At death last week, Bello Aidoloje was still under 60. In an era when politicians very close to the age of 80 are contesting for power across the world, Aidoloje certainly had more to contribute to nation building.
But death has proudly stolen him, leaving mourners such as Lagos lawyer, Onyeisi Chiemeke, with impotently taunting death: do not be proud.
‘Justice’ Chiemeke has every reasons to feel the loss. The twosome and many others were student activists at the University of Benin in the days before the authoritarian locusts descended on the campuses and turned them from spaces of knowledge consumption and production to spaces for militants of counter-cultural practices – cultists, permanent students, (spies), religious and ethnic bigots, thugs and sundry characters. Now, the Nigerian State is lost in its charade as it is overwhelmed by its own products of cultists, campus gangsters and sundry militants.
Intervention is sure that they must be wishing that a platform such as NANS which was a helpful leadership training ground could come back into the equation. Unfortunately, the quality of education today can only produce intellectual gangsters for whom egocentric consumerism is more important than the public spiritedness, democratic skills and internal criticism that the early NANS taught students in theory and in practice.
The difference between Bello Aidoloje’s generation of student activists and today’s ideologically unformed bunch coming out of devastated universities should be a lesson for an unthinking State. It is doubtful if the Nigerian State is a thinking State. If it were, one should not be seeing the current efforts to undercut the Academic Staff Union of Universities, (ASUU). They want to kill ASUU today but without a thought to what will happen the day after.
Good night, indeed, to Bello Aidoloje!