As the remains of the late ASUU president, Prof. Festus Iyayi, were laid to rest, on Saturday, in his country home in Ugbegun, Edo State, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of the state announced plans by the state government to immortalise him.
Speaking at a reception held at the Ugbegun Grammar School, Oshiomhole said the school will be rebuilt and renamed Festus Iyayi Memorial Grammar School. He also said a water scheme will be constructed at Ugbegun and named after the late Festus Iyayi to remind the people of who he was and what he fought for.
Oshiomhole said: “some of the things we can remember about the late Iyayi were his consistency, commitment and doggedness and he paid the ultimate sacrifice. He lived and died in the struggle and therefore we can say in truth that the struggle was his life.
“We celebrate that God used him and his colleagues to put education on a national discourse. God used him and his colleagues in ASUU such that today in every home the issue of state of education is on the front burner. It will no longer be convenient to downgrade the issue of education and because the future of countries are defined by its education and its human capital, what Iyayi and his colleagues have done and are doing is to put our future on discourse”, he said.
Saying that Iyayi would sorely be missed, Oshiomhole said “how do we remember him, how do we immortalise his name? When I visited his family house this morning, I said since Iyayi was also a contributor on how a worker can become the governor of Edo State, now that a worker is the governor of the state, this community of Ugbegun, by next Monday I will deploy one of our industrial rigs to provide a water scheme which will be named as Festus Iyayi water scheme for the benefit of the people of this community.
“Iyayi struggled for the proper position of education and education is only about nations. The people of Edo state will agree with me that one of the areas that government has tried to make a difference is rebuilding public schools that are as attractive as any private school in the State. When others are paying money to unidentified young men and women, in Edo, the Comrade President of ASUU, we decided to abolish school fees in both primary and secondary schools.
“I also want therefore that this school called Ugbegun secondary school beginning with the new budget which begins in January and by the special grace of God not later than February, we would have passed through all the processes and we will build this school to the new standard of Edo State; the school will be renamed Festus Iyayi Memorial Secondary School.
“That way, even after our death, the children yet unborn will know there was a man who was born to this community, who led national struggle, died in the struggle but his spirit and ideals never died, he said.
The occasion was graced by the President of ASUU, Dr Nasir Fagge, INEC Chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega, two other former Presidents of ASUU, Dr. Oladipo Fashina, and Dr Abdullahi Sule-Kano, Senator Odion Ugbesia, member of the House of Representatives, Hon Peter Akpattasson, ASUU Chairmen and members from across universities in the country, among others were also there.