The Ife Diocese of the Anglican Church is still in shock about the allegations of sexual misconduct levelled against a Venerable in the church, Prof. Akindele who is also a Professor at the Department of Management and Accounting, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife. Clergymen and members of the church are obviously crestfallen about how the man of God allegedly fell cheaply during a telephone conversation between him and a yet to be identified female student. The telephone conversation which was leaked went viral on the social media platform.
To compound the negative publicity which the matter has given the professor, the university and the church, prominent media houses all over the world are showing keen interest in the sex-for-mark scandal. In the recorded telephone conversation, the professor was allegedly heard demanding to have sex five times with the lady before he would upgrade her mark from 33 to a pass, which is regarded as just ‘let my people go.’
Findings by our correspondent revealed that Akindele is a well loved preacher by members of the church many of who declined to make any comment on the issue but blamed everything on the devil. They described him as easy going and generous.
Due to the damaging effect of the allegation, the church has also not said anything on the matter. Efforts made by our correspondent to even get the telephone number of the professor among his colleagues were thwarted while members and preachers in the church also declined to speak on the issue. But one of the people in the town eventually gave out the contact.
Efforts by our correspondent to speak with the professor were unsuccessful. The professor did not respond to the calls put across to him. But when our correspondent sent chats to him through the WhatsApp introducing himself to him, he simply replied, “What can I do for you, Femi?” He had yet to reply subsequent questions sent to him as of the time of filing this report.
Our correspondent visited the Bishop’s Court at Parakin Estate in Ile Ife where The Bioshop of Ife Anglican Diocese, Rt. Rev. Olubunmi Akinlade resides but workers there who showed aversion to the presence of a journalist at the holy habitation almost drove him away. The very hostile receptionist and secretary at the place said the bishop had travelled out of town and they did not know when he would return.
However, one senior clergyman at one of the Anglican Church parishes in Ile Ife who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said the church would not speak on the matter. Although he said he was not in the right position to speak except otherwise directed by the bishop, he explained that the bishop would also not speak on the matter because the alleged offence was not committed in the church or against a church member.
The clergyman said, “You don’t need to come and interview the Bishop or any member of the church. What do you want us to say? We can’t speak on the matter. What happened was between a lecturer and a student and it probably happened on the campus, so, what do you want the church to say on it? If it had been an allegation of a rape or sexual misconduct against a member or that the man in question did what he was accused of while ministering, then the church would have spoken but not on this case. I am sure that the bishop will not talk to you or any journalist on this.
“The university has set up a committee to probe the matter. The church will not speak on it until after the university must have made public its report. We do not have anything to say on it for now. So, let us wait and see what happens next.”
At the university, two students of the department told our correspondent that the man was not the only sexual culprit in the university but that he was just the unlucky one this time round. The students were obviously happy about the case but they preferred to speak on condition of anonymity for fear of persecution.
One of them who identified herself as Tayo (not real name) said she was told by a former student of the department that the professor did not just start the act today.
She said, “This did not just start today. I was told by one of my seniors in the department, the lady had graduated. She said that the man troubled her friend for about two years before she graduated. She did not tell me if the man succeeded in having his way but for a lecturer to be pestering a student for sex for that long, you know that the lady might probably have succumbed to the pressure just to graduate. It is sad and this must be stopped.”
Another student at the Faculty of Administration said the university was replete with lecturers who take advantage of their students. She said that the lecturers knew that they could not be challenged, adding that that was why it had continued.
She said, “I salute the courage of the student who blew the lid over the can of worms here. I am happy because this will make wicked lecturers like him to have a rethink. I know that they will not stop, they may stop discussing such issue on the telephone but the unlucky ones among them will still be caught one day. The lady did well. Help tell them to leave female students alone. They should go and meet their wives for sex if they are hungry for it or they should patronise Oloso (prostitutes) if they want to have sex by all means.”
A Facebook user, Lara Owoeye-Wise, also corroborated the claims of the students that lecturers have been using female students as sex slaves at the department and other departments in the university for a long time.
Owoeye’s post read, “ I left Ife twenty years ago and I remember one of my part two accounting friends telling us to pray for her because one of her lecturers insisted on sleeping with her before she could pass his course. She did not give in and we prayed over it.
“ The man changed his mind and said he was only testing her. I sent this latest clip to her to tell her how things have not changed over twenty years after in the same department. She currently lives in Ireland. She responded to my message that this professor in the news was the same lecturer then who was pestering her. I have had a few chats with people who finished from that department and they said everyone knows about him.”
Most of the colleagues of the professor approached by our correspondent, however, declined comment on the matter. But one of the two lecturers in the university, who spoke with our correspondent on the matter also said the professor was not the only one in the act but that he was just unlucky to have been caught by the student who recorded the conversation where he made sex overtures to her.
One of the lecturers at the Faculty of Social Sciences said, “What happened to Prof. is unfortunate. It is a bad publicity for us lecturers, students and the entire university community but this is happening here like it is happening in other schools.
Sexual exploitation and coercion is not only restricted to lecturers and students alone. It cuts across. Lecturers to lecturers, even the married female lecturers are sometimes coerced by some who go after anything in skirts. It is terrible!
“There was a case of a young female lecturer at the Faculty of Education, who was frustrated by a particular professor for nine years. The professor demanded sex from this female lecturer but she refused to yield and the stubborn professor also insisted on having sex with her for her doctorate. The lady had to abandon her programme here and went to the University of Ibadan where she eventually bagged the degree.
“There is this anger especially among some female lecturers; those who had been exploited are angry and those who are being coerced are not happy and I think they might be the ones who asked the lady in the present case to record their conversation. This is a great lesson for anybody involved in the act.”
A non academic staff member at the university also said the case of sexual harassment and coercion also happened among non-lecturers. He said superiors there also coerce their subordinates to have sex with them but nobody would own up that this is happening. “Except this kind of latest case, nobody will admit to be doing it. Even those who are victims don’t come out and that is why the practice has continued.
“Sexual harassment happens almost everywhere. There are some non academic staff who date students. Some use their positions to do it while others entice the students with material things. I think apart from the immorality there, dating students who are presumed to be adults is not a crime especially if such persons are not assessing the students and do not have anything to use to force the students; it is usually a game between consenting adults,” he added.
He also recalled the case of another professor who was known as Agbako. He said Agbako was notorious for having sex with his students until some years ago when a student came forward with evidence against him. The man was sacked.
He said, “There was a case of another professor whose surname is the same with the man at the centre of the storm now. He was sacked eventually. That is why some are saying the man at the centre of the current case had been caught before. He is not the one but they have the same surname though not related.
“I remember when that case was blown open three years ago or thereabout, a particular lady informed me that that professor had sex with her friend on many occasions. She said that her friend would come to her then and both of them would weep each time after the professor had had sex with her. Things like this have been going on for a long time and I don’t think it can end now.”
But the Chairman of SSANU at the university, Ademola Oketumbi, when contacted by our correspondent quickly debunked the claims against some members of the non academic staff. He said he had never heard of any case of sexual harassment or sexual coercion or sex for favour among the non academic staff.
Oketumbi said, “There is no case of sexual harassment among our members. That is a capital no! Nobody has even complained to me. That is not happening among us at all.”
But one of the former colleagues of Akindele spoke with our correspondent and defended the embattled professor. He however admitted that the lecturer played into the hands of the female student, who he described as a ‘slay queen.’
The lecturer admitted in confidence to our correspondent that he himself had entered into relationship with students when he was at the OAU when he started as a young lecturer , but he said he never promised to give any of the girls marks.
The lecturer said, “Well, there are some clouds over this audio recording. First, it is not enough evidence in itself. Second, the OAU will need a forensic audio expert to analyse the audio and establish that it is that of the lady and the prof. Also, the lady in question must be willing to give oral and open evidence and the telephone provider must confirm the call log showing the two numbers, time of the call, the two locations and length of the call.
“Also, the professor can claim that the lady cloned his voice. It is a difficult case and everything depends on the resolve of the lady and technology to unravel the mystery and punish the offender. It is a very difficult case. The lady and technology are the two major factors that will make or mess it up. Also know that the lady has also committed a crime by recording the alleged conversation without the consent of the professor. This is not a simple case and I am not emotional about it. Experience tells me that the alleged professor is not in good terms with his colleagues in the department. It just doesn’t happen this way in Nigerian universities. There are some lecturers who encouraged the lady to take this type of action. You need to come down here to see how we ‘shoot’ down our colleagues.
“I hate it when people allow sentiments to override deep and intelligent reasoning. Note that the female student is not the only one in the class. There are other very brilliant girls in the class who scored good grades. Such will never engage any lecturer in this kind of cheap blackmail. They know why they are in school and they are serious about passing out in flying colours.
“The lady started the conversation, which means she was up to set up her lecturer. In law, you ask what is her motive(s). From the discussion, it was clear the lecturer was merely playing on her intelligence. He was not ready to meet her at all. And, they never met or actually perform the act. And, the lecturer did not add anything to the girl’s mark. In the whole episode, no act was actually committed by the lecturer.
“It was clearly established that the girl was not really interested in the act , even if it’s just a round. Her motive was just to blackmail the lecturer, which is exactly what is happening now. Unfortunately, the beast has no clear identity, she’s fake.
“If the girl is woman enough, let her come out and claim responsibility for the conversation. I bet you, she will end up in jail for character assassination. By making this a social media issue is a further confirmation of her dirty intentions. She’s is not even smart enough doing it. A dull student will always be dull in everything, even on bed. Idiot!
“Anybody, can fall victim of blackmailers like this. Those in the academics, males or females, should begin to be more careful how they relate with all these “slay queens” on campuses. Maybe, this is their new style.”
However, the Chairman of the Congress of University Academics at the OAU, Dr. Niyi Sumonu, has called on the management of the university to carry out a thorough investigation into the matter.
Sumonu said investigation would reveal what happened and who were involved. He said, “If it is established that the recording is true, then the man is not fit to be in the academic environment.”
The Vice Chancellor, Eyitope Ogunbodede, has also come out to say that the university would investigate the case while the Public Relations Officer of the institution, Mr. Abiodun Olanrewaju, said a committee had been constituted and a query had been given to the professor. He said the committee would turn up their report within a week with a promise to make it public. (Punch)