Posted by By YINKA FABOWALE, Ibadan on
A sad fate. That is the life story of Egbemu Ifie, University of Ibadan professor and traditional ruler of Apelebiri, a riverine Ijaw town in Delta State.
A sad fate. That is the life story of Egbemu Ifie, University of Ibadan professor and traditional ruler of Apelebiri, a riverine Ijaw town in Delta State. Denied a long-expected promotion as professor, Ifie died on the very day he received the confirmation letter of his appointment into the position by the university authorities.
The tragic date was Thursday, December 16. Ifie in company of his family was in high spirits. Early that morning, he had just received his letter of promotion whose effectiveness was back-dated to 1994.
He had told a friend that he intended buying a jeep with the 10 years’ salary arrears due him by the promotion exercise, shortly before setting out to Bolou Orua, Delta State for the funeral of his mother-in-law, Mrs. Diana Koroye (76) on the fateful day.
He did not reach the destination as he was killed in a fatal auto accident on the way!
Sources told Daily Sun, that Ifie was the only one of the occupants of the vehicle that died – a development which, as in the usual African society, has led to a puzzle and suspicion that he might have been a victim of witchcraft.
News of his sudden and mysterious death sent shockwaves across the U.I. campus where he lived. Although most students and staff members had gone on Christmas and New Year vacation, a few left lamented the tragic fate of Ifie, who had severally been head of the Classics Department. Mr. Olukayode Onipede described the deceased as "a humble, industrious and hardworking man, who was very painstaking in all he did".
Another member of the Faculty of Arts, who did not want to be identified, remarked that: "Prof. paid his dues. He deserved to enjoy the fruit of his labour. He had endured so much ill-treatment and injustice within the system. But alas….”
This remark, perhaps, alluded to the running battle Ifie had with the university authorities and colleagues in his department over an alleged plagiarism and high-handedness. For instance, it took a court verdict to quash his purported dismissal from the university over an allegation of plagiarism. He also had to contend with an alleged plot by staff of his department which saw to his ouster as head early last year.
In an interview published in the Daily Sun edition of Wednesday, May 26, last year, Ifie himself had accounted the two incidents to be on the low side of his otherwise fulfilling career. He had looked forward to retiring from service in 2007 to concentrate on his rulership of his kingdom.
A family man, the late monarch is survived by his wife, Yeidiere and many children among whom are: Yerinkeme (daughter) with a B.ED in French, Boboye (daughter) medical doctor, Idolo (son) MSC. Food Technology, and Kemefosu (son) studying for a Master’s Degree in Accountancy in the United Kingdom.
Others are: Apian and Sokere, Law and Agricultural Engineering students at the Ambrose Alli University respectively.
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