt

How then does it proudly walks a town grimed with ignorance

It is a pity, the mobbish cart now draws the learned horse.

[He closes the book]

The problem is not that problems have waged war upon our household

But, the alarming ignorance of our plight is no doubt our greatest challenge

A n tori oja ja, oja ni t’a lo n ja l’eyinkule mi

We haggle because of the market,

Yet she hopelessly questions the noises in her backyard

This is our headache,

Chasing dinner plates at the expense of fundamental struggles

Stopping extortion from the students’ leaders is unconstitutional

While a kobo increase in the fees is enough to lock the gates.

We said, “Stop the online results’ leakage, it’s a breach of everybody’s privacy”

They said, “No, we like it this way”

We said, “Stop the breach, it poses a risk to your person…”

They said, “Is it because you are on a third class?”

We said, “Stop it, it’s a disservice to the Ivory Tower’s creed”

They said, “Who cares…”

An gba oromo adiye l’owo iku, o ni won ko je k’oun l’akitan l’oje

Had the chicken not been ignorant,

Would she had insisted on going for a picnic

On the day, when the vultures parade the town?

This is our headache,

The Union’s membership is what is wrong with it

With their two eyes opened,

They vote for beauty at the expense of sense

With their two ears opened,

They vote for jingles at the expense of message

With their thumbs intact,

They vote for sentiments at the expense of strength

And when the seeds of their votes are planted

And the harvest reeks solely of the forbidden fruits of

Mismanagement

Misappropriation

Corruption

Leadership recklessness

Administrative irregularities

And so on…

The students yet lack the will to chase their leaders pants down

To Niser Park,

Demanding a comprehensive report of their stewardships.

This is our headache,

Those that are too serious to care about who leads them

Those that rationalise abnormalities

The Stockholm Syndromed ones that celebrate mediocrity

Worshipping the students’ leaders for doing the least part of their job

Those that arrogantly proclaim, “I don’t follow UI politics”

To these students, Kunle Adepeju is just the name of a building

And they will ask, “Is he really a hero?”

When they have no idea about the price of death.

Ask them,

About the time when rights were slaughtered

On the altar of high-handedness

Ask them,

About the time when passionate youths

Fiercely chanted the flammable songs of aluta

Ask them,

About the time, when unarmed students

Courageously stood their ground in the face of silent guns

Please ask them where they were,

When the bullet of oppression

Heartlessly pierced the heart of a helpless student

Ask them if they know,

When Kunle Adepeju fell in agony

Squirming  in the pool of his own blood…

The Spirit: Oh! Don’t remind me of that sad day again…

[Flashback to February 1st, 1971]

(In front of Hall One, students are seen gathered together chanting aluta song)

Soli-soli-soli

Solidarity for ever

Solidarity for ever

Solidarity for ever

We shall always fight for our right! *2

Chairman Mao: Of the greatest uites

All: Great!

Chairman Mao: Articulate Uites

All: Great!

Mao: Greatest Gbogbo

All: Gbogbo

Mao: Greatest Gbagba

All: Gbagba

Mao: Greatest da gbo gbo e ru

All: Da gbo gbo e ru

Mao: Greatest of the greatest uites!

All: Great ooo!

Mao: As we are all aware, we’ve all been on hunger strike for the past few days in peaceful protest against the malady going on in our midst…

All: Yes!

Mao: It is a common knowledge that the person of Apampa, the manageress of our cafeteria is an agent of the devil…

All: Yes oooo!

Mao: We all know of how she underfeeds us and thereafter take what rightfully belongs to us to sell to outsiders in Agbowo…

All: Oh! Yes, we know!

Mao: We told her and she said we can go on to do our worst!

All: Imagine!

Mao: We told Lambo, we wrote many petitions against her, we’ve done everything possible to draw the attention of the management to our plight…

All: Yes we have!

Mao: Unfortunately, he who has eaten dodo can never have the courage to tell ododo!

All: Yes oooo!

Mao: We decided to go on hunger strike, yet no one is bothered…

All: Abi ooo

Mao: Right now, the forces of Aluta have declared that Enough is enough!

All: Enough is enough!

Mao: We say no to Oppression! We say no Victimisation! We say no to high-handedness! We say no to Mismanagement! We say no to Corruption! We say no to Apampa! We say no to Lambo! We say nooooooooooo!

All: Nooooooooooooooooooooo!

Mao: Right now, we are ready for war! The forces of aluta is ready to shake this very school and we are ready to march for our rights. We are ready to sneeze!

All: Yes oooo!

Mao: Right now, I, Chairman Mao hereby declare war  on all forces against aluta…

All: Yeaaaaaaaaaaaah!

Mao: Right now, we will start going to all other halls of residence to call our brothers and sisters to join this march…Enough is enough! Let them know that we will never take this!

We no go gree o, we no go gree

Bring back our food, we no go gree

We no go gree, we no go gree

Bring back our food, we no go gree…

We no go gree o, we no go gree

Probe Apampa, or we no go gree…

[They marched off …]

[Queens Hall]

(In front of Queens Hall, the protesters have greatly increased in number as other students have joined them)

[VC’s lodge]

(Giving out orders to a security officer)

Lambo: What is wrong, again, where are they now?

Security Officer: In front of Queens Hall sir

Lambo: Then, how is that a problem?

Security Officer: They are becoming violent sir..and if care is not taken they will go over to Agbowo sir…

Lambo: Nonsense! What the hell is wrong with these bastards…I don’t know, they think they can do just anything…Go to the DPO, go and bring policemen to deal with them…

Security Officer: Ok sir!(Walks out)

Lambo: Arrant nonsense!

[Queens Hall]

(policemen coming down from their van…on seeing the policemen, the students flared up and they change the song)

How many people police go kill o

How many people police go kill

Eh, dem go kill us tire

Eh, dem go kill us tire

Eh, eh,eh, dem go kill us tire

How many people police go kill?

(The students now moving angrily towards the policemen.)

A Senior Police Officer: Bastards, I am only shooting one. Hey, shoot that guy!

A junior police officer: Sir, I can’t ooo

A Senior Police Officer: It is a command, I say shoot him!

A junior police officer: Sir, ah ah, I ca…ca….nt sir…

(Collects the gun and shoot a student in the leg. Everywhere becomes rowdy. The students’ anger is now fierce and they are all charging towards the policemen that shot the student. Now afraid, the policeman shot into the crowd to scare the students away but unfortunately the bullet lands on another student)

Student 3: Ha! Another shot? He shot another student!

Student4: Who is that? Is he alive?

Student 5: Ha…Kunle…it is Kunle…Please help!

Student 6: Oroooooooo!

[End of flashback]

The Spirit: Oh! My God…O ma se o. But wait, how did I get to that place? Where was I coming from? Where was I going? (Trying very hard to remember) Protest? Me? But if my memory served me well, I was not a student leader…What happened? Or was it a spell? Oh! My God, I don’t even know…

Student 2: Kunle Adepeju…Hmmmm

Some said he is a hero, others said he is not

Some said he was a student leader, others said he’s not

Some said he was a freedom fighter, others said he wasn’t

But the fact remains that Kunle Adepeju was a student

The fact remains that he was a student

The fact remains that he was in a protest

The fact remains that he was shot

The fact remains that he died!

Yes, he died of that stray bullet…

But his memory lives on,

His memory lives on in our heart not because he is or not a hero

But because of his sacrifice, though may not be deliberate

Who would be audacious enough to offer his head to break a coconut?

Who?

Though he didn’t intend it but his death is a symbol that it could be anybody

His death is a symbol of our struggle, of our quest in

Attaining a better world for all students in the country

Yes, he died of that stray bullet…

But his memory lives on,

In the building we named after him

In the statue we built for him

In the initiatives his name has inspired

Yes, he died of that stray bullet….

But he lives on in our memories

However, it is indeed a great pity

That those who inherit our Union

Have lost the map to the promised land

It is a pity that they have betrayed us

In our noble quest for victory

Sitting on the chair of power

And forgetting their mandate to liberate

It is a pity, that our leaders have transformed

To the very image of the devil we hunt

They promised us a sumptuous breakfast

But ended up treating us to a silent dinner of empty plates

What have we done wrong?

The innocent lives of students slaughtered

As sacrificial lambs for our plagued cause

Are they not enough?

Or do we need to raise our voice to the stars

Before we get it right?

There is nothing to describe the state of our leadership

If not to say that insanity has waged war upon our Union.

And yet, they say, we will get it right one day…

My question is when? When will that one day of sanity dawns

Where are we headed?

If we expend twenty years

In gathering the ingredients of madness

Where are we headed?

If we expend twenty years

In effecting a full blown lunacy

Where are we headed?

If we expend another twenty years

In preparing the way for lucidness

Where are we headed?

If we keep living yesterday everyday

And everyday has no place for tomorrow

Have we not rendered our future homeless?

They said our future is in our hands

They said we can only win when we are conscious

And that we can’t be conscious until we get to the promised land

This is our plight

As we look towards the setting sun

Hoping for a new dawn…

[Stands up, leaving only The Spirit of Kunle Adepeju]

The Spirit:[Deep sigh]

It is a countdown to tomorrow

And each step away to my destination

Is a step towards the rebirth of freedom

If wolves gathered

To plan the bloodbath of helpless calves

My step is embedded in the clenched fist of struggle

When letters like arrows pierce

The hearts of freedom fighters

My step lies in the lines of enliven rhymes

I am the sabre of a blown wind

The lamb of a made sacrifice

I was the rat that unwillingly belled the cat…

It is a countdown to tomorrow

And each second away from sunrise is a testament

To the failure of those who ganged up against justice

Those who massacred questions in the temple of lies

Those who in the bid to cover their shameful nudity

Danced away to the market square in their birthday suits

Those who in hiding their fears

Summoned a tiger to wrestle the lamb to death

Every second is a testament against the pallbearers

Who in the process of paying the act of respect

Plunge a star into oblivion.

They are those who embalmed promises with the oil of silence

Those who buried the seed of freedom

Not knowing that we would rise…

[Rises]

I rise,

From the pool of blood to the festoon of flowers

From the low-spirited dirge to a thunderous applause

From the fall of that bullet to grace the smiling rainbow

I rise,

Through the years of mockery and shame

When the cry was silent under the cover of the night

Through the days of oppression and exploitation

When  silence pays the obsequies of empty reverence

Through the times of self afflictions and map-less expeditions

When the blinds lead the failed procession of rights…

I rise today,

For tomorrow’s enactments.

[He walks out of the stage.]

[Lights out.]

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