Onofiok, while growing up, developed majuscule interest in social advocacy. He discovered that talking, and wishing things would fall the right track for the people wouldn’t yield any positive result. So he ventured into active students union activities as a step, back then in the prestigious University of Uyo.
Each time he mobilized campaigns that saw the emergence of students union Government leaders in school, he discovered that immediately after inauguration, their campaign promises for change became change of campaign promises; some of them would even sacrifice the interest and welfare of the students on the altar of selfish/personal interests.
Being constantly disappointed, Onofiok one day wake to the astonishment of students, declared an interest to run as the Students Union Government President. His aspiration rekindle in the students, hope that had long lost. Severally, he had maintained that he doesn’t have much to spend lobbying students for their support, but if elected into office, he will offer himself as the sacrifice for things to go well for the students.
He didn’t have to spend much. The students had contributed some money for his nomination form, and had also taken on themselves the burden of his campaign’s expenses. While trying to brief thousands of his supporters on a faithful day, he wept. The love showered on him by the students was unprecedented. He was short of words. He didn’t know how to express his heartfelt gratitude than to shed those tears. Finally, he was able to say something. ” I wouldn’t have had the money to purchase my nomination form if not because of all of you here. I wouldn’t have been able to embark on campaigns if not because of you all. By God’s grace, I’ll emerge as the SUG President. I will against all odds restore the lost glory of the Nigerian students. My loyalty to Nigerian students at every point in time will be unnegotiable. Take me, I offer myself as a living sacrifice to your course”.
The message had touched the heart of students. It was like a breath of freah air. No one wanted to be left behind for it was what every students had hoped for. On the election date, Onofiok recorded a flawless victory. I didn’t mean to say that other contenders didn’t try their best in the election. They were very popular, richer and more connected than Onofiok. But in all of these, none of them could score up to 15% of Onofiok’s vote.
Having beheld his popularity, the school authority as at then became afraid that the young Onofiok would not by any way succumb to their wishes. So they delayed his inauguration for about six (6) months after the election. This was the first of its kind anywhere in the country.
Six months later, he was inaugurated as the President, and the first meeting he had with the management of the school was for the negotiation of a 55% increment in school fee. In that same meeting, he was told of a certain percentage that would be accrued to him from the deal per student’s head. Considering his financial background, Onofiok would have become a millionaire as a student with this offer, but he kicked against it. He insisted that if the school management should go ahead in implementing the increment, he will definitely stand by the students to organize a protest against them. They thought the young man was a joke, that he would come back to ask for his share of the deal at the appointed time.
Few days later, the increment in school fee was implemented and announced. Just as promised, the SUG President led the entire students on a peaceful protest against the decision of the management. The news was everywhere, so the Federal Ministry of Education had to step in. The 55% increment in school fee was abolished. The Management became angered and was combing everywhere for the slightest means where they could deal with Onofiok in a special way.
Few of his friends and some students were invited for a meeting with the management. They were given heavy amount of money to testify against him that he is a cultist. Foolishly, they got the money, and the accusation was everywhere that the SUG President is a cultist. Having brought before the management, they didn’t wait for findings to be made. And because they were the brain behind the satanic accusation, innocent and God-fearing Onofiok was removed from office as the SUG President. It’s on records that he was the shortest served SUG President in Nigeria, and till date, the record is unbroken. He was inaugurated on August and removed in September. But within a month, he had done for the students what no students leader had done, even till date.
Shortly after his removal from Office as the SUG President, the school Management were still unsatisfied that Onofiok was in school. They again induced some students which afterwards, mobilized a protest against the Management. They made it looked as if the protest was Onofiok’s brainwork. Maybe in a bid to avenge his removal from office as the President. Things were destroyed and students were injured in the cause of the protest. The scenario had went beyond an ordinary protest, it was more of a cult fight. Because in every crime, there must be a punishment, Onofiok was expelled from school for something he had no knowledge of. The news was everywhere that Onofiok is expelled from school because of cult activities. Guess what! The same students he fought for were the ones helping to disseminate the news. Very few students knew what was going on, but they were unable to speak out for the fear of unknown. This was a conspiracy and betrayal against someone with the purest heart.
Having spent some time at home wallowing in pains and agony caused him by the same students he staked his life and education to protect, he got a message that he was recalled to school. Calling him back to school was so possible but graduating him with his grades ( first class) was quite very impossible if not that some big men both in the State and Abuja had shown interest in his case.
Just like Jephtha who was begged to become the head over the same people that neglected, rejected and betrayed him earlier in life, Onofiok Luke was compelled into becoming the Alumni President of Uniuyo. The same school he was betrayed, innocently punished, and nearly ruined.
Uniuyo, a school that has graduated millions of people. Some of which are National Assembly Members, Ministers, governors, Commissioners, State Lawmakers, Local Government Chairmen, renown business gurus, medical and law practitioners, educationists, farmers, assassins, kidnappers, preachers as well as armed robbers, even mad men. It would be entirely difficult for one to believe that amongst them, none could meet the criteria of contesting against Onofiok as the Alumni President of the institution.
Maybe they felt that the only way they could re-right the wrongs done on him in time past was to make him the leader of the institution’s alumni. And attesting to his leadership prowess, they believed he was the only one who would introduce innovative ideas in the association, thereby making her more effective. This, they made sure he had no opponent in the election. It’s my candid opinion though. But whatever the case may be, the gods are wise!
The second coming of Onofiok Luke to Uniuyo is a reflection of Jephtha’s story: how the rejected stone has become the chief corner stone.
Umani Uwemedimo writes from Uyo.